My favourite online dictionary describes an entrepreneur as “a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money” or “one who organises, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.” Note the common keywords business and risk.

If there’s no real business or risk, you’re not quite an entrepreneur. Rather than working as an employee, an entrepreneur runs a business and assumes all the risk and reward of a given business venture, idea, or goods or services offered for sale. An entrepreneur is commonly seen as a business leader and innovator of new ideas and business processes.

An entrepreneur is also, typically in control of a commercial undertaking, directing the factors of production–the human, financial and material resources–that are required to exploit a business opportunity.

Are gig workers entrepreneurs? 

Gig workers are mostly independent contractors and freelancers who assume a certain risk in sourcing opportunities, contracting a job, where they offer up their skills for future remuneration. They definitely bring to the table their resources (i.e skills).

A related concept in product markets is the sharing economy; services and goods that employ under-utilised assets via online marketplaces or decentralised networks for both monetary and non-monetary benefits. Some sharing economy business models adopt the alternative worker arrangements of the gig economy. Uber, Grab, Deliveroo and Airbnb are just a few examples of how companies are merging the temporary work arrangements of the gig economy with the sharing aspects of an online marketplace.

The gig economy has enabled millions of people to work on their terms, set their own hours and rates of pay. With smartphone apps and online marketplaces to source potential gigs, there has been a sharp increase in non-traditional work.

The Gig Economy in Asia-Pacific

New research from KellyOCG, surveyed 2,100 talent managers worldwide with around 400 residing in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region—across industries and career disciplines— and discovered that gig adoption rates have been increasing along with the areas for competitive innovation. 

Gig workers are almost like contingent talent and given today’s fluid job marketspace, organisations are seeing a more flexible work arrangement as well as integrating permanent and contingent talent.

The Driving Force of the Gig Economy — Technology

Technology has made it easier than ever before for anyone to enter the gig economy. From Behance, Upwork, Fiverr and ZomWork, online platforms accessible by mobile have freed people from their desks; social media now connects people across borders, and online freelance marketplaces make finding employment easier.

Agile by ZomWork, the IT consulting arm of ZomWork, has also seen a rise in entrepreneurs engaging their services to build MVPs, outsource IT functions as companies increasingly outwards to contingent workforce solutions as they continually innovate their businesses.

According to the ‘Gig Economy: How Free Agents are Redefining Work’ survey conducted by PERSOLKELLY, Hong Kong is seen as the forerunner in Asia in embracing the free agent trend, with 55% of the respondents agreeing that most people are looking for a flexible-contract based role than a traditional permanent full-time role. This is followed by Singapore (47%), India/Australia (37%), Malaysia (36%).


Relevant experiences and credentials for Millenials

On top of that, freelancers provide an incredible opportunity to outdo the competition. From MNCs to SMEs, the ability to cherry-pick the right people for the right job at the right time is crucial to survival. For any business, the increased cost-effectiveness and productivity is healthy for the bottomline.

But wait, what about the work-life balance that every Millenial talks about?

Millennials tend to stay in jobs for under two years and do not seem as motivated by a career track, raises and other incentives that are the mainstay of most corporate Gen Xs. A recent 2017 study reports that overall self-employment is likely to triple to 42 million workers by 2020, with Millennials leading the way. The study predicts that 42% of all self-employed individuals in the United States are likely to be millennials by 2020.

  • 87% of Millennials say their smartphone never leaves their side, night or day.
  • Nearly half (45%) use personal smartphones for work (vs. 18%for older generations).
  • Some 41% are likely to download applications to use for work purposes in the next 12 months and use their own money to pay for them.
  • 80% use social media as a method to find work.

The most positive trend we have noted is that gig workers are free agents by choice, as they see it as a way to improve their personal and professional lives.

The gig economy is growing globally and an increasing number of talent/hiring managers are equipping themselves with the new “norm” for how businesses organise work.

We here at ZomWork are proud to engage and support the entrepreneurial spirit that feeds on freedom, creativity and ambition. Being an entrepreneur is no easy feat and we believe that the gig economy does train people to be more resilient and disciplined. The APAC region is outpacing the rest with a much more flexible and fluid workforce that is emerging as a way to navigate an increasingly dynamic global business climate.

Are you onboard yet?

Get to the forefront of using the Gig Economy to your benefit by joining us at the 1st ever gig economy conference, The Future of Work. Use the promo code ZWKBLOG to enjoy an exclusive (did we hear free?) offer. This is limited to the first 25 readers so don't wait and register now!

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Topics: Entrepreneur, Start-up, Gig Economy

Jason Teo

Written by Jason Teo

Startup Launcher & General Manager at ZomWork. Passionate about strategy, innovation and the Gig Economy.