Join Garrick Chow for an in-depth discussion in this video What is the on-demand economy?, part of Working in the On-Demand Economy.
- Until just a few years ago, most people had never heard the term on-demand economy or understood what it referred to, probably because the term didn't exist. But ask someone today if they've ever heard of Uber, and the answer will most likely be yes. The term on-demand economy describes Uber and other services like it. Mainly it describes any business in which customers request a task, an item, or a service to be performed by a real person in a quick and timely fashion, usually within hours or sometimes within minutes of the request being placed. These requests are almost always placed through a mobile app or web-based interface that connects customers directly to the people who are available to perform the job.
On-demand businesses are often described as being disruptive to traditional business models. For example, Uber, which is a service that connects people who need rides to people who are willing to drive their own cars around town to pick up and drop off passengers, is known for being disruptive to the taxi cab industry. Airbnb, which is a service that allows people to rent out their rooms, apartments, or houses directly to people who need lodging is known for being disruptive to the hotel industry. When you become an on-demand worker, you become part of a pool of people who are available to provide services at a moment's notice.
So part of what on-demand really refers to is a notion of instant gratification. Some people don't want to have to call a cab company or walk out onto the street in the hopes of flagging down a taxi. They want to summon a ride on their phones and see exactly when it will arrive. So people don't want to perform menial tasks around the house. They'd rather use an app to find someone local who's available to come over now to perform those tasks. As an on-demand worker, you can fill these roles. The basic idea behind on-demand companies is that they immediately connect people who need something directly to the people who are willing to do the work.
As the worker, often the only thing you need to do to get started is to visit the website of the business in question and apply. Once you've been vetted, you can begin offering your services right away on your own schedule. Essentially, on-demand services let you make money with your time or your skills or your personal property or sometimes a combination of all three. Now just to be clear, in this course, we're going to focus on working for the companies that facilitate this connection between customers and service providers. We won't be discussing work as a self-employed contractor or entrepreneur.
You can find other courses covering those topics here at lynda.com. But on-demand work can be great for anyone looking to generate extra income or to pay the bills while searching for full-time employment because it generally allows you to make your own work schedule and work the hours that are most convenient to you. In the upcoming movies, we'll take a look at some of the top on-demand companies you can work for and discuss some of the qualities of a successful on-demand worker.
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