This essay by Bill Gurley, “The Thing I Love Most About Uber”, is well worth reading. In it he discusses the insane level of flexibility working for Uber (or, though he doesn’t state it, Lyft) gives the drivers. He also goes into some great details about the typical driver and earnings.
I have been a contractor for much of my career and when I was, I placed a large value on freedom. Freedom to choose clients, freedom to take time off, freedom to work when I needed to. As a software developer, if you are willing to accept the associated risks you’ve been able to choose autonomy for decades. (Some contractors are even more autonomous.)
But that level of autonomy still requires large blocks of contiguous time, some level of marketing capability, and specialized knowledge.
In the USA today, the ability to drive and car ownership is ubiquitous (88%). And Uber/Lyft take care of the marketing. And the demand is such that you don’t necessarily need large blocks of time. So the autonomy provided is at a much higher level than any previous type of contractor.
This is amazing. I can’t think of another market where the demand and supply pools are so large and the time and skill commitment are so small.