Podcast

Episode: 46 |
Diane Mulcahy:
The Gig Economy:
Episode
46

HOW TO THRIVE AS AN
INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONAL

Diane Mulcahy

The Gig Economy

Show Notes

Our guest today is Diane Mulcahy, a McKinsey alum and the author of The Gig Economy: The Complete Guide to Getting Better Work, Taking More Time Off, and Financing the Life You Want.

Her book grew out of the MBA course at Babson that she developed titled “Entrepreneurship and the Gig Economy,” which was names by Forbes as one of the Top 10 Most Innovative Business School Classes in the U.S. Read full episode notes.

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Will Bachman: Hello Diane. Welcome to the show, it’s great to have you on.
Diane Mulcahy: Thanks for having me.
Will Bachman: Diane, I’m so psyched to speak with you. Author of “The Gig Economy,” and you’ve thought so deeply about how to thrive as an independent professional, which is, I mean, the subtitle of this show. Let’s dive right into this.
I’d love to take some time to explore your 10 rules to succeed in the gig economy. We probably won’t have time to cover all of them, but listeners who want to cover all of them can buy your book. Let’s start with number seven, because that’s one that I’m always fascinated by. Be mindful about time. Talk to me about that.
Diane Mulcahy: That’s a great place to start because for people who have worked as a full-time employee, one of the most difficult transitions of moving from full-time work to independent work is figuring out how to structure and manage your time. Partly that’s because when you’re a full-time employee, much of your time is structured for you at the office, so many companies still require that you come to the office during normal working hours, like from 9:00 to 6:00, and so you’re used to doing that. You’re used to having a variety of meetings, other people can put things on your calendar. People walk by and interrupt you or pull you into things or ask you questions.
You can show up at the office and not really be in charge of your time, and the work day just goes by. When you work independently, that all changes. You’re usually sitting at home or maybe sitting in a coworking space, and you’re in charge of structuring your own day. That can be a really difficult transition if you’re not used to structuring your own time. What I recommend as a starting point in my book and in the chapter that you’re referencing, is to start with a calendar diagnostic, thinking about …
Earlier in the book, the first chapter is, “Defining your own success, understanding what success looks like to you. What are your values? What are your priorities?” The calendar diagnostic is conducted in the context of that, thinking about, “What is important to me? What am I trying to get done? What are my priorities for this year or month or week, both personally and professionally?”
Then really taking a look at your calendar historically and understanding, “Well, where do I normally spend my time? What do I normally end up doing with my day, my week, my month and my year? Are those the things that matter to me? Are the those the things that are going to help me accomplish the objectives that I’ve set out for myself?”
After having done the calendar diagnostic, and I have a detailed exercise in my book about how to do that, it’s really about thinking, “How do I structure my time in a way that allows me to most productively and most efficiently get done the things that I want to get done?” That’s really the challenge, I think, that faces every independent worker.
Will Bachman: Can you walk us through the basics of the calendar diagnostic? For someone that doesn’t have your book in front of them yet, how do you go about that? Particularly for someone like myself who, I will have meetings on my calendar but sort of my work time, just at my desk. I don’t have, I could go back a month and I wouldn’t know what I was working on because I don’t sort of block it out. How could you go about a calendar diagnostic if you haven’t been sort of scheduling all those kinds of things out and keeping track of what you’ve been doing?
Diane Mulcahy: Well, there’s a diagnostic finding already, which is you have chunks of time on your calendar, and you don’t know what you’re doing with it. There’s a data point for you to consider and think about, “Are there ways for me to understand better how I’m spending my time?” Technology can be a great help for that. There are a lot of opportunities now to run things like the apps that help you understand what you’re doing when you’re at your computer.
If you install and have those running in the background, at the end of a day or a week or a month, you could look at that dashboard and say, “Oh, actually when I was at my computer, I was spending this much time in Word getting writing done. Or I spent this much time in Excel working on models and spreadsheets. Or I spent this much time on social media,” which maybe that’s what you do for your clients, so that’s okay.
Or maybe that is an opportunity for you to realize that you’re wasting a lot of time when you’re sitting at your computer, and you might want to think about using a program that limits your access to social media during times that you sit down to get work done. Already, just by going back and looking at your calendar and realizing that you don’t know where the time goes, that’s already an important diagnostic, and that’s a great place to start.
Will Bachman: I’m already getting a C minus here on the diagnostic. What are some of the, are there any particular time tracking tools that you recommend that people have found that work well?
Diane Mulcahy: I think it’s different for everybody. I think if you do a Google search on controlling time or tracking time, you can find different applications that have different characteristics. I know, I haven’t used them, but I know that there are some where they allow you to turn off access to the Internet or turn off access to social media or turn off access to particular sites, maybe it’s news sites that you find yourself checking during the day.
Those can be helpful depending on what you are trying to control for, those applications can help you limit the distractions. I don’t want to name one or two, but you can do a Google search and find an application that allows you address whatever the time issue is that you’re having.
Will Bachman: Great. Let’s say that you’ve done this diagnostic and you realize how much time you’re actually kind of goofing off and you say, “Okay, I don’t want to do that anymore.” What are some of the things that you recommend people consider of how to allocate their time differently? What are some of the most typical findings or recommendations that people come up with?
Diane Mulcahy: One of my favorite frameworks, which I introduce in the book, is a framework called the maker versus manager schedule. Paul Graham of Y Combinator was the one who first wrote about it that I know of, that was the first time I had seen that framework published. What the maker versus manager schedule is, is a way to, at a high level, block off chunks of time in your calendar.
The manager schedule is one that most consultants are probably the most familiar with. It’s this idea that during the day you have, your day is kind of chopped up into 30 and 60 minute locks of time where you have meetings and phone calls, and it’s interactive and you’re doing a variety of different things. The manager schedule is great for certain professions, so like a salesperson, their whole day is likely structured on a manger schedule because they are meeting face-to-face with potential clients, they’re on the phone, et cetera.
For many of us, we also need time during the day to get significant substantive work done. Whether it’s writing something or thinking through a strategy, or coming up with a presentation, or outlining a report, or getting deep into a model that we’re building. That kind of work fits best into what Paul Graham calls the maker schedule. The maker schedule is really uninterrupted chunks of time that are several hours. It could be a half a day or it could be a whole day where you block your calendar and say, “This is a time when I’m going to really dive in and focus on getting something big and substantive done.”
For example, when I was writing “The Gig Economy,” I was mostly operating on a maker schedule. Now I’m a morning person, and so for me, I would block my calendar from let’s say 6:00 a.m. until about 2:00 or 3:00 p.m. Those were definitely my most productive hours, and I wouldn’t schedule anything during that time. I would allocate it to writing work. Then after let’s say 2:00 p.m., I would push all of my calls and meetings into a sort of 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. window.
Now it didn’t work every day or every week, but it worked most of the time, and that’s what allowed me to work very efficiently and productively on getting the book written. That’s a kind of high level framework about how to structure your calendar and then in a way that helps you accomplish the objectives that you’ve set out for the day, the week, the month, the quarter or the year.
Will Bachman: That really resonates for me. I find that for me to do kind of real, deep work, actually the work that I get hired to do, there is two pieces of it. There’s the piece where you’re gathering information and doing a bunch of interviews and so forth, and that’s sort of manager schedule. Then the real work that they’re actually paying for is that maker work, where I need to have sort of at least four hours blocked off to just sit and think and draw the pages out, usually by hand, away from the computer.
I find that even If I have like two hours but then I have a call scheduled, even if it’s only a 15 minute call, my mind is sort of thinking, “Okay, I have this call. I have to kind of be ready to withdraw from this work at that point,” and it sort of almost ruins the previous two hours. I need like an uninterrupted block of time to really do the work. That resonates, and I should probably be more mindful about my own calendar, about just scheduling those block.
Diane Mulcahy: Yeah, and it turns out that it is … I mean, I know that you use Calendly, you use a calendar app to schedule events, because I scheduled this podcast using the link that you sent me to that. When you do, when you have an app like that that allows you to control your schedule and calendar digitally, you can simply block time during your most productive windows and do your maker work then.
It varies for everybody. Some people might be very productive in the morning. For other people it’s at night, or maybe they block off Saturdays and that becomes their maker day and in exchange, they do errands on a Thursday morning. It really depends individually, when your most productive time is, what else is going on with your life.
I think stepping back and understanding, “What are the things I need to get done? What kind of maker time do I need allocate? Then when do I need that time? When I most likely to be most productive, most focused, and do my best thinking?” Those are all things that are good to step back and think about, and then proactively block and structure your calendar around.
Will Bachman: Another one of your rules is, “Think access, not ownership.” Now we’re kind of living in the Uber and the Airbnb universe now. Talk to me a little bit about what you mean by, “Think access, not ownership.”
Diane Mulcahy: Yes, I love that chapter. It was one of the most fun chapters for me to write. What I mean by “think access, not ownership,” is to think about the opportunities that we now have to not own things. To me, that is one of the biggest personal finance revolutions of our time. The idea that you can access a lifestyle that you want to live without having to buy it introduces an incredible amount of financial flexibility. Let me unpack that a little. The example I like to use is I live in the city and I access my transportation, I don’t own it.
Instead of owning a car, having to come up with the money to buy the car or having fixed car payments every month, having to pay insurance and maintenance and garaging it and buying gas every week, instead of all of those fixed recurring costs that I have to generate income every month in order to cover, I access my transportation. Now my transportation is a variable cost, not a fixed cost.
I can use Zipcar or Uber or take the subway or walk or rent a Hubway bike. There are many ways for me to get around and I don’t have to incur any fixed costs. If I end up traveling for work for two or three weeks, my transportation costs aren’t continuing while I’m away, they’re variable. It opens up the opportunity to have a lot more financial flexibility. The more variable costs you can introduce into your financial life, the more flexible you are in terms of the income that you need to generate in order to cover the cost of your lifestyle. That’s what I think is so powerful about the idea of access, not ownership.
Will Bachman: Sure. I mean and certainly Uber for getting around or Airbnb or WeWork if you don’t need an office full-time. Did you come across any sort of more extravagant type access, not ownership ideas of independent professionals say, renting yacht for the day instead of buying one or things of that nature?
Diane Mulcahy: Well, one of the couples that I talk about in that chapter in my book, they moved, they had been living overseas and moved to New York, to New York City, and decided that rather than lock themselves into a lease for an apartment in the city, what they were going to do was rent one month Airbnb’s in different neighborhoods.
Will Bachman: Awesome.
Diane Mulcahy: What that accomplished was it kept their stuff to a minimum because they were moving around so much, and it allowed them to completely take their living expenses for housing and make it a variable expense. They could move from a neighborhood like the West Village, which maybe was a little bit more expensive, to an emerging neighborhood in Brooklyn, which maybe was a lot cheaper, and they could mix it up and decide what they wanted to do based on their work, based on what was going on in their lives, whether they were going to be traveling or not. It just opened up an enormous amount of flexibility, yet they still were able to have and maintain a lifestyle of living in New York City.
It can offer the best of both worlds and that can apply, I mean if you’re a person who works a lot with clients and maybe likes to be onsite for part of the time, it can really open up opportunities for you to reduce your living expenses because when you’re traveling on business, that’s covered by your clients and then if you are not locked into a fixed living situation in the city that you’re basing out of, your living expenses go to zero when you’re not there.
It really is a very powerful model. I mean, it brings with it other complications that people maybe aren’t as used to dealing with like moving and being more flexible and being more mobile, but if you can get your arms around that, it can really represent a very different, much more financially flexible way to live.
Will Bachman: You suggest that independent processionals should save for traditional retirement but not plan on one. Talk to be about when independent professionals can stop working.
Diane Mulcahy: Yeah, so first I would like to say that as an independent professional, and particularly many of the independent professionals that are listening to this podcast, if you earn, if you’re able to generate a significant amount of income from the work that you do as an independent consultant, so I’m not talking about a Lyft driver or somebody who delivers for Instacart, but if you’re an x consultant and you’re charging very competitive rates for your services, you have the opportunity to save more and faster for retirement than an employee does, because the rules in our current retirement system really favor independent workers, because you can make contributions for yourself as an employee and also as an employer.
Your average employee can put aside about $18,000 a year towards retirement. As an independent consultant, you can put aside closer to 50,000 a year. The opportunity to save for retirement is much better if you’re an independent consultant. Now of course, we all know the problem is people don’t save for retirement regardless of how they work. Whether you’re an employee or an independent contractor, the challenge in the U.S. is that people don’t save enough for retirement.
What I talk about in that chapter is you want to save for retirement, you want to take advantage of the opportunities that we have as independent workers to save a lot, but the idea of a traditional retirement is one that is fading away. First of all, people don’t necessarily want to quit working. They want to remain engaged and active and working on projects that they think are interesting. The idea that you completely stop working at 55 or 60 or 65 is a notion that has become much less appealing, particularly to people who have the independence and flexibility to structure their own work.
Secondly, of course we all know there are no pensions anymore, so companies aren’t helping us to retire. We don’t have that fixed payment for the rest of our lives provided by the single employer that we worked for for our whole career. The responsibility of saving for retirement is now much more on us. No company is going to step in to help us with that.
That’s why I suggest that you might plan to retire or save to retire but it’s not something that is a given in today’s workforce. People don’t want to do it, and because companies aren’t helping us through a pension to retire, it’s just so much more difficult to save the full amount that you need to actually stop working at 65. It’s a much less realistic plan to assume that you’re going to stop working in your 60s, and live in retirement for a few decades.
Will Bachman: Yeah. Writers such as Tim Ferriss talk about taking mini-retirements, of interrupting your work life to take two or three months off and travel or go learn something. Talk to me a bit about that, your thinking around mini-retirements.
Diane Mulcahy: I’m a huge fan. I cover the same concept in the chapter on taking time off. I call it “between gigs.” If you’re an independent worker, you are not likely going to have decades of 100 percent continuous employment. You can expect to have ebbs and flows, lulls, during which you’re maybe underemployed or perhaps you’re even unemployed, intentionally or not. What I recommend for people who are setting out to work independently as part of their career, is to really plan for that time between gigs and to think about what are some of the things that you want to do, either professionally or personally.
Things on your bucket list, let’s say. How can you figure out a way to do those during this time between gigs? How can you incorporate those personal goals that people used to save for when they would retire, and bring them forward and start accomplishing them during your working life? I think time off between gigs is one of the huge benefits and opportunities of working independently. I think it really makes a difference if you can be intentional and proactive in thinking about how you want to use that time, which you will inevitably encounter.
Will Bachman: Yeah, it’s certainly tough to go off and take one of those mini-retirements or vacations just if you end up, happen to wrap up a project and say, “Well, I don’t have one scheduled, so let me go fly off somewhere.” At least in my own experience, the only way that I managed to ever do it is to schedule them far in advance and say, “Okay, next August I’ll take a month off and go travel with the family.” Because if I wait until I get to that point, I’ll be too stressed out about trying to lineup the next project or I’ll commit to something that would go through the month of August. At least that’s my own strategy.
Diane Mulcahy: Well, let me just challenge that for a minute because I agree with you, and I talk about this in the chapter, the idea of planning ahead to take chunks of time off. I think that’s a fantastic approach, and for most people that works best. I think when it comes to the inevitable lulls, the you’ve just wrapped up a project, it’s been intense. You don’t necessarily have another one right there that’s going to start. You finish on a Friday, you don’t have anything to start on a Monday.
The exercises that I have in that chapter really challenge you to think about, what are some of the intentional ways that you can use different amounts of time? It might be taking off a month in August and vacationing with your family, but what about if you have a week or two weeks, or what if you even just have a few days? What are things that you can accomplish that are important to you that you can have in mind and kind of slot into those times? I have my students, I teach an MBA class on the gig economy, and I have them come up with a variety of things that they want to do with their time that takes different amounts of time.
Somebody might say, “Well, I want to go get my real estate license.” Well that’s a five day commitment, so if you have a week where you don’t have anything going on, that’s something that you can just go knock off if you know it and if you have it ready and there and on a list and you have the idea of it already captured, you can actually just say, “Hey, I have a couple of days or I have a week or I have two weeks, what can I do with that time?” By having thought about it already, you can pick from a variety of ideas that you’ve already come up with about things that you want to make sure that you get done in your life.
Will Bachman: It sounds like the exercise then is to set aside some time and brainstorm about all the things that you’d like to do, and then maybe sort them into categories of. “This is, if I only have an afternoon off, if I have a day, if I have a couple days, if I have a week, a month,” and sort them into those things so that you’re prepared and they’re on your mind. Would you refine that exercise a little bit, if someone wants to try this at home?
Diane Mulcahy: Yeah, so the way that I usually structure it is, the exercise that I give to my students is, “Imagine that you had one year off and the equivalent of one year’s tuition in cash.” The reason I structure the exercise that way is to remove the constraints of time and money, because those are most often the constraints that we place on ourselves and they’re the most limiting. I really want to open the students to an area of their mind that is without constraints, and allow them to brainstorm in that space, and to think big, right? A year is a lot of time, $15,000 is a good chunk of change.
I have them do that exercise for homework and they go off and reflect on that. Then what I do in class is I start to break it down. “Okay, let’s talk about, what if you had a summer off?” Which most students do. “What would you do then?” “Okay, well what if you had a two week spring break off? Then what would you do?” I start helping them get used to thinking about the things that they want to do, their sort of most creative kind of dream ideas and then, “How can you accomplish some of those in different amounts of time?”
A lot of times, students come up with ideas like, “Oh, I want to spend a summer traveling around the U.S. with my dad going to every baseball park. “Okay, well what if you have two weeks? Well, actually you could go to a couple of regional ones.” Or they might say, “Well, I really want to go back and spend a lot of time in Italy. My family’s from there, I have distant cousins.” “Okay, well you can start doing that the next time you have a week vacation.”
Or, “Wow, I really feel like I’m losing touch with my friends from college. I wish I had more time to spend with them.” “Okay, well map out where do they live, and the next time you have a few days off, maybe you could just go and see, visit, make a visit.” It’s really about opening up the possibilities of the things that you want to do and then breaking them down into different time requirements, so that when the time comes up, you have a rich, meaningful list of things that you can do.
Will Bachman: I really like that approach of starting with the one year, because that really kind of opens your mind to, “Wow, that’s a big chunk of time,” and getting a complete list for that. Then saying, “Okay, well if you only had like three months, which of those things might you be able to knock out?” Then kind of keeping reducing it.
As you were talking I was thinking you could also say, for some people that have some control of their schedule, well, only commit to billing four days a week and on Fridays do that thing and boom, you just got 52 days to do that data science degree or whatever you wanted to have on the list, or to learn, and to learn Spanish.
Diane Mulcahy: That’s exactly right. So many of the people that I interview do exactly that. They say, “You know what? I’m going to structure a lifestyle where I only have to work four days a week to generate the income that I need in order to support myself or my family.” I had one woman who runs her own consulting business and she had structured a lifestyle where she could earn what she needed in nine months, because she really wanted to take summers off to spend with her kids.
Now it didn’t work every year. Some years she had to work during some of the summer or a chunk of the summer, but as a goal, she really set out her business development objectives, and keeping her lifestyle in-check so that she could have summers off. Understanding the things that you want to do … What I love about this exercise is once you write those things down, you can’t un-write them, you know them.
You know that those are the things that you would do and that you want to do. I find that that is often the first step in really gathering momentum around those ideas and those dreams. I think it’s a very powerful exercise, and I think having time off and being able to do those things and to see yourself make progress on executing against your vision and your dreams is incredibly powerful.
Will Bachman: One area that I’m always fascinated to get advice on and ideas around is improving your skills. Particularly as an independent professional, you no longer have the consulting firms sending you to two weeks of training, so you’re accountable for doing it for yourself. One of your 10 rules is diversify, to identify opportunities to improve your skills. Talk to me about some of the best practices or unique ideas that you’ve come across on how independent professionals in the gig economy can improve their skills.
Diane Mulcahy: That’s a great question. I think that the first step is making sure that you are aware of the skills that the market is demanding, and understanding what the market will pay for those skills. I think compared to employees, I feel like independent consultants, for the most part, have a much clearer, current sense of exactly what skills the market is demanding, what skills there’s increasing demand for, and what the market’s going to pay. I think that’s really important information for anybody thinking about diversifying their skills.
Will Bachman: For folks that don’t have that sense, let’s say you’re just starting out or your experience is anecdotal, any tips on how to do that discovery of if you are an independent professional, how do you go about discovering what demand other consultants are seeing or like what skills are hot?
Diane Mulcahy: Yeah, there’s so many ways. I think, I’ll give you three. One is to talk to other independent professionals who are operating in the same kind of sector or industry or service area that you’ll be operating in, and just trying to understand what are the services and skills that they offer? How do they package it up? How do they charge for it? Really understanding what is already out there, where are people finding success?
The second way to do it is particularly when you’re, if you’re still working full-time, is to talk to people at companies, and to understand what are the services they’re buying from independent consultants, and why? What are the services that they find really valuable that they’re willing to pay for that they feel like they can’t get from their internal staff?
Then thirdly, I think it’s really helpful, there are so many platforms now that match consultants with projects, and really spending some time online and looking at what are the platforms that have emerged? What sectors and industries are they in, and what kinds of projects are on them? That’s a really helpful way to get a sense of what are clients or employers putting out there and making available to independent consultants? What kinds of expertise and skills and experience are they looking for?
Will Bachman: Yeah, so you’re suggesting rather than just going on there and looking for, “What projects would I be a good fit for today?” It’s saying, “Let me see the inventory of stuff that’s out there, and what skills do I need to go develop?” Whether it’s big data or block chain or search engine optimization, what are clients hiring people for? Then go learn that. Once you’ve done the discovery, what have you seen people doing successfully to build their skill;s?
Diane Mulcahy: I have seen really, it’s inspiring what people are doing to build their skills. I think when you’re in a company, you’re right that some companies, I mean certainly companies are moving away from this, I think, investing in and developing their employees, because turnover is so high, but certainly in some companies, you do have the chance to go to the two week training or the one week leadership development course, but you’re kind of picking from a pre-curated list.
What I see in the independent world is people can really go and develop the skills or expertise in areas that they really feel like they have a strength in or that they’re really interested in. For example, one of the independent consultants I talked to as part of my interviewing for my book, she really ended up honing her skills as a speaker, which was a surprise to her.
That wasn’t something that she had done for most of her career, but when she went out as an independent contractor, she realized that she had some real expertise that she could share and she was able to turn it into kind of a compelling package of different talks on topics that all related to this particular area of expertise. She went out and sought out speaking coaching, she looked for her local TEDx event and contacted the organizers and curators and talked to them about the speaking coaches that they use. She spent, she went to an intensive three day workshop to develop her speaking skills and learn how to structure a talk in a way that was compelling and engaging and entertaining for the audience. That’s an example of the kind of skill development that I’ve seen.
You could take that and say, “Okay, somebody who’s interested in improving their writing skills.” Certainly, the availability of online education has made this so much easier. From, you can go out and figure out how to learn specific technical skills as well as coming up to speed on an industry or just having a better sense of some kind of substantive area, whether it’s leadership or management or business practices or organizational behavior, there’s so much available that we can actually do on our own, on our own schedule, from our own desk, and for free. It’s amazing.
Will Bachman: Diane, I’d love to understand a little bit about your own work. Particularly about … Forgive me, because you’ve probably answered this question before, but kind of what drove you to write this book, and what practical benefits have you been receiving as a result of the book? Whether it’s speaking opportunities or invitations to teach or maybe to consult on this particular topic of the gig economy. I’d love to hear sort of what sorts of opportunities have arisen as a result of this effort that you’ve done.
Diane Mulcahy: The reason I wrote the book is ever since I got my first full-time job out of college, I really felt that in my gut, like there had to be a different way of working. Full-time work was never something that I really enjoyed. I always wanted and preferred to be doing a variety of things. I really like having a diverse variety or a portfolio of gigs. That’s kind of my ideal way to work. I like having a lot of different things going on.
I read an article that actually put a name to it, where I first saw the term “gig economy.” When I read that article and I saw that term, I had one of those moments where you get like goosebumps. I thought, “That’s it. That is the name of the thing that I have been thinking about.” Within a week, I had the syllabus for my course put together and I started teaching it. Through teaching it, the book really grew out of that experience.
The book really grew out of my time in the classroom and understanding what concepts really resonated with my students, what areas they found really useful, the exercises that worked, the homework assignments that worked. It really came out of a practical experience. I’ve been teaching the class for five years. The book came out last year, so I had a number of years of experience to test a lot of these concepts and ideas that are in the book.
Will Bachman: What=
Diane Mulcahy: In terms of-
Will Bachman: What-
Diane Mulcahy: Yeah?
Will Bachman: What interests your students to take the course? Are they typically wanting to become independent professionals themselves, or are some of them planning to kind of set up a TaskRabbit type company to employ independent consultants? I’m curious sort of what gets them interested and most excited about the material?
Diane Mulcahy: When I first started teaching the class five years ago, students … It’s an elective, and students took it because they thought it was an interesting idea. They’re like, “Oh, let me come and learn about this economic trend, or let me come and learn about this way of working.” They came to the class with very much of an arm’s length kind of interest in the topic.
As time went on, that really changed. Most of the time now, the students that come and take my class, they arrive and they say, “You got to help me figure out to succeed in this new world of working. I know that it’s not realistic for me to rely on an employer, to assume that I’m always going to have a job. I really need to figure this out.”
It’s a much more personal and close kind of topic to them when they come take the class. A lot of the things that I do in the class are really related to them personally figuring out, “What do I need to do to be successful, and what are the tools that I can start using, and how do I get my mind around that?” It really has changed over just five years.
Will Bachman: Diane, listeners who want to learn more about this can buy your book, “The Gig Economy,” available wherever fine books are sold. Where can they find information about you? You want to provide a website or what’s the best place for people to find out what you’re doing and a little bit more about you?
Diane Mulcahy: Yeah, my website is DianeMulcahy.com. It provides an overview of my background, and it also has a number of the articles I’ve written about the gig economy. If the book seems like a larger undertaking than your listeners are willing to move on, reading some articles and getting a sense of the topic is a good place to start.
Will Bachman: Well, Diane, I really enjoyed our conversation. This is fascinating and certainly very near and dear to my heart, this topic. Thanks so much for joining.
Diane Mulcahy: Thanks for having me.

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