Experiences from the flexible workforce

We spoke to Nyasha about her experience with flexible work.

Nyasha, 25

  • Casual
  • Self-employed
  • Gig

Nyasha is an artist. She writes, produces, and performs music under her name “Nyasha”. She works in the Gig Economy, performing at shows and festivals throughout the year. Nyasha also runs her own business and earns money through music facilitation, mentoring,  performing, and royalties. Alongside her creative work she has a casual job at Nandos, and has done so for the last 8 years.

What stands out from Nyasha’s story is how self-employment requires a diverse skill set and resilient attitude to cope with the demands of building her creative enterprise.  We asked Nyasha about her experiences navigating her various work in the arts, her casual work and her mentoring.  
On the challenges of balancing multiple jobs

I would say - unpopular opinion - that may shock people that work nine to five: we probably work more hours than you.

I try to switch off but me being me, there are always tabs in my head, like I know... I should probably be doing something. I’m learning to kind of work with to-do lists, and promising myself that today, I’m going to do these particular things.

I feel like I am never off the clock I’m always thinking “I need to send this thing to this magazine,  I need to listen to this song 600 million times, to figure out if it's good enough to submit it., I need to calculate my budget for this month .'' It's just constant. It’s not like you just release a song and be like “whew! I’m leaving that behind.''

On needing to be multifaceted in the Gig Economy
In running her business, Nyasha takes on multiple roles - she schedules band practice, produces content, directs her band, promotes gigs and songs, creates content, organises music videos, runs workshops, and manages the administration and finance of it all.
On needing to have multiple streams of income
Nyasha talks about the importance of having multiple streams of income. While she loves working as an artist, performing, and earning money through her business, in the arts industry, no work is guaranteed, which is why she has kept her casual job at Nandos for the last 8 years.

I would say that [artists] should probably have something on the side that helps them sustain their business until it's self-sufficient.

Things like COVID happen, things like you getting sick and unable to go to an actual gig, they do happen as well, and studios cost money, band members cost money, studio sessions, music videos, those things cost money - your living expenses, your rent, your car fuel to travel to the gigs, and travel, they cost money.

You’re going to need something to keep going. And to remember that that is not the end goal. But in order to get there, you need a plan, and your plan...it takes money to make money, so you need something.

Long term, I do want to have music as my main source of income...I feel like it’s my purpose on this earth to be and do music.  I’m such a multifaceted person as well, I do have big dreams, but I also want to be a contributor to my community as much as I can.