Gigsters are so impressive. Not just because they often have full-time jobs and are working extra hours during early mornings, evenings, and on weekends to make extra income, but also because they have taken the time to discover and market their talents online in a way that truly does appeal to potential clients everywhere. It’s not easy, though. Despite the headlines about the exploding gig economy, it’s actually tough to find a job on online marketplaces like TaskRabbit because the supply of freelancers is far greater than the number of available jobs clients are posting online.
In fact, the average Tasker (“TaskRabbit freelancer”), doesn’t actually make very much. There is endless propaganda about how anyone can make lots of money as a freelancer on TaskRabbit. Some have even claimed that you can make $2,000 or more a month, working part-time on TaskRabbit. The reality is Taskers actually don’t make much money at all. Most don’t make enough to cover the cost of a $20 lunch every day. A new report, commissioned by lender, Earnest, shows that the vast majority (85%+) of these hardworking service professionals are making less than $500 a month. Is that enough? Is it worth all of the effort that goes into this side hustle? According to their findings, only 2% of gigsters on TaskRabbit and most other online marketplaces make $2,000+ per month. That means 98% of the 4 million+ freelancers that work for online marketplaces like TaskRabbit are working for very little money (as many as 55% of freelancers make less than $100 per month).
Ouch! That could be the end of that gigster story. But, of course, it isn’t (that would be too easy 😉) The reality is that many service professionals use online marketplaces like TaskRabbit just to get started and then they quickly want to leverage those experiences to build client relationships and make money off-platform. In the end, people are investing additional time to make more than just an extra dime. These freelancers are looking to make healthy part-time income outside of their core job (and/or to one day fulfill their dream of “becoming their own boss”). In either case, there are simple, proven options for making $2,000 or more in income every month beyond the pittance that TaskRabbit and other online marketplaces deliver.
The following are 3 great ways that TaskRabbits can make A LOT more money:
1. Spread the word through your social network
Most people don’t know that they are actually only 1-degree of separation away from their next 5 clients. Which means, you already likely know your next client (or someone you know knows them). The biggest mistake we make is that we don’t tell people that we know and trust (and who trust us) what we are up to, so they can benefit from (and refer others to) our services.
At my company, I work with tens of thousands of service professionals (“Pros”) every day who are easily making $2,000 to $20,000 a month, including part-time and full-time solopreneurs. At $20,000 a month, these Pros are among the Top 20% of income earners in the country...much more than the <$500 that most gigsters are making on TaskRabbit and other online marketplaces. These Pros work in many different industries (in other words any freelancer that is looking to make more money has an opportunity to put these strategies to work), ranging from handymen/contractors, personal organizers, personal assistants, cleaners, event planners, landscapers, dog trainers, fitness trainers, dog walkers, life coaches, therapists, hair stylists, estheticians, massage therapists, mobile detailers, tutors, landscapers, makeup artists, nail care professionals, pet groomers, pet sitters, photographers, musicians, private detectives, tattoo artists, taxi & limousine drivers, consultants, “you name it!”.
Despite this amazing variety of Pros, the one thing that they have in common is that they all got their “1st client” from a referral. Yup, that’s right “a referral”. Not a lead from TaskRabbit, Fiverr, Thumbtack, Google Adwords, Yelp, Angie’s List or any of the other online marketplaces/lead sources, but a FREE connection from someone who they already knew. That’s how it is done. It sounds old school, but it works - every time. Referrals are more powerful than any other form of marketing/advertising. Two out of three people (67%) who receive a trusted referral will make a purchasing decision based on it. That’s off the charts as compared to the abysmally low conversion rates from online leads.
Ok, so you are now sold that referrals are the way to go because it is clear that referrals will deliver new client leads (that you don’t have to pay a 30% fee on to any online lead source or marketplace). The next question is now what? How do you take action on this information and spread your wings beyond TaskRabbit? It is as easy as 1, 2, 3. All you have to do to get your next 5 clients (if you are aggressive, your next 20 clients) is:
Go to Facebook and create a Facebook business page. It takes 5 minutes to setup the Facebook business page. Add photos of your work to the business page. If you have created a TaskRabbit profile or a profile on any other online site, you can copy and paste most of your existing profile information, photos, client testimonials, and experience details directly from there.
Once your page is up, write and post a short, heartfelt ❤️note on your Facebook business page about why you launched your business. In the post, share the ways you have already helped and delighted clients. If you are comfortable getting personal, include a sentence or two about what this entrepreneurial journey means to you and your family, and encourage people to message you to schedule a FREE consultation. Add a great photo📸 to that post, tag at least 25 of your friends, past TaskRabbit clients, and colleagues, and watch the booking requests come in!!!
2. Ditch your desktop and get a mobile office
If you are doing any freelance work already on TaskRabbit or for any other online marketplace, you know that “time is money”. You have to be hyper responsive to leads and inquiries to get jobs because there is always someone else ready to pounce on a new opportunity. Well, given that most freelancers are making less than $500 a month, they often have day jobs (in an office, on the road, or at home) that they are focused on during regular business hours. And yet, clients expect rapid response times to their questions and requests or you’re sure to lose potential new income. In fact, studies show that 42% of consumers expect 60 minute response times and 32% expect no more than 30 minute turnaround times on their requests. Short of being at your desk with eyes peeled to your computer 24/7, there is no way to deliver on those short response times and keep your day job (or keep existing clients happy).
So what’s the solution? Well, if you have worked so hard to get those referrals from trusted friends/family/colleagues, you don’t want to lose the opportunity to convert those leads because you have to wait until your lunch break or after work to check your email and respond to inquiries. You need to “ditch your desktop” and open a mobile office. There are dozens of business apps for solopreneurs available for download on your phone from the App Store or Play Store that will help you monitor and respond to new leads quickly. In fact, these business productivity apps go much further than that, they can also help you schedule, invoice, and process payments from clients while you are on-the-go.
Any service professional that has downloaded and signed up for one of these “mobile office” apps, will have a faster response time and higher conversion rate on new client leads than those who haven’t. There is a reason why most online marketplaces like TaskRabbit have mobile apps. It’s how they beat everyone else at reaching clients and then matching them with freelancers like you. Don’t get left behind. Take a page out of their playbook and get your profile and information set up with your own mobile office app for solopreneurs.
3. Get setup to get paid online
Now for the fun part, getting paid. What makes TaskRabbit and other online marketplaces so successful is not only their ability to deliver freelancers who can provide on demand services to clients anywhere and at anytime. It is also the way they are able to secure payment for those services upfront. They are able to get clients to add their credit card to their system to ensure gigsters who work on jobs get paid immediately after completing a job. The biggest risk in moving beyond TaskRabbit and other online marketplaces and building your own client relationships is having to chase clients down for payment after you deliver a great service.
Rest assured, there is absolutely no reason for you to worry about that part either. The same payment processing companies that TaskRabbit uses to accept credit cards from clients are available to you, too. Most “mobile office” apps also give you the ability to process payments as well. So when you do reel in a new client, you can require them to add a credit card into the app as part of the appointment booking process. That way, you can secure your time and ensure they value it. It will also enable you to charge the client as soon as the appointment is complete, rather than having to wait days and at time weeks for clients to pay an invoice that you send by email (or, God forbid, by U.S. mail).
Launch your mobile office
Whether you are looking to fund a hobby, pay for school fees, save for retirement, or be your own boss, it is time to launch your mobile office and get started. Don’t forget that you are currently putting in just as much time and energy trying to market yourself and delight clients on TaskRabbit as you could be doing for your own business.
To be clear, you can still get referrals from TaskRabbit (no point in turning down a Hot Lead, even if it does come with TaskRabbit’s 30% service fee), but don’t make TaskRabbit your only source of new client leads. You already have everything that is required to achieve your goal of making more money (and, maybe, one day becoming your own boss).