Gig Economy Resources for Gig Workers (October 2021)

Gig worker? These resources for gig workers will make your life as a gig worker a lot easier navigating the gig economy.

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Gig worker? These resources for gig workers will make your life as a gig worker a lot easier navigating the gig economy.

Gigs Done Right’s mission is to share valuable information and gig economy statistics to everyone from beginners looking to start a side hustle, to gig economy veterans trying to expand their empire. Gigs Done Right is planning on being the go-to source for all things gig-related by providing the best content for our readers. We cover a wide range of gig economy opportunities, including rideshare, delivery, scooter charging, tasks, caretaking, property rental, and everything in between.

We also plan on growing and providing useful information on the business side of the gig economy, including freelance tax issues, insurance, and more. Whether you’re looking to learn how to track your Uber or Lyft mileage or learn new opportunities to expand your income, Gigs Done Right provides the information you need to gain a competitive advantage. We hope you continue to come back as we continue to grow.

Here are some resources to help gig workers earn money in the gig economy.

resources for gig workers

1. Freelancer and self-employed bank accounts

Working for yourself may be one of the most gratifying tasks you choose to undertake as a professional.

As a freelancer or gig worker, you’ll need to rely on your self-motivation abilities, multitasking ability, and selling skills to succeed.

So, if you’re just getting started out—whether as an online freelancer, gig economy worker, or event photographer—the first thing you’ll need to do is figure out how to handle your funds.

As a freelancer or self-employed individual, you may not always have a consistent income, need to fulfill different tax responsibilities, and must make sure you have enough money set aside to meet your expenditures—and financial management will be even more important.

The first and most effective step you can take to begin managing your finances is to open a business bank account. You can check out a comprehensive list of the best banks for freelancers from My Millennial Guide or see the summary below.

The best top freelancer bank accounts are:

  • Lili: Best account designed specifically for freelancers. Lili is a good choice for self-employed professionals who are just getting started since it allows freelancers to separate personal and business finances. Learn more here.
  • Oxygen: Oxygen is a modern digital banking platform for the 21st century economy – the free thinkers, rebels, and entrepreneurs. Download Oxygen.
  • NorthOne: Manage your gig income and run your business seamlessly with NorthOne. No minimum balance required and you can open an account as a sole proprietor. Level up today and get one free month of business banking.

The IRS recommends that all small business owners and freelancers have separate bank accounts, so it’s best to open an account as soon as you can.

2. Best resources for gig workers

It’s no secret that gig workers and freelancers have been severely affected by the pandemic. The financial strain and lack of similar benefits afforded to full-time employees contribute to the added pressure. With no unemployment insurance, sick pay, or worker’s compensation insurance to rely on, gig workers and freelancers have to look for alternative solutions. 

Luckily, there are resources available for gig workers that you can use to find solutions to almost any problem. Let’s take a look at some of them.

CARES Act

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES Act, is a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27, 2020. The stimulus package was intended to provide financial assistance to families, workers, and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Termed as economic impact payments, the Treasury Department, Bureau of the Fiscal Service, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have sent out three rounds of relief payments since the CARES Act was implemented. The third round is currently underway. 

Under the CARES Act, every American with an annual salary of $75,000 or less and every married couple that earns $150,000 is entitled to a stimulus check. In the first round of stimulus checks, eligible individuals received $1,200 and married couples $2,400. Families and individuals with a child under 17 years were eligible to receive an additional $500 per child.

On the other hand, individuals received $5 less for every $100 made over an adjusted gross income of $75,000. Individuals making $99,000 or more per year and married couples making over $198,000 were ineligible. 

In late December 2020, under the COVID-related Tax Relief Act, the IRS made payments of $600 per adult and $600 per eligible child under 17 years as part of the second round of stimulus checks.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, extended the CARES Act provisions through December 31, 2021. 

Currently, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (American Rescue Plan) has built on the CARES ACT and the Consolidated Appropriations Act by offering stimulus payments of up to $1,400 per eligible individual and $2,800 for married couples. In addition, the American Rescue Plan changed the eligibility criteria of dependents to include adults and children who also receive $1,400. 

Moreover, under the American Rescue plan, individuals can receive additional payments, known as “plus-up” payments, based on their tax returns. 

PUA

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program is a provision under the CARES Act to provide $300 weekly in unemployment compensation for gig workers and freelancers who don’t normally qualify for regular unemployment benefits. 

Unfortunately, the benefits program was phased out on September 6, 2021. However, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez aims to introduce a bill to extend the program to February 2, 2022. 

In light of the current situation, here’s a list of resources to help with finding assistance:

Call 211: A service that helps you find housing, health care, food, and transport resources in your state. The service is free and confidential. You can also choose to remain anonymous. 

Medicaid: Payment information for Medicaid beneficiaries and individuals in need of medical coverage.

COVID-19 Tax Relief: Guidelines on how to deduct Coronavirus-related expenses from your taxes.

CareerOneStop: Provides resources related to employment such as refreshing your resume, job training and placement, preparing for interviews, and unemployment benefits. 

One Fair Wage Emergency Fund: A fund established to assist tipped and service employees during the COVID-19 outbreak.

ExtendPUA: Resource page from grassroots advocacy organization ExtendPUA. The information available includes mental health, career, financial, food, housing, legal aid, and utility resources.

SNAP: Formerly known as food stamps, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is the largest federal nutrition assistance program in the U.S.

3. Best accessories you need

Every artisan has a particular set of tools that helps them do their job. It’s no different for gig workers. Whether you’re working from home or on the go, these tools are among the essentials needed to help you get things done. 

We’ve simplified the list to include things you absolutely can’t do without. So, even though we won’t include things like a laptop stand, office chair, table, and monitor, you should definitely get those if you already haven’t. 

Laptop

From freelance photographers to virtual assistants, the wide range of gig workers who need a laptop to function is endless. Therefore, you can’t compromise on quality. That said, the 13-inch MacBook Pro (2020, M1) is your best bet.

External hard drive  

External storage space is great for backing up your data and giving you extra storage for large files. Seagate’s Portable 2TB External Hard Drive is a good start. 

Smartphone 

Okay, okay. We know, everyone and their grandma has a smartphone. But, it’s still important to mention it. And no, your 3-year-old phone probably won’t cut it. You need a snappy phone that won’t lag, hang, or die when you’re on a food delivery or when picking and dropping off passengers. The iPhone 13 Pro Max is a worthwhile investment. 

Noise-canceling headphones

There’s nothing more distracting than loud noises when you’re trying to work at your favorite coffee shop. Use the Anker Life Q30 noise-canceling headphones for a more immersive experience. 

Power bank 

An external battery is an invaluable tool when you’re out on the go and need an extra boost to get some work done. To keep your phone going, use Anker’s 10,000 mAh battery pack and MAXOAK Laptop Power Bank for your laptop. 

Backpack

It goes without saying that having a place to carry your gadgets and equipment is a key requirement for gig workers. Check out the Matein Travel Laptop Backpack for your travel needs.

Water bottle

Whether you’re making deliveries or walking dogs, it’s necessary to stay hydrated. Check out this eco-friendly water bottle by Healthywish for your daily dose of H2O.

Smartwatch 

What better way to keep track of your health than a smartwatch? It monitors your heart rate, calories burned, steps taken, and it can help you alleviate stress. It’s definitely a nice gadget to have when doing gig work. Garmin’s Vivoactive 3 or Apple Watch Series 4 comes highly recommended. 

Car charger adapter

Your car might already have a USB port, but it doesn’t hurt to have some backup. And in case your car doesn’t have one, this might be a lifesaver. The Hussell Car Charger Adapter comes with fast charging and is compatible with most devices. 

Dash Cam 

A dashcam is an invaluable security item, particularly for rideshare drivers, as it helps collect evidence on any road incidents. It’s simply a must-have. The Rexing V1 4K Dash Cam is an affordable and stealthy camera. 

Pepper gel 

If you’re a rideshare or delivery driver, most of your time working will be spent alone.

A good tool to have by your side in case of danger is pepper gel. Consider picking up this tactical pepper gel by SABRE.

4. How to file taxes for gig workers 

Taxes have long been a touchy and complicated subject even for the savviest taxpayer – and more so for gig workers. The process isn’t similar to employed individuals because while they get theirs automatically deducted from their paycheck, gig workers have to report their earnings and file taxes themselves. 

The process can seem daunting and tedious, but with some guidance, you’ll be able to learn how it works and keep out of trouble with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 

Filing taxes as a gig worker

The majority of gig workers have to pay federal and state income tax in addition to self-employment tax. The first step in filing your taxes as a gig worker is to keep a record of your income and expenses. This will help you deduct expenses related to your gig work, thereby helping you pay lower taxes. It’s also important to track your income so you can accurately file your taxes. 

Gig workers are considered self-employed. Therefore, most will file taxes as sole proprietors. For tax purposes, you and your business are considered the same. Therefore, you’ll need to report your business earnings on your Individual Income Tax Return, Form 1040. You’ll also need to complete a Schedule C which you’ll attach to your form 1040. This is used to report your income and deductible expenses. 

Note: April 15 is the deadline for income tax returns.

Self-employment tax

If you’re a self-employed worker earning $400 or more annually, you’re required to pay self-employment tax. You’ll need to complete Schedule SE, Self-employment tax, and attach it to your Form 1040. This is used to pay for your Social Security and Medicaid taxes. Luckily, you can deduct half the amount you pay in self-employment tax from your income on your Form 1040. 

Find out if you’re eligible for a tax break, i.e. Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on the IRS’s website.  

Quarterly estimated taxes

If you owe at least $1,000 in federal taxes for the year, you’re required to pay estimated tax four times in a year. Failure to do so can lead to a huge tax bill at the end of the year, and you could incur a penalty for underpaying your estimated taxes. You can use Form 1040-ES or Form 1040-ES (NR) for Non-resident aliens to estimate and pay your quarterly taxes. 

Here’s a breakdown of important dates: 

Income PeriodEstimated Tax Payment Due
January 1 – March 31April 15
April 1 – May 31June 15 
June 1 – August 31September 15
September 1 – December 31January 15

If you have a full-time job and do gig work on the side, you can avoid paying estimated tax on your gig income by withholding more tax from your full-time job paycheck. The IRS has a Tax Withholding Estimator you can use to determine how much tax you should withhold. Once you find out, you should fill out a new Form W-4 and hand it to your employer. 

Tax deductions

As a self-employed worker, you qualify for a number of tax deductions. Though, It’s important to note that unless you can adequately prove that the expenses are business-related, the IRS will view them as personal expenses. Thus, it is crucial that you keep excellent records. 

On top of the deduction for self-employment tax, here are some deductions you may be able to claim:

  • Mileage
  • Home office – This applies if you have a dedicated workspace used solely for your gig work. 
  • Rent
  • Equipment 
  • Insurance
  • Cell phone & internet bill
  • Advertising
  • Education – If you enroll in a course to gain or add on to skills that are related to your business. 

IRS resources for gig workers

The IRS has a Gig Economy Tax Centre on their website with resources and guidance on how to Manage Taxes For Your Gig Work.

5. The future of the gig economy 

While some look at it as a secondary option, others view it as a necessity. Either way, it’s hard to deny that gig work has become increasingly popular within the past few years. According to a recent study by Upwork, the U.S. gig workforce is expected to have a 50% increase by 2027, growing from 57 million workers in 2020 to 86 million in the second half of the decade. 

Although the term “gig” goes as far back as 1915 when jazz musicians used the term to refer to shows; the emergence of the modern-day gig economy can be traced back to the financial crisis of 2008 when many Americans scrambled to find temporary work or side jobs to make enough to weather the storm. 

Technology further spurred the growth of the gig economy with innovations like ridesharing apps such as Uber and asset-sharing platforms such as Airbnb, not to mention freelancing websites like Upwork and Fiverr. These platforms made it possible for people to utilize their skills and find work outside the traditional employment model. 

Fast forward to 2020, and the COVID-19 pandemic sent the globe into a health crisis that crippled economies. Work from home culture slowly took over in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. Although, millions were rendered jobless in the process. 

In 2021, the U.S. began to ease its restrictions and work on reviving the economy. Businesses started to open up, and people could go back to work. But, in an expected turn of events, millions of Americans quit their jobs in what is now being termed as the ‘Great Resignation.’ 

In turn, the gig economy became an anchor for Americans looking for flexibility, independence, work-life satisfaction, and increased income. What was already a thriving yet overshadowed industry was thrust into the forefront of American work culture and turned into the new normal. 

The explosion of the gig economy has, in essence, been a snowball effect. It started slow but has quickly gained momentum. As the world looks ahead, and for as long as people have a need for independence and flexibility, there will continue to be a heavy reliance on gig work.

Brian Meiggs
Brian is the founder of Gigs Done Right and has tried every side hustle under the sun. He teaches people just like you how to make money in the gig economy and has been featured in Yahoo! Finance, NASDAQ, Discover and more. He normally shares the latest news, videos, and topics for gig workers so they can earn more money in the gig economy.

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Are you looking for a way to earn some extra money to help reach your financial goals? You’re not alone. More than 44 million Americans have a side job. If you want a flexible side job, consider this resource of high-paying side job ideas that can help you generate some extra cash.

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