Tag Archives: Gig Economy

Diane Mulcahy on Creating Your Own Income Security

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Layoffs, downsizings, and workforce restructurings have become business as usual. Every worker is vulnerable. “Since jobs no longer offer security, we have to create it for ourselves,” declares Diane Mulcahy, an expert on short-term, variable work. In her new book, THE GIG ECONOMY: The Complete Guide to Getting Better Work, Taking More Time Off, and Financing the Life You Want (AMACOM November 2016), Mulcahy shares five ways to begin creating income security, regardless of your current employment status:

  • Build Skills. “More than degrees and titles, the new labor market is a market for the specific, demonstrable skills we can bring to potential employers and clients,” Mulcahy notes. She advocates a proactive approach to expanding your skill set. Among the many options: taking courses through platforms like EdX, building experience and a reputation by using platforms like Upwork, starting your own blog or podcast, and obtaining certifications in skills from coding to actuary.
  • Build a Pipeline of Opportunities. Building a pipeline covers more than just a job search. It means that you’re continually seeking out and marketing yourself for new jobs, projects, and gigs. It means that you’re part of what Mulcahy calls the “hustling class,” always looking for work, evaluating and updating our skills and value, and staying aware of potential future opportunities.
  • Build Multiple Sources of Income. Having multiple sources of income, whether from working a side gig or leveraging an asset, increases your sense of financial security and insulates you against the shock of a crisis, such as getting laid off. It can also be a low-risk way to launch a business idea. Instead of quitting your job to hang out a shingle that could shatter, you can start slowly by testing the market, iterating the services you offer, and building revenue and customers on the side. 
  • Keep Fixed Costs Low. It’s difficult, risky, and stressful to commit to high monthly debt payments or fixed overhead costs if you don’t know and can’t rely on the amount of income you’ll generate every month or year. That’s the reality for not only independent workers at all income levels but, since all jobs are insecure, virtually everyone. Income security comes from keeping your fixed costs manageable so the income needed to cover them is reasonably easy to earn.
  • Enter with an Exit Strategy. In today’s economy, workers need to know how to leave jobs well. Starting a job with an exit strategy forces you to consider and plan for what’s next, and ensures that you won’t be blindsided by a sudden layoff. “Layoffs are a much more attractive exit than quitting,” Mulcahy observes, “because getting laid off is the only time we get paid to leave a job.” 

Cover of The Gig Economy by Diane Mulcahy

Adapted from THE GIG ECONOMY: The Complete Guide to Getting Better Work, Taking More Time Off, and Financing the Life You Want by Diane Mulcahy (AMACOM November 2016).

DIANE MULCAHY is a Senior Fellow at the Kauffman Foundation and an Adjunct Lecturer at Babson College, where she teaches “Entrepreneurship and the Gig Economy,” a popular MBA course that Forbes.com named one of the top ten most innovative business school classes in the country. Her work in venture capital and entrepreneurship has been featured on NPR and in the Harvard Business Review, The Huffington Post, Fortune, Forbes, The New Yorker, The Economist, and other national media.

Four Keys to Time Management: How to Feel Less Busy and Be a More Productive Gig Worker

mulcahyFreed from meetings and other corporate time sucks, independent workers are in charge of managing their own time in their own way. Beyond restructuring calendars and schedules, making the most of time is a matter of perception. “Feeling like we have more time can help us feel less busy, more relaxed, and more present,” attests Diane Mulcahy, independent worker and author of THE GIG ECONOMY: The Complete Guide to Getting Better Work, Taking More Time Off, and Financing the Life You Want (AMACOM November 2016). Backed by research and experience, she reveals how to expand time:

  • Expand time by engaging in new experiences. Neuroscience research shows that new experiences take more time for our brains to process than familiar ones, making our perception of that time seem longer. As we age, more and more of our experiences are familiar and processed quickly, which makes it seem as if time is flying by. Mulcahy’s advice to gig workers of every age: “Keep learning, meet new people, travel to places you’ve never been to, and challenge yourself to try new activities. Time will pass more slowly—and be more interesting.”
  • Expand time by becoming powerful. As researchers at the University of California, Berkeley found, high-power individuals feel like they have more time, partly due to the perception that they have more control over their time. This has positive implications for gig workers. “As we take more control of our time, and assume the less-powerful role of employee less frequently, we should begin to feel like we have more time available,” Mulcahy assures.
  • Expand time by giving time away. If you’re already feeling short on time, it seems counterintuitive to give time away. But a recent study from the Wharton School found that giving our time to help others leaves us less stressed and hurried and feeling like we have more time. The reason? People who give their time feel more “capable, confident, and useful.” This sense of accomplishment, which makes time feel expansive, arises even when we spend very short amounts of time—just 10 minutes!—helping others.                     
  • Expand time by combining physical and mental tasks. While human brains are not optimized for multitasking, there’s an exception: multitasking that uses different sensory channels. By combining physical activities with mental ones—  such as going for a walk while listening to a podcast or dusting your home office furniture while having a cellphone chat with a client—you can accomplish both efficiently and effectively.

Cover of The Gig Economy by Diane Mulcahy

Adapted from THE GIG ECONOMY: The Complete Guide to Getting Better Work, Taking More Time Off, and Financing the Life You Want by Diane Mulcahy (AMACOM November 2016).

DIANE MULCAHY is a Senior Fellow at the Kauffman Foundation and an Adjunct Lecturer at Babson College, where she teaches “Entrepreneurship and the Gig Economy,” a popular MBA course that Forbes.com named one of the top ten most innovative business school classes in the country. Her work in venture capital and entrepreneurship has been featured on NPR and in the Harvard Business Review, The Huffington Post, Fortune, Forbes, The New Yorker, The Economist, and other national media.

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Random Quotes from New Books This November

The Gig Economy: The Complete Guide to Getting Better Work, Taking More Time Off, and Financing the Life You Want by Diane Mulcahy

Jacket cover of The Gig Economy

“Contract and part-time work without benefits used to be largely limited to ‘bad jobs’ in fast food, retail, and other service companies. Now that contractor work is infiltrating core middle-class industries, it’s gaining more attention. An executive assistant used to be a good middle-class job. Now we can hire a virtual assistant, in the United States, India, or anywhere else, by the hour. If we want an accountant or bookkeeper, we can automate most of that function on QuickBooks or hire a contractor via Upwork, LinkedIn, or FlexJobs. Universities already pay teachers by the course as adjunct professors, and those part-time, non-tenured faculty members (of which I am one) now make up a growing minority of teachers at many U.S. colleges and universities. How long will it be before this teaching model moves into our public school system? The more the Gig Economy demonstrates that white-collar and professional work can be restructured, contracted out, and purchased more cheaply, the more disruptive it feels(pages 9-10).

Hard-Won Wisdom: True Stories from the Management Trenches by Jathan Janove

Jacket cover of Hard-Won Wisdom

“I’ve heard many similar complaints about millennials from managers like Sam. They follow the same theme: millennials aren’t loyal, they’re too self-focused, their work ethic is problematic, and they don’t communicate well. My response is always the same: Don’t create self-fulfilling prophecies. The minute you indulge in the stereotypes, you’re doomed to experience what you don’t want. A better idea is to use your millennials as a test case for the concepts and tools I’m sharing in this book. Start with the What/Why Ratio: Every time you tell an employee what to do, explain why, the purpose served by the action. Think of the alternative reference to millennials: Generation Y (as in the one that followed Generation X. Only think of it not as the letter Y but the word why. Make the What/Why Ratio 1:1 and watch what happens to the relationship” (pages 32-33).

Jobs to Be Done: A Roadmap for Customer-Centered Innovation by Stephen Wunker, Jessica Wattman, and David Farber

Jacket cover of Jobs to Be Done

“Let’s look at the grocery industry. A few years back we conducted Jobs research for a client who wanted further insight into people’s decision making about what they took home from the store and why. Through the research, we noted that at least three stakeholder types would have distinct requirements in the shelf-to-table flow: the person buying the product, the person preparing the food, and the person eating the food. Certainly, there was often overlap…But this varied from scenario to scenario. If we had observed only the in-store shopper, we might have assumed that price and fit into established shopping patterns were the most important jobs to satisfy. Had we focused our efforts on the meal preparer, we might have determined that ease of preparation reigned supreme. Had we simply talked to someone who just finished a meal, the level of spiciness might have been top-of-mind insight. Looking too narrowly would have led to a new product that failed to satisfy important stakeholders” (pages 50-51).

Leading the Unleadable: How to Manage Mavericks, Cynics, Divas, and Other Difficult People by Alan Willett

Jacket cover of Leading the Unleadable

Note that you can have terrible form while serving a tennis ball. You might get an ace. However, without truly proper form and follow through, you will find the ace is just an accident.
Sometimes taking the actions prescribed in the previous chapter does work almost like magic. Things get better immediately and stay better. However, without follow through, you will find them to also be happy accidents” (page 83).

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Want to sample other AMACOM books? Check out our Random Quotes from New Books series.

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THE GIG ECONOMY Now Available on NetGalley

Cover art for The Gig EconomySo many things in life are what you make of them–including the gig economy. Plenty of internet clickbait articles warn of the downsides of this new era in work norms, but few offer a game plan to embrace it and create your most rewarding career within it. Now that guide does exist. In THE GIG ECONOMY: The Complete Guide to Getting Better Work, Taking More Time Off, and Financing the Life You Want (AMACOM November 2016), author Diane Mulcahy provides the tools to prepare for, succeed in, and enjoy this career form. Journalists, booksellers, book reviewers, librarians, and media professionals interested in career, labor, and the gig economy are invited to request The Gig Economy for review.

From Uber to the presidential debates, the gig economy has been dominating the headlines…and for good reason. Today, more than a third of Americans are working in the gig economy—mixing together short-term jobs, contract work, and freelance assignments. For those who’ve figured out the formula, life has never been better!

The Gig Economy is your guide to this uncertain but ultimately rewarding world. Succeeding in it starts with shifting gears to recognize that only you control your future. Next is leveraging your skills, knowledge, and network to create your own career trajectory—one immune to the whims of an employer.

Packed with research, exercises, and anecdotes, this eye-opening book supplies strategies—ranging from the professional to the personal—to help you:

Construct a life based on your priorities and vision of success • Cultivate connections without networking • Create your own security • Take more time off • Build flexibility into your financial life • Face your fears by reducing risk • Prepare for the future • And much more

Layoffs… recessions…Corporate jobs are not only unstable— they’re increasingly scarce. It’s time to take charge of your own career and lead the life you actually want.

DIANE MULCAHY is a Senior Fellow at the Kauffman Foundation and an Adjunct Lecturer at Babson College, where she teaches “Entrepreneurship and the Gig Economy,” a popular MBA course that Forbes.com named one of the top ten most innovative business school classes in the country. Her work in venture capital and entrepreneurship has been featured on NPR and in the Harvard Business Review, The Huffington Post, Fortune, Forbes, The New Yorker, The Economist, and other national media.

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NetGalley is a service for people who read and recommend books, such as book reviewers, journalists, librarians, professors, booksellers, and bloggers.

There are a number of different reading options for this e-galley:

Find all of AMACOM’s e-galleys on NetGalley.

You can review how to get AMACOM’s digital galley request approval on NetGalley HERE.

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Fall/Winter 2016 Catalog Now Online!

Image of AMACOM Books Fall 2016 Catalog CoverIt may be summer now, but when it’s time to curl up inside with a blanket and a book, you’ll know what to read: the AMACOM Fall/Winter 2016 Catalog is now available on our website alongside our past catalogs.

 

 

 

Some of the most anticipated books from our fall list: