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Do Experts have the personality to thrive in the gig economy?

By Anh Nguyen |

What do successful Uber and Lyft drivers, Etsy sellers, and other “gig workers” have in common? According to Mark Murphy, a NY Times bestselling author and founder of Leadership IQ, they share several characteristics a person must have to thrive in the gig economy. The gig economy is a 21st century model of work where independent workers use technology to find short-term jobs that fit their work-life preferences and skills. It is a new twist on the work-from-home model and has the appeal of flexibility and freedom from traditional corporate environment.

In his recent Forbes article, Murphy wrote that the gig economy is primarily for people who are adventurous, goal-focused and more driven by achievement than power. He explained those who choose to live the gig economy lifestyle are truly on their own, which can be scary, but the tradeoff is that they have the freedom to do the type of work that can maximize their full potential.

Murphy’s article and the personality traits he identified assume gig economy services are mainly concierge types, but it begs the question. Do white-collar professionals, such as Experts on JustAnswer, have the personality traits Murphy identified to thrive in the gig economy?

In the gig economy, there are obvious risks. Murphy described thriving gig workers as “people with a need for adventure are motivated by risk, change, and uncertainty.” According to our survey, 93% of Experts on JustAnswer are still active in their fields, which may suggest that they prefer continuity. It makes sense. Traditional white-collar professions such as doctors and lawyers are synonymous with stability.

However, 45% of those same Experts are either self-employed or working part-time, which indicates that Experts are willing to jump at opportunities if they can still leverage their expertise. Experts on JustAnswer may not completely leave all of the constancy and security often provided by the traditional white-collar environment, but they are also not averse to new opportunities. Michelle C., a Tech Expert on JustAnswer, adds “JustAnswer is the best platform for Experts as we are not doing a monotonous job of giving the same answers to customers.”

Murphy also described gig workers as those who are self-motivated and extremely goal-driven. “One of the hallmarks of freelancers who will thrive in the gig economy is the setting of big goals to achieve great things and maximize their potential,” Murphy emphasized. Not only do thriving gig workers impose near-unattainable work goals on themselves, they succeed because achievement is their biggest driver.

Experts on JustAnswer are goal-driven, even before starting their careers. Our survey shows that 94% have at least some college education and 40% of those have graduate degrees. When asked for their motivation behind becoming Experts on JustAnswer, 53% said they want to help people and 34% said they want to challenge their professional knowledge. Loren S., a Legal Expert on JustAnswer, shares his motivation, “I have a personal goal that I must reach every day when I’m on JustAnswer and it bugs me a lot if I don’t reach it.”

JustAnswer is not the only gig economy company for white-collar professionals, but it is one of the few that is introducing the gig economy to a demographic that traditionally has not been quick to take risks and accept constant changes. But the Expert community on JustAnswer is unique and it is growing every day. For Experts like Michelle and Loren, they are finding ways to thrive.

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