Why & How to Market Your Financial Services to Gig Workers

In 2021 alone, freelancers contributed $1.3 trillion in annual revenue to the U.S. economy, according to a report from Upwork. By 2022, gig workers accounted for 36% of the U.S. workforce, and that number is expected to grow in the coming years.

Let’s break down what this means for your financial institution.

As more people break away from the norms of a 9-to-5 job, they’re creating a growing market of unique financial needs resulting from irregularities like unpredictable income and odd tax requirements. They often use personal financial accounts and tools to manage their business finances, too, unaware of the benefits that business financial services could provide.

By successfully connecting with this audience, you can grow your financial institution’s revenue while building a relationship with a rapidly growing segment of the labor market and economy.


The number of freelancers is growing to record highs, and it’s growing fastest among highly skilled and educated professionals who are motivated by flexibility and independence. Still, many gig workers face major financial challenges. A recent study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute revealed these key findings:

  • 87% of surveyed gig workers said they made less than $21 per hour during the last week.
  • 76% said it was somewhat or very difficult to cover expenses and pay bills.
  • 62% said they have lost pay because of technical difficulties clocking in and out.
  • 30% said they use SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).
  • 18% said they have put off seeing a doctor or going to the hospital because of the cost.

Another recent report from Commonwealth highlighted how income volatility can make it extremely difficult for gig workers to build up adequate emergency funds. Many financial experts recommend that individuals maintain a cash reserve equivalent to three to six months of living expenses. But 82% of gig workers in the study’s nationwide cohort reported savings of less than $1,000 – and 44% reported savings of $0.


Self-employed workers value their autonomy, but many of their financial challenges are simply too great to face alone. Community banks and credit unions have an opportunity – and perhaps even an obligation – to enable this growing sector of the workforce to access the resources and tools they need to achieve greater financial stability.

Educational resources like interactive financial wellness curricula can help financial brands to position themselves as trusted thought leaders and to nurture long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with this underserved demographic. Topics of special relevance to gig workers include leveraging technology for better household budgeting, building an emergency fund, paying down debt, maximizing tax deductions as a sole proprietorship or LLC, and saving for retirement. Offering personalized coaching in addition to free online content can strengthen the loyalty loop.

Specialized banking tools can also empower independent contractors and entrepreneurs to make the most of their finances. More often than not, gig workers rely on basic retail banking products, but they’re likely to have additional unaddressed needs. Without employer-sponsored pensions, they may need flexible retirement savings options. If they need to calculate and pay quarterly estimated taxes, mobile apps and automated transfers can streamline the process. Pretax health savings accounts with dedicated debit cards could prove useful for those with high-deductible insurance plans (or no coverage at all).

Perhaps most importantly, business accounts can allow solo entrepreneurs to benefit from simplified bookkeeping, reduced personal liability, and expanded access to individualized lending solutions. Meanwhile, key advantages for financial institutions include increased share-of-wallet, fee revenue, and positive touchpoints that can turn into long-lasting loyalty.


So how do you effectively connect with gig workers? You prove that your financial institution understands their needs and has solutions for the challenges they face. Here are some actionable tips:

  • Tailor messaging directly to this segment and keep their pain points top of mind. Among these are smoothing out week-to-week cash flow, staying on top of bills and debt, and tracking deductible expenses.
  • Consider rolling out loan products designed for folks with variable incomes. One innovative example we’ve seen is an auto loan that allows borrowers to pay ahead when they can and access those funds later if they experience a shortfall.
  • Assume that this demographic is digital-first and always on the go. Promote high-tech, time-saving tools like mobile apps, chat support, P2P and bill pay options, and multimedia financial wellness content.
  • Recognize that as users interact with these digital tools, they generate valuable data that you can use to fine-tune products and services and deliver targeted messaging right at their point of need.
  • Remember that even the most cutting-edge technology can’t replace great customer service. Gig workers value personalized attention – and that’s where community banks and credit unions will always have an edge.

With smart strategies like these, financial brands can break through the noise and reach this fast-growing and largely untapped sector.

Few financial institutions provide services and products with a focus on gig workers. Yours could be the institution that stands out. By demonstrating deep knowledge of gig workers’ financial needs – and how your financial institution meets them – you’ll effectively connect with a significant segment of the U.S. workforce. Interested in optimizing your campaigns or enhancing your marketing strategies? Reach out to LIGHTSTREAM today.