The Gig economy juggernaut is here

The Success Mantra Google Never Meant To Reveal

Hitesh Dhawan
5 min readNov 18, 2020


Are you familiar with the invisible grim misery of 9 out of 10 businesses?

They’re unaware of invisible holes in their bottom line, leaking precious currency by the millions. Like everything invisible, this leak is particularly hard to detect, and mend.

It’s the do-everything-ourselves-syndrome.

Inflexible corporate structures and resistance to change are to blame.

Problem: We need to promote the brand on Facebook.

Solution: Start interviewing social media marketing experts and hire a couple to report to the CMO.

Problem: Our website is outdated.

Solution: Tell Janice in HR to start LinkedIn outreach to designers who can join in a week.

Plainly put, I’m alluding to the mistake of acquiring all skilled workers in the same manner — by recruiting. What follows is misery. The misery of struggling to build what you could have bought quicker and cheaper.

The trendsetters of the business world have known this for long. In 2019 a New York Times report revealed that Google’s 223,000 strong global workforce was 52% independent contractors, and 48% full-timers.

The Gig Economy Is A Juggernaut: Hop On It, Or Slide Aside

In every bi-annual review I conduct with NeuroNimbus’ clients, my team presents them with a report of the money they’ve saved by outsourcing their process to us. What follows are hysterics and hurrays, and then declarations on these lines:

“Yeah, we’ve actually saved enough cash to finance that long-pending project.”

“It was hard to rightsize. But I’d rather be lean than liked.”

“Can you also do X and Y for us? We’d rather focus on what we do best and let you do the rest.”

And I tell them, their trust in the gig economy was rooted in timeless business management advice. Success was the only logical outcome.

A freelancer “sells a service for a known unit of time or for a known output.” As simple as that.

For businesses, hiring a freelancer is the privilege to “name a skill they need, define qualification criteria, and pay for what you need, and not a penny more.”

If ever there were an offer too good to refuse, this is one.

The Lean Business’ Mantra = The “Core + More” Model

What am I about to tell you may irk MBA professors. This mantra is easy to dismiss as basic, simple, banal, and trivial.

My experiences have convinced me that its wisdom is timeless and even pandemic-proof.

Visualize your business as the sum of two parts — the ‘core’ and the ‘more’.

● Core: The nervous system of your business. Mission-critical/pulse processes of the business.

● More: The arms and limbs of your business. The processes and functions that keep the business machinery humming.

For your core business, you hire, nurture, and retain.

And for the ‘more’, you outsource, engage freelancers, onboard independent contractors, and develop your shadow workforce, akin to Google. A workforce that makes you a global force.

3 Irrefutable Arguments In Favor Of A Distributed, Decentralized, Independent, and Remote Workforce

Reason #1: Pay what you must, not a penny more (the cost-advantage)

Success comes to those who play to win. You are not playing to win if you’re fishing for talent in the shallow pools around your office.

Why pay your web designer a salary that lets them afford a lifestyle in Sacramento when you have equally skilled freelancers ready to begin right now in Bangalore or New Delhi?

The numbers tell a story.

*Average salary of an entry-level Python developer in Bangalore is $9,000, that’s one-tenth of what you pay in Sacramento.

Reason #2: Horses for courses (let the expert do it for you)

Surprising, yet true. Corporate recruiters have a myopic view of freelancers, as technical writers, web designers, and entry-level software developers. That’s it.

That’s not it. Far from it.

The gig economy is a colossal catalog of business, managerial, and technical skills arranged by geography, cost, and proficiency.

Trainers, PR professionals, accountants, property managers, translators, videographers, lawyers, analysts, project managers — what do you need? The gig market has it.

Reason #3: Hire for outcomes (stay lean and eliminate phantom costs)

Here’s an open dare to all business owners.

● Grab the paper nearest you.

● List out the annual base salary for any 5 employees of your company.

● Next, calculate the phantom costs. These are the costs of paid sick leaves, insurance, benefits, equipment, workspace, team outings, training, sponsored travels and stays, recruitment expenses, employment taxes, cost of administration.

This calculator helps you find out the true cost of an employee.

The U.S. Small Business Administration suggests businesses pay anything between 1.25 and 1.40 times the annual salary of the employee.

Now, consider that out of the supposed 8 hours of work, your employees also spend time.

Source: and

Stop floundering your business’ wealth towards phantom costs, right now.

In The Grand Ocean Of Independent Gig Economy, India’s The Blue Whale

If you were to receive 10 applications for a freelancer job open to everyone in the world, 4 would be from India.

India has so many factors going in its favor, it’s as if the game is rigged!

4 Golden Bows In India’s Quiver:

○ An unprecedented nation-wide digital push: Expect a road-side tea vendor to willingly accept UPI payments.

○ eduTech revolution: As you read this, millions of Indian millenials are upskilling themselves in highly coveted technical skills, courtesy the nation’s top edtech companies.


○ Gigantic employable workforce: 400 mn millennials in India. That’s 5 times U.S. 80 mn millennials. China has 400 mn millennials too. But India has the language advantage, read on.

○ English proficiency in the workforce: Did you know India has more speakers of the English language than that in the U.K.? China’s 10,000,000 English speakers seem tiny in comparison to India’s 125,344,737.

The Game-Changers Are At It; Don’t Be A Laggard

Back to Google’s shadow workforce. The fact wasn’t meant to be known to the wider public; NYT accessed leaked documents before it published the original story.

The pursuit of a lean workforce is a strategy industry-biggies are betting on. You do not need another exposé to convince yourself.

On Contracting, the leading staffing agency directory in the US, estimates that a tech company can save $100,000 per year by contracting instead of recruiting a full-timer.

Shed your business’ dead weight. Nurture a family of full-timers for your business’ core functions, and let the gig economy handle the rest.



Hitesh Dhawan

A digital evangelist, entrepreneur, mentor, digital tranformation expert. Two decades of providing digital solutions to brands around the world.