Lesson 2: How to Find the Right Kind of Brand Story

How are you thinking about the Gig Economy and your clients’ experience of it after lesson 1? Has anything shifted for you? Are you more aware of the processes by which you form thoughts, beliefs, and opinions about the current world of work? Are there aspects of your work with clients that you might need to reframe?

Let’s begin Lesson 2 watching a fun 5-minute video about side hustles, full-time freelancing, and making choices in the Gig Economy. You will note that there are a lot of life “structural” issues to be thought about throughout. It is important to remember that this video is U.S. centric (although similar issues arise across cultures) and optimistic (it assumes that workers have a choice, and many don’t).


Hopefully that got your brain juices flowing! During lesson 1 we revealed the ways that clients must confront the new paradigm of 21st Century Work which is often psychologically distressing. Some of this distress is due to the paradigm change; some is due to realistic “structural” factors that warrant attention.


This 15-minute documentary style video set in London takes a less optimist view of gig work, highlighting how this economy currently is offering workers poor working conditions.  Watch it here.

​​Thinking back to Lesson 1, watching this video reminds me to do a thorough intake appointment to understand client obstacles as well as assets. The Surfing the Gig Economy Model does focus on the positive to create hope with clients; at the same time, we have an ethical obligation to ensure our work with clients is to their benefit. Please refer to my course Career Work is Justice Work for more information on this topic.​

For Lesson 2, I want us to explore the components of getting one’s needs met through work in the gig economy by identifying a strong personal brand that communicates what they are looking for while also giving them what they need. To begin, consider the idea of thriving within this competitive labor market

Please read this article about the 4 components of thriving in the gig economy. Take a moment to write in your journal (remember from class 1 when I asked you to keep a journal… you thought I would forget didn’t you?) about your thoughts about thriving in the gig economy. What are the benefits and dangers to be aware of when doing your work?


Now, there is an entire body of science, theory, and practice of branding that is as varied as that of counseling, coaching, or human resources development. The Surfing Model makes one recommendation for how one might work with clients in creating their personal brand but is not necessity THE WAY that might work for you.

Please remember, the point of this course is that you UNDERSTAND & ADAPT your current practice! 

Therefore, I would like you to read the following 2 articles written by the same Branding Expert. These will provide an alternative, another valid way of approaching this work with clients, to my method. The choice of how you adapt YOUR practice is yours!!

Please read Creating Your Personal Brand Statement and 10 Step Personal Branding Worksheet .

Are you ready for Step 2 of the Surfing the Gig Economy Model? It might be a good to take a break, cleanse the mental palate, and prepare to focus on one specific part of the broader client experience… using the idea of a personal brand story to orient ourselves to “building” something positive. Let’s dig a little deeper into the model with this next video dialogue lasting 19 minutes. Please watch the video.


Today we began with a broader reflection on issues with the gig economy system, both how it can be beneficial but also how it might be harmful. Clients will need to focus on a positive view of the system to build hope for their working future. Career service professionals will need to keep obstacles and realities in mind throughout the process, using them as a check against the progress made to ensure clients are benefiting from your work together.

The Surfing Model uses building one’s personal brand story to mentally reframe client thinking towards a positive, more hopeful future. 

This fits with the postmodern theory ideas of owning one’s story and values,making them portable with you wherever you are doing whatever you are doing.

Brand building with your clients should be positive and energizing if it is to be effective therefore we career service professionals MUST pay attention to the human element – monitoring our clients for their emotional state and level of engagement. This keeps us from convincing clients this is good, instead clients must lead us to a good place with this kind of work.

In Lesson 3 will tie this personal brand story work to client assets to ensure that their gig economy work is helping them build and sustain a better life.

Complete items 4-6 on your worksheet. Mark this lesson complete and then move on to the next lesson.