Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Freelacing Gig Economy and Story of a Teacher Ditched His Debt

As the new year begins, many of us look for ways to improve our lives and our happiness. One common resolutions is the pledge to pay off student loan debt. That’s no surprise. On average, Americans each owe nearly $25,000, and one in 10 owes more than $54,000 according to the Federal Reserve Bank of NY.
But where to come up with the extra cash to pay down hefty educational tabs? As the economy struggles to recover, it can feel like we have holes in our wallets. A new graph by PayPal founder and venture capitalist Peter Thiel shows that since 2004, student loan debt has skyrocketed while the median income for Americans with bachelor's degrees has dropped precipitously. Yes here I want to say about Socialhawkers , the ultimate market place for freelancers and small business owners.

The vast majority of American workers have endured more than a decade of wage decline or stagnation according to EPI’s analysis. And household incomes have been shrinking for the past five years (an 8.3% drop since 2007 per the
U.S. Census Bureau). It’s no wonder so many of us live paycheck-to-paycheck.

But there is hope. I’d like to share the story of a regular guy who figured out how to do exactly what seems impossible in these uncertain times. Not only did he wipe out a mountain of student loan debt, but he also did it in just one year, fulfilling a lifelong dream along the way.

Meet Harold Everton. Harold’s a music teacher, educating high school kids in New York City public schools for over a decade. An avid David Letterman fan, Harold had yearned to be a host himself since he was a little boy.
He’d been trying like crazy to get his foot in the door, earning an MBA in media and investing in recording equipment. He’s a brash, wisecracking, larger-than-life New Yorker. He has the right personality and a superabundance of drive, but he didn’t have the right connections.
While doing a Google search for “promo work” in late 2012, Harold discovered Socialhawkers, a global online marketplace for services. After taking a look at members who offered to do creative stuff like “draw you as a Simpson character,” he was inspired. He decided to post a video advertising his “energetic spokesman” services. To his surprise and elation, the orders came flooding in

Harold began sprinting home from school to jump on camera for Fiverr clients. Positive feedback generated more business. Soon the demand was so high that he’d only catch a few hours of sleep before waking at 1 a.m. to keep rolling.
And the rest was history.
In about a year, Harold had a slew of clients spanning small businesses to large corporations. His over-the-top promos ranged from a “pseudo-serious black and white” plug for a law firm to a late night talk show bit. He was making enough for Fiverr to be a second job and earned the coveted “Top-Seller” designation. That meant more publicity, community connections, and higher paying gigs. He soon set his sights on paying off more than $50,000 in student loans by the end of 2013.

I’m thrilled to report that, fueled by an innate boundless energy (and copious caffeine consumption), Harold achieved his goal in one year and is now debt free.

That Google search sure paid off.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that any of this was easy. Harold’s definitely a one-of-a-kind dynamo (and self-proclaimed “crazy man”) able to work round-the-clock like no other, as you can see for yourself when you watch one of his Socialhawkers promo videos. Yet there’s a message in his story for all of us. Because Harold’s outrageous success is driven by one thing: passion.

Passion is at the heart of the labor force of new entrepreneurs, which we call the Gig Economy. Whether motivated by desire, necessity, or both, a growing number of us are trying to create a new world for ourselves. In this universe, what we love to do the most is what we get out of bed for in the morning (or at midnight). Marketplaces like Socialhawkers make this revolution possible by connecting us. They’re a way for us find the people who are looking to pay us for our dream gigs.

To me, that’s what the 2014’s really about. An era of level playing fields, where everyday people like Harold can find success on their own merits, no matter who they know. Let’s all resolve to be a part of it.

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