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5 Etiquette Tips for the Gig Economy

working with freelancers

One of the things people like about the gig economy is that it’s as easy as a vending machine. You punch in the instructions, pay money, and a good product or service comes out. You don’t even have to spend time straightening out the wrinkly dollar bill. But the transactional nature of this business model means that gig workers and clients often get confused about how to act. These etiquette tips help everyone keep the workflow moving, and avoid getting stuck in the machine.

1. Bring the Right Currency

Before the widespread use of credit cards, access to a vending machine was a mixed bag. You’d open your wallet and discover three dimes, two pennies and a $20 bill. You have money, but you can’t buy anything with it. To fairly compensate a gig worker, you need more than just the correct amount.

Paypal is the most popular gig economy payment method, but research shows that freelancers prefer direct deposit if they can get it. If you’re ordering through an online marketplace platform like WriterAccess, remember to count what they take off the top when you plan your budget.

2. Respect Professionals’ Time

In an on-demand economy, it’s hard to wait for answers to important questions or updates on the project. But just because someone can burn the midnight oil, doesn’t mean they actually do. Gig workers often keep a set schedule, since the alternative is being “on” 24/7.

The casual nature of the industry may make it feel like your BFF writer has put you on read, but it’s really much simpler than that. If you’re in a hurry, it might be worth finding out the time zone of the person you’re working with, or even ask about their schedule. That way, you can time messages and deadlines closer to their normal working hours.

3. Communicate Expectations Early

Part of the reason the gig economy is booming with growth is that people can get exactly what they want, without the hassle. In other words, you can hire an experienced professional to meet the needs of your business without having to hold their hands through the whole process.

But to get great content, you need to communicate clearly. There’s no set style or format that all creators know to follow. This champions wondrous creativity, but also puts the onus on you to set some parameters. Make sure you know what you want before you place an order, and you’ll save everyone a lot of effort.

4. Avoid Asking for Exceptions

The gig economy explodes with earning potential and flexibility for freelancers. But they’re also pretty vulnerable to the whims of platforms and customers. This means that if you ask them to break platform rules or go outside of their set terms to accommodate you, there’s a non-zero chance they’ll go for it to their own detriment. Remember:

  • Freelancers can get kicked off a platform if they violate the rules, even at your request
  • Offering low-paid work with the promise of more low-paid work isn’t the sparkling incentive many people think it is
  • Rush jobs often compromise a gig worker’s ability to do their best—request them sparingly

There’s always a time when you can ask for something special, especially if you have an established relationship with a particular professional. Just know that it may not be a benefit that they can grant, even if they want to.

5. Take Responsibility for Mistakes

You know when you place an order, and it comes out wrong? It’s tempting to blame the service, but they’re not always at fault. It’s like punching in the wrong number on the vending machine. You can beg, insist, cajole or even insult the system. You can haul in your mom to vouch for you. It’s not going to operate again without payment.

Instead, be ready to accept responsibility for your role in the transaction. Professionals in service industries will often go the extra mile to give you what you wanted, even if it isn’t what you ordered. If they do, show your appreciation by compensating them for their extra time and effort.

When you use an app or a website to make an order, it’s easy to forget that there are people on the other side putting it together for you. Treating them as professionals will often give you a better return than you’d ever get from a vending machine. To discover how WriterAccess helps you find the perfect freelancer for your project, get started today.


Holly S has over a decade of experience writing in the fields of communication, journalism and history. She obtained a master’s degree in a writing-intensive discipline and possesses years of academic, professional and non-profit experience in editing and arranging for distribution the written works of herself and others. As a professional writer, she has written hundreds of articles and blog posts on topics including technology, finance, home and garden, health and wellness, food and beverage, travel, and education. She has a campy wit and writes well in a variety of voices, from professional to humorous. She has built an extensive understanding of SEO and content marketing tactics to ensure that her writing will reach prospective readers in the right demographics.

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By WriterAccess

Freelancer Holly S

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