Advisors are wearing too many hats. And in many cases, they make their team members wear too many hats, too.
But there’s a way to do less, elevate your practice and delegate so you can take off some of those hats: tap into the gig economy.
Investopedia says the gig economy is based on flexible freelance jobs where professionals are contracted directly by clients or companies, usually through an online platform.
The gig economy was starting to gain steam prior to the pandemic as people wanted more flexible ways to work, as Forbes reported, but the COVID-19 pandemic significantly exacerbated the growth – it’s estimated the gig economy will be a $455 billion business by 2023.
That doesn’t happen if things aren’t working well.
While our industry is usually slow to adopt new trends like this and many advisors might be nervous to take the leap, it’s worth exploring. Let’s cover the benefits of tapping into the gig economy, what types of help you can get and how to access that help.
The Benefits of Tapping into the Gig Economy
Incorporating gig workers has multiple benefits:
It offers more flexibility and allows for project-based work. The flexibility gig workers offer means that you can work with someone based on your current needs. You might slow down during certain times of the year and be too busy at other times of the year. You can zone in on what you want, when you want it, and get super specific. Also, there’s less overhead involved.
It gives you access to highly talented and more diverse professionals. Approximately 47 million workers quit during what’s been dubbed the Great Resignation. Some of those well-qualified, high-end, talented professionals entered the gig economy because some people operate better when they can work on their own schedule and create their own boundaries – especially creatives.
Access to diverse workers both inside and outside of our industry is another benefit. Check platforms like Upwork and Fiverr.
What Types of Gig Workers Can Help
Not nearly enough advisors are tapping into the gig economy. Some might be constrained by the limitations of compliance if at a broker-dealer, but most gig workers wouldn’t have access to any client information. If the only thing holding you back is your own hesitation, consider all the areas that can be contracted out to free up your time.
Here are some areas where you can get started:
Virtual assistants. Virtual assistants can help you with things like event planning and data entry. Many firms don’t have a team member with experience in event planning. You can more easily execute an event with a virtual assistant. While they might have access to client names, you could be the ones to send out invitations to events so they don’t have access to other details.
With data entry, you remove identifying information. For example, if you need to put your notes in a more professional format, you can just remove the identifying client information before you have the virtual assistant put together the notes.
You can also use a virtual assistant for scheduling.
A virtual assistant might be the one that feels the most risky, but unless you’re at a broker-dealer, it could be incredibly helpful and free up some of your time.
You should consult with your compliance expert before you get started so you have clear boundaries on what information can and can’t be shared with a virtual assistant.
Marketing professionals. Most advisors aren’t also content experts, and it shows – on their websites, their social media pages, their newsletters. Marketing professionals can help you by creating additional branding materials, updating logos or writing copy, or even taking content you’ve already created and turning it into more snackable pieces. For example, a marketer could adapt a blog into social media posts or cut up a YouTube show in shorter video clips for social media.
If you aspire to write a book, maybe you start with a series of blogs that you can turn into a book – or maybe you want to go all out and hire a professional to ghostwrite one now.
You can contract a marketing professional to do any number of the following:
- Digital media
- Website design and updating
- Social media management
- Podcast recording, editing and producing
- Editing video
- Writing bios
- Writing blogs
This is important because creating material that looks and sounds professional – whether it’s a piece on college planning for clients or social media posts that are different than everything else you’re seeing out there – is critical.
Who and How
Maybe you know some good freelance professionals, or you’ve heard of some industry organizations that do this type of work. Other options include Upwork and Fiverr. Fiverr is mostly for one-time jobs and Upwork is mostly for long-term relationships.
The cool thing about Upwork is you can see the reviews that previous clients have left on the professionals, their areas of expertise and how much they charge. Check out this profile of a financial services writer. This writer has done more than 200 jobs and the reviews he’s received help give you a glimpse into the quality of his work. Plus, when it comes to work that’s more creative, seeing what kind of work they’ve done before can help you see if it resonates with you.
You can search by industry and location; however, you can’t narrow it down based on states, as this service is meant to be more flexible and remote.
With Fiverr, you can find professionals for everything from ghostwriting to editing video to voiceover projects. (Do you need that book you wrote to be an audiobook?)
You can select the work you’re looking for, peruse the professionals and see their rates, so you can pick one who’s in line with your budget.
Let’s do a quick exercise to determine whether you would benefit from delegating to the gig economy:
- Either with a blank sheet of paper or Word document, write down all the things that you are doing in your firm. (You can also do this with any other position that might need to delegate work).
- Highlight the areas or tasks that could improve.
- Make a list of the things that you would like to start doing.
Pay particular attention to the last two: Do you have the time and expertise on your team to do those things well? Be honest – are you putting those things on people who don’t have the capacity or skills to do them? What on your list can you delegate to gig economy workers?
The gig economy offers a way to turn one of your weaknesses into a strength by leveraging professional help.
I’ve worked with many advisors who are having a hard time finding the right people – whether it’s operations or marketing professionals – and it’s time to think outside the box to access talent that you might not be able to otherwise afford.
What are your business’ biggest needs? What problems are present that you might not even realize? Our Coaching Readiness Quiz can help you determine if working with a coach is right for you. Take the quiz now.