With South Africa’s high unemployment rate ranking among the world’s highest at 32.9% according to Statistics South Africa, it is unfortunate that debt relief is unlikely to be a viable solution for many. In order to qualify for debt review, one needs to have an income. These statistics highlight the urgent need for alternative ways to earn an income and participate in the economy – especially for young people – to avoid falling into a debt trap.
South Africans are among the most indebted nations in the world, with 73% of South Africa’s disposable household income used towards making debt repayments, according to a recent SA Law Journal.
The gig economy, characterised by short-term contracts or freelance work, offers individuals the flexibility to choose their own projects and set their own schedules. This trend has already started to alleviate some of the stresses of unemployment in South Africa, with 3.9 million South Africans already participating in the gig economy.
This offers a unique chance for young South Africans to earn an income and gain valuable experience. It offers a pathway to income generation and a chance for them to be their own bosses. However, it’s essential to approach gig work with the right skills and mindset to ensure its sustainability. By embracing the principles of gig work readiness and adopting the right strategies, young entrepreneurs can navigate the gig economy successfully and create a fulfilling and financially rewarding career path.
The importance of equipping young people with the necessary skills to thrive in the gig economy and technological disruption provides an opportunity to upskill and reskill young people to orient them towards new opportunities to earn an income. While the gig economy presents numerous opportunities, it’s also important to acknowledge the challenges that come with it. Job security, lack of benefits, and lack of regulations are issues that need to be addressed.
Tips to help young people succeed in the gig economy:
Embrace continuous learning: As technology evolves, it’s essential to continuously learn new skills to stay relevant. Keep up with industry trends and invest in your professional development. Aside from courses that are valuable, but cost money, there is a wealth of free information available online, as well as mentorship programmes.
Diversify your skills
Gain experience and skills in a wide range of applications. This versatility will increase your marketability and open up more opportunities for gig work.
Cultivate independence and teamwork
Develop the ability to work independently and be adaptable to work as part of a virtual team. Collaboration and effective communication are vital in the gig economy.
Be proactive and assertive:
Take charge of your career by being proactive and assertive. Seek out opportunities, pitch your services to potential clients, and negotiate fair pay rates for your work.
Build your personal brand
In the gig economy, self-promotion is crucial. Create a professional online presence, showcase your skills and accomplishments, and market yourself effectively to attract clients and opportunities.
Manage your finances wisely
With gig work often characterized by gig-to-gig living, it’s important to have financial capabilities to handle irregular income. Budget wisely, save for emergencies, and avoid unnecessary debt.
Think like an entrepreneur
Approach gig work with an entrepreneurial mindset. See yourself as a business offering a range of capabilities, and continually seek ways to innovate and provide value to clients.
As the gig economy continues to grow and evolve, it is crucial for young people to adapt and thrive in this new world of work. By developing the necessary skills, being proactive, and managing their finances wisely, they can make the most of the opportunities the gig economy offers. The Side Hustle Generation is ready to take charge of their financial futures and forge their own paths to success.
National Debt Advisors is South Africa’s number one debt counselling company and is perfectly positioned to help South African consumers who are struggling with their finances, become debt-free in under 60 months.