Entrepreneurs Make the Gig Economy Work

Page 4B, USA Today Thurs.,      May16, 2019

By Steve Straus, USA Today Columnist, Attorney, Author

Danny Brewer knew that the entrepreneurial life was for him when he saw that the address of one of his bosses after college was , literally, “No. 1, Easy Street.  This was about a decade ago and soon thereafter Danny starts his first business: he became a mobile D.J.  While that was a good gig (and still is, see below), everything changed when Brewer went to a trade show and saw an opportunity in the photo-booth business.  You know hat photo booths are -you see them ad weddings and other events, where guests can dress up and get their pictures taken.  Before long, Danny Brewer had five photo booths running, giving us the first insight into how to rock the gig economy:

Rule No. 1: Replicate yourself.  One common mistake I see poplin the “gig economy” make is that they think too small.  they create on gig and stick with it, driving for Uber or water.  What Danny did right is that he didn’t fall into that trap.  By  hiring other gig workers, or even hiring a staff, you ensure that you will not just be creating a job for yourself, but also a business that can scale.  One of the problems with the photo booth business is that people at the event have to come to the booth and the fun of the booth is limited to that space in the back.  So Danny had an idea for a light-weight, mobile photo system that could move around the party and the Ring roamer was born.

Rule No. 2: Diversify or die.  This Danny’s motto.  These days he has four businesses, four ways of bringing in money -mobile DJ business, photo booths, Ring Roamer, Corporate team-building events.  Creating multiple profit centers key.  Danny’s story also illustrates another lesson…

Rule No. 3:  Don’t compete on price.  Many bad things happen when you try to be cheaper than everyone else.  First, you shrink your margins.  It becomes increasingly difficult to make a profit when you make your product or service cheaper and cheaper.  Second, you have to work harder.  Because you make less on each sale when you reduce your prices, you need toward that much harder to make what you used to make.  By competing on price, you are -wittingly or unwittingly- creating a brand on price and not quality or service or creativity or smarts or whatever.

There is lots of good that can be said about the gig economy, but lots bad too.  The trick is to not for the the gig economy but make it work for you.