For many workers in the gig economy, the freedom to live and work from pretty much anywhere is one of the lifestyle’s biggest perks. Whether as a full-time gig or side hustle, some 68 million Americans are involved in the gig economy, reports Modern Gentlemen, and those independent contractors enjoy a high degree of geographical freedom.
When you’re looking for the perfect place to live and work, there are numerous factors to consider. Start by asking yourself a few simple questions. Be mindful of both practical considerations as well as your dreams and aspirations. Have you always wanted to live in a thriving metropolis like New York City or San Francisco, for example?
The good news is that numerous big cities are considered gig economy hotspots for those in creative and technical fields. Rideshare drivers and general laborers may also find greater success in urban environments, where there’s a larger customer base. However, urban life can be expensive. Independent contractors on a limited income may have a hard time in certain areas.
From cost of living to atmosphere and beyond, let’s take a look at the various factors that gig workers should consider before settling down in any one area.
The Economics of Gig Work
It should come as little surprise that financial considerations are your first stop on the road to deciding where to live as a gig worker. In order to thrive in the gig economy, you need to bring in a steady income stream while minimizing expenses. Unfortunately, it seems like the cost of pretty much everything is on the rise, so savvy gig workers must learn to adapt.
When you’re looking to relocate pay attention to trends in urban housing that may affect your budget. This applies whether you’re moving permanently or temporarily. For instance, rent costs may be lower in suburban areas than within the city limits. But, those areas are often much further from stores, restaurants, and similar urban amenities. Thus, transportation costs are likely to be higher.
As an alternative to the isolation of suburban life, gig workers should consider moving to a hybrid neighborhood. In hybrid neighborhoods, residential and commercial buildings sit side by side, and you can easily commute via public transit, walking, or bicycling.
When it comes to housing, there are many of us who crave adventure and don’t want to be tied down. The digital nomad lifestyle is an attractive option that has become increasingly popular in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic slowed things down in terms of making a living as a digital nomad. But, it’s still possible to travel, as long as you can find reliable internet.
Amenities, Including Healthcare
In many respects, independent contractors live up to their name. Gig workers are in virtually every field are effectively on their own when it comes to meeting deadlines, prioritizing self-care, and staying healthy.
Gig workers are also largely responsible for their own healthcare costs. So, when looking for a place to call home, make sure that you can easily access both routine care and emergency services.
In rural and urban areas alike, living in close proximity to good healthcare is important for several reasons. City dwellers often have an advantage in this regard. Vaccines are widely available in urban clinics. Emergency response times are often much faster in cities than in rural areas. What’s more, low-cost healthcare options are in short supply within rural communities. City dwellers typically have a choice when it comes to quality care that’s also affordable.
Making Human Connections in Every Industry
Healthcare costs notwithstanding, it takes a certain kind of person to become a successful gig worker over the long term. By and large, independent contractors are self-starters, but even the most disciplined among us can’t go at it alone. Socialization is a cornerstone of human nature, and contractors who primarily work on their own must look for ways to bridge the gaps and connect with other humans. In this respect, location can be crucial to your quality of life.
Rideshare drivers may have no problem when it comes to socializing, but creative types may need a bit more help. Further, fostering long-term connections can be difficult for many of us, especially recent transplants to a new city. Gig workers looking to make new friends should consider joining a gym, book club, or another type of social group wherein you can meet like-minded people.
Where do you want to live? For gig workers, few places are off-limits, and you may even be able to travel while working, allowing you to expand your horizons as you make a decent living. No matter whether you’re a freelance writer dreaming of a quiet life in the countryside or an innovative entrepreneur with big-city aspirations, gig work may just be your ticket to success.
About the Author: Amanda Winstead is a writer from the Portland area. She has a background in communications and a passion for telling stories. Along with writing she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey, or even just say hi you can find her on Twitter.