A new group called The Gig Community, intended to support the area’s growing freelance workforce, has been formed in Northwest Arkansas. According to its stated mission in a press release, “The Gig Community’s vision is to establish a community of contract workers that fosters development, support and advocacy for all gig economy participants in Northwest Arkansas and beyond.”
Nationwide, 36% of the labor force or 57.3 million Americans now do freelance work, contributing an average of about $1.4 trillion to the economy each year, according to a 2017 study from Upwork and the Freelancers Union.
The Freelancing in America study also showed the amount contributed to the economy represented a 30% increase over the previous year. In fact, the study said freelance workers will make a majority of the workforce in 10 years.
“With more people going to contract work, we want to provide a resource that enables individuals to be successful in this new work environment,” Megan Tucker, president and co-founder of The Gig Community and owner of Whole Human Culture in Bella Vista, said in the press release. “Connection and support are vital for successful living.”
The Gig Community organization is open to workers who earn a portion of their income from contract or freelance work, including sales representatives, creatives and self-employed real estate agents and technical skills workers, according to the group.
The Gig Community is intended to serve as a conduit for networking and social interaction for freelancers, who might share interests and similar work-life balance challenges, while also providing opportunities for members to grow personally and professionally. The organization also will support the freelancing community through mentoring, panel discussions and other programs that provide insight and reinforcement, and also serving as a point of accountability for the workers, according to the organization.
“Megan (Tucker) and I came together and discussed the importance of community for independent contractors,” Brandee Segraves, co-founder, vice president and also owner of Engaging Brand Solutions of Rogers, said in the press release. “By providing support and resources for this part of the workforce that is growing exponentially every year, we can support the new backbone of the economy and positively impact the changes that will inevitably occur from it.”
A website is in development at thegigcommunity.org.