We work in a gig economy, which means chances are good you know at least one person — if not many — who work for themselves. It’s a challenging but rewarding life. In exchange for the loneliness, the longer hours, and the personal sacrifices, many enjoy priceless perks like a more flexible schedule, the option to spend more time with family, or all around feelings of fulfillment in the work they do.
As a friend, loved one, or even employer of a freelancer or contractor, you might be wondering what to get this person when an occasion for gift-giving arises. The good news is thanks to their passion for what they do, finding the right gift for someone who works for themselves may be one of the easiest items on your to-do list. Here are five thoughtful gift ideas, sure to bring a little cheer to the freelancer in your life.
1. A gift that pampers
According to a recent QuickBooks survey of self-employed workers, many freelancers work longer hours than ever before. They also don’t take as many vacations, which isn’t a surprise — PTO isn’t exactly a thing for those who sign their own paychecks.
What’s more, the fate of a freelancer’s business rests entirely on their shoulders, and while many say they’re less stressed now than they were working a traditional job, it’s not unusual for that weight to manifest metaphorically and physically.
Knowing that stress creates tension, why not give your self-employed friend a gift that can alleviate some of that very real pain? Here are a few suggestions:
- A gift basket with tension-relieving tea (like peppermint, chamomile, or lemon balm), honey, and a mug such as this to bolster their spirits when the going gets tough.
- A robot vacuum so they can take this tedious chore off their list.
- A weighted blanket, designed to reduce feelings of anxiety.
- A gift certificate for a massage or spa treatment.
2. A gift that educates
You might not be able to lend a hand on the business side, but that doesn’t mean you can’t support your self-employed friend emotionally or intellectually. And in fact, catering to these needs could be the perfect holiday gift. Ninety-four percent of self-employed workers describe themselves as lifelong learners, and 75 percent say they read a lot. Here are a few literary suggestions for the learned freelancer in your life:
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
- The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries.
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz.
- Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell.
3. A gift that celebrates
Self-employed individuals often have to be Jacks of all trades and masters of each of them. Not only are they their own boss, they’re also their own marketer, their own product-maker, their own sales associate, and often their own accountant.
Maybe it’s because of this that so many feel confident in their soft skills. Nearly 90 percent say they’re good problem-solvers, 85 percent describe themselves as creative, and 83 percent feel they are good leaders.
Why not celebrate and acknowledge these strengths with a gift that makes it clear you know how hard they work and value their accomplishments? Here are a few ideas:
- A set of hand-blown wine glasses to toast to their success.
- A polaroid camera to capture and display their best moments.
- A coffee table book that speaks to their industry and passion.
- A truly elegant box of chocolates, named among the best in the world.
4. A gift that’s personal
Is there anything more personal than working for yourself? A freelancer’s success comes down to their own energy, their own vision, and their own passion. Seventy-seven percent say they push to do the impossible. Eighty-four percent say their success is a direct product of their hard work.
One type of personal gift is the kind that’s useful. If the solopreneur is a dog walker, for instance, you might get them this triple dog leash handle, so they can keep their canine clients tangle-free. But if you don’t know what this person needs or want to surprise them with something that’s more fun than serious, here are some suggestions:
- A license plate frame that can share their passion with the world.
- A water bottle decorated with their company name or brand.
- A custom notebook to record all their brilliant ideas.
- A make-it-your-own messenger bag for when they work on the go.
5. A gift that inspires
No matter what industry, product, or service, every worker is bound to hit a slow point. That lull isn’t fun for traditional workers, but it’s especially tough for the self-employed, who may not have a group of peers they can lean on to get their groove back. Here are a few inspirational ideas, sure to light the fire in any freelance heart:
- A personalized playlist with songs that will bring a little pep to their self-employed step.
- One of these pro-hustle T-shirts that will make them smile each time they look in the mirror.
- An Airbnb gift card so they can get a change of scenery and refresh their perspective.
- A picture book that speaks to their passions, hopes, or dreams.
Sometimes the greatest gift is knowing someone else is aware of your passion. Find a gift that speaks to this desire, and whatever you give is sure to be a hit.