Tim Ferriss had it you can work with virtual assistants to escape the grind of eighty-hour workweeks. Ferriss was ahead of his time in predicting how entrepreneurs would work today and we have discovered that the benefits of the gig economy now extend to employees and business owners. You don’t have to quit your job to live a balanced life, reskill, unlock new opportunities, or start that side hustle you can’t stop thinking about.
You just need the Gig Mindset , and Paul Estes is here to help you adopt it. For years, Paul struggled to balance his home life with fast-moving jobs at Dell, Amazon, and Microsoft. Hiring his first virtual assistant transformed his life—and it can do the same for you. Paul will help you get started with freelancers by utilizing the TIDE Taskify, Identify, Delegate, and Evolve. He also shares stories from interviews with leaders at NASA, GE, and Topcoder on how they’re transforming their organizations using gig economy strategies.
If you’re ready to re-energize your work, the Gig Mindset is what you need.
Gig Mindset is a good book to introduce you to the gig economy. When I picked up the book, I had already heard about virtual assistants and websites like Fiverr and TaskRabbit, but I had never used them. This book gave me the motivation to try gig workers and it provides easy guidance on how to start. Beyond the "how-to," I also like how the book emphasizes a mindset change.
The book introduces the T.I.D.E framework for engaging with gig workers. T.I.D.E. stands for Taskify, Identify, Delegate, and Evolve. Coming from an IT project management background, the framework is very familiar to me. For most readers, however, I imagine the framework will be useful for breaking down your tasks and clarifying explicitly what you want to get done.
The simplicity of the T.I.D.E. framework is also its weakness. The book tries to bite more than it can chew. It gives sufficient guidance if you want to engage gig workers for your personal tasks and maybe for your own tasks at the office. When giving guidance for businesses, however, the book fails miserably.
In the business world, a company may engage different types of external help. They are not just crowdsourced help and gig workers (which the book talks about), but also consultants and vendors. Hiring expert consultants is nothing new. Companies have also been hiring vendors by issuing RFP (Request For Proposal) that is open for any interested suppliers. The book ignores these "old school" types of engagements and only touts gig workers and crowdsourcing as the best way forward.
Engaging freelance workers for your company's tasks (i.e. outsourcing) probably requires a few chapters. There are so many layers to peel, for example, how do you assess the risk of outsourcing to freelancers? How do you vet them? How do you ensure they can deliver the same quality as you promise to your customers?
Besides the big gap in the world of business, I also wish that the book talks more about Virtual Assistants. I imagine getting a VA is low-hanging fruit for most people and deserves a special chapter.
Also, while the book gives a few examples of websites to find gig workers, it would be useful to list them in an appendix with reviews and explanations. There are so many options today and it can be overwhelming to find the right one for your particular task.
Estes defines a gig market as a labour market that is distinguished by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work.
The book is more top-down than bottom-up and Estes is primarily concerned with you, as a business, hiring freelancers instead of employees. The big-picture overview he gives works for both businesses and freelancers, but that’s as far as he goes. There’s nothing here about medical or other insurance or how to get jobs or even if you need a license. While the focus is on business, he shines a light on you as a personal business and he sees freelancer’s help as a way for you to focus on efficiently doing whatever you do best while they do the rest.
He recommends what he calls the TIDE method: Taskify, Identify, Delegate, and Evolve. This begins with you writing out everything you do for work, home, or whatever. This is ‘taskifying.’ As a writer, just off the top of my head, I can think of writing, submitting, formatting files, email, and doing the socials. Take that list and chunk it down further until you have the tasks broken into the smallest, doable skills.
Once we've chunked and identified the skills we need, we can find freelancers and delegate. He suggests a few websites to find freelancers and gives examples of doing this for computer coding or for doing a local search for fun family events. Why spend an hour on the Internet, he wonders, when you can use a personal assistant who is an expert in Internet searching? For five bucks?
The evolve part is easy. Look at what you've done well and done badly and incorporate those lessons into your next hiring.
There's more to the book than this, of course, and he takes at least a chapter to outline the dos and don’ts of each action in TIDE. The gig economy is different and disruptive and much of the book addresses this. For some, his arguments could be tighter. He often falls back onto his own experience, suggesting that you don't worry: he’s done it and it’s worked out fine. Definitely not enough of an argument for the company I work for.
I can’t help but think about how the gig economy would work for me as a writer and crafter, and I have some hesitations. I have to be the writer of what I write. There are good reasons that other people use ghostwriters, but I can’t. It’s not in my blood. Maybe I’m naive, and I can live with that. If my name is on it, I have to write it. Same with chopping dovetails. I want to do it myself. By hand. I can see, though, where I could use help in submitting for publication and posting to the socials.
I see nothing really new about the gig economy except size. In my day we called it working for yourself. I was a carpenter for a long time who worked six days a week for just about anyone who would have me. I kept accurate notes about what I did and what I needed to charge and was pretty successful at it.
Should you buy the book?
It’s a good top-down overview. If you wonder what all the hullabaloo is about, this is a good place to get a bird’s eye view. If you are a freelancer looking for details and nuances, this probably isn’t the book for you.
Makes compelling case for outsourcing to everything possible to freelenacers. Well supported anecdotally and with research. Provides commentary and recommendations from contemporary business thought leaders.
Engaging guide to getting around thinking like a Gig generation master
Firstly it’s a challenging concept that is not yet mainstream. Paul’s engaging style of writing, comforts you as though he is holding your hand through the process. This book felt authentic and I found Paul to be candid and vulnerable about his own struggles. It’s not easy to open yourself up to the public like this. I commend him to convey his journey of ups and downs via multiple stories that struck a beautiful cord with me. Thanks for narrating a difficult concept so effortlessly. Ride the high TIDE ;) of gig mindset with Paul. I highly recommend this book for the future thinkers.