Reflections on joining the gig economy

Tim writes…

Earlier this year, after 20 years in corporate life, I decided to take the plunge and set up by myself by launching TimScottHR. I decided to do go solo to do what I think I do best – help people and organisations with people stuff and social media. Having a good few friends who have taken this option, I wasn’t expecting it to be easy, but it felt like the time was right and I had that nagging question of “if not now, then when?”.

It is probably a total understatement to say that it has been an interesting few months!

To begin with there is plenty of stuff that needs doing which doesn’t earn you any money: setting up websites, sorting out branding, designing business cards and promotional material, finding and meeting with accountants, networking and connecting (aka drinking coffee). There is content to create and there were potential training sessions to write.

So far, self-employment has had some ups and downs. The real big positive has been the range of work that I have been lucky enough to get involved with. The last three months has seen me publishing a new book on social media with Gemma Dale, speaking about HR and technology at the HR Advisor conference in London, speaking about how HR and Internal Comms teams can work together at Comms Hero events, running Twitter chats and doing plenty of blogging. If that wasn’t enough, I’ve also worked with Leeds City Council to facilitate their leadership conference and supported a private sector outsourcing business with their employee relations caseload. Oh, and lectured on all things HR at Liverpool John Moores University!

It sounds like a dream start, and in many ways it has been, but there is another side to this gig economy stuff. There have been the sleepless nights where I’ve wondered where the next mortgage-paying piece of work is coming from. I’ve learned how hard it can be to switch off. When your office is in your home and there is always at least that one more thing that can be done that evening to develop the business…

What does 2017 have in store? I’m launching a range of Masterclasses on social media, from how to deal with the employment law implications, how to launch social media within organisations through to how to use it for your small business. I’m in talks with some local firms about future collaborations, and will be doing more more teaching at the university. There is also one more social media book to come, this time aimed at business leaders who want to lead socially. And…. hopefully enough work to keep paying the bills and keep those sleepless nights at bay.

Would I do it again? Absolutely. I have learned a lot about what I am good at (and not so good at) and been completely bowled over by the support from my network. I will never rule out going back to corporate HR life, but for now, I’m sticking with the MacBook and some artisan coffee.

A huge thanks to everyone who has supported me over the last few months – it is very much appreciated! I’m looking forward to whatever adventures 2017 brings.


With huge thanks to Simon Heath for creating both the “Time” cover and the book cover in the image at the top of the page!

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