Join Garrick Chow for an in-depth discussion in this video Learning skills and characteristics of successful on-demand workers, part of Working in the On-Demand Economy.
- Before jumping in to the on-demand work force, you should take some time to assess whether you have the skills, characteristics, and personality to set yourself up for success in your chosen field. Here are some traits you'll need to have or strive for, regardless of the type of on-demand work you're doing. Since you'll essentially be working for yourself, and establishing your own hours, a strong sense of self-motivation is pretty much required. One of the appeals of working on-demand is you can work as much or as little as you'd like in many cases, but obviously, if you blow of work, you're not going to make any money.
Organization is also critical in a number of ways. From the very beginning, you'll want to make sure you have a system in place for keeping track of things like the hours you've worked, your expenses, the miles you've driven, and the income you've generated. This, of course, becomes important when tax times rolls around, but you'll also want to keep your day-to-day activities organized as well. For instance, if you're driving for Uber or Lyft, you'll need to make sure your car is well-maintained, and that your license, insurance, and registration are all up-to-date, and that you're on top of when these things need to be renewed and updated.
Working in an on-demand field, in most cases, also requires you to have a certain level of tech-savviness. Pretty much all the services out there are transacted through smart phones or web browsers. And the very nature of on-demand services means that you need to be able to respond to requests quickly. You can't spend precious minutes trying to figure out how an app works, and ideally, you'll be well-versed enough with the app to be able to handle not just routine transactions, but also know how to deal with problems and irregularities. Some of the companies provide great training and learning tools, while others only provide minimal instructions, leaving you to figure out the details yourself.
So, having an intuitive sense about apps and user-interfaces is a definite plus. One element that nearly all on-demand services have in common is that you'll be dealing with customers directly. In some cases, it will be face-to-face, for instance, if you're driving them in your car, and in other cases, you'll be corresponding over e-mail, phone, text, or any combination of those. But, regardless, you'll need to be able to clearly communicate with your customers, whether it's explaining rules, understanding the parameters of a task they're hiring you to complete, or having more difficult interactions that have to do with service issues or refunds.
If you can't make yourself easily understood, or if you can't understand what your customers are trying to get across, you're going to have difficulties. And along the lines of working face-to-face with customers, you'll want to make sure to maintain a professional appearance. This means how you dress, but also how you behave and interact with your customers. Dress like you care about the work you're doing, and behave in a business-like manner. That doesn't mean to lose your personality or sense of humor, they can be a great asset, but in general, you'll want to avoid behaving in any way you wouldn't behave in a regular office environment.
Keep in mind that in many cases, customers can rate you through the app, which will have an impact on your future business and transactions. Too many low ratings, and potential customers may skip over you for someone else, or you may even be suspended from working for the company you're using. You're not going to get a perfect rating from every single customer, but the way you present yourself and interact with your customers are two things you do have complete control over, and you don't want to earn lower ratings based on those factors. Now of course there are many other characteristics that are beneficial to have in an on-demand job, but the combination of these features we've looked at here can set you up for success for any job, on-demand or otherwise.
Garrick Chow explains the basic structures of the on-demand economy and the skills and characteristics of successful on-demanders, so you can determine if on-demand work is the right fit for you. Then learn about the time commitment and expectations around pay, what the employer provides, and what one can expect from clients. Garrick then discusses tools to keep you organized, including how to best track income and expenses.
Finally, the course offers tips and tricks and a case study based on the author's firsthand experience as an Uber driver.
- Preparing to work on demand
- Managing expectations from on-demand clients
- Tracking expenses and mileage
- Optimizing your income
- Getting support online
- Case study: Becoming an Uber driver