It took a pandemic, but the side hustle finally got promoted…into the C-suite. 

Even before COVID, independent workers were a growing part of the U.S. labor force; by one pre-pandemic estimate, more than a third of workers were involved in the gig economy. In 2020, their wages and participation grew 33%. 

That’s partly because of the economic and emotional roller coaster of the past year and the need for quick decision-making, nonetheless. Or “once bitten, twice shy,” as Stephanie Nadi Olson characterizes it; Olson is founder and CEO of We Are Rosie, an on-demand talent company. “People had to lay off friends and were hesitant to build back up,” she says. “They became open to hybrid models and asked, ‘How do we rebuild in a de-risked way?’”

Based in Atlanta, We Are Rosie is a freelance network of marketing talent that helps brands and agencies staff up. Partly in response to COVID, the company launched Rosie Recruits, which allows employers and employees to try each other out for six months.