From the Windy City to the Indy 500—Solo’s Smart Schedule and Pay Guarantee is now available to midwestern Solopreneurs in Chicago, Detroit, Columbus, and Indianapolis! With the average hourly earnings we’ve seen from gig workers on platforms like Uber, Doordash, and Instacart hovering at just $12.75/hr—we knew we needed to bring Solo’s Smart Schedule and Pay Guarantee to these cities to help them optimize their work schedule and earn more. Using aggregated market data, the Solo app gives these workers the tools, insights, and transparency to direct them to the right job at the right time that will pay them the most—guaranteed.

To kick off our launch, some of Team Solo went to Chicago and Indianapolis to chat with gig workers on the ground and learn more about their pain points and chat about how Solo helps them as independent workers. We also got the unique opportunity to meet with a born and raised Chicago Solopreneur, Ashiea, earlier this week and chat with her about Chicago driving tips, her background, and how she uses Solo!

Our Growth Lead, Araceli, with Ashiea at the Museum

Solo: How and why did you start gig working?

Ashiea: Back in 2012, I had a disabled son. He was a  premature baby, my son has cerebral palsy and because he does, he has a lot of doctor's appointments I have to go to weekly. I needed a job that has the flexibility for me to be in charge of turning it on and off. As a parent of a child that has a disability, it is so heart-wrenching to have to constantly ask for time off to work around doctor's appointments. Working a regular 9 to 5 job was overwhelming for me and it wasn’t worth it in the end. 

Solo: How long have you been gig working now?

Ashiea: Altogether? Four years.

Solo: I know you were born and raised in Chicago—what are the busiest places to work, and the slowest?

Ashiea: There are no slow places in a major city with 2.5 million people, I’m just going to throw that in there. There’s not a time that  I sat in front of my house and my rideshare did not ding instantly. We might have a little slowdown, but that’s always temporary and usually has something to do with the app malfunctioning. Up north is super busy all the time, day or night. Downtown Chicago by the Magnificent Mile where we are is super busy every day all day. You would never be right here and not get a ding.  The airports are open 24 hours, and there are events every day, all day, in Chicago. There’s no such thing [as slow areas]. 

Solo: If you could go back in time, what advice would you have given yourself when you first started gig working?

Ashiea: The advice I would give myself is: watch more YouTubes about gig work before you start it. Follow more rideshare people like the Rideshare Hub in the beginning—he’s so authentic and real. I got a Play Octopus tablet that he recommended!  Also renting a car if you are going to drive full time is best because it keeps down maintenance expenses. I rent my car from Drive Sally Chicago and I am very happy with the service they provide me.

Solo: What’s the most frustrating thing about driving or gig work?

Ashiea: Transparency. Uber not being transparent, The other day, they paid me $14.96 for an hour doing Uber connect, if I had picked up passengers instead I could have made $45-$50 during that time frame because the surge was high and it was a boost during this time as well. Don’t trick me into working—just ask me. At the end of the day,  transparency with the amount of time the work takes is important to me as a rideshare driver, Uber has to work on that. The rides and orders are not clear on what I’ll receive.

Solo: Do you have a favorite memory of when you’re out working?

Ashiea: I picked up this young girl with two young kids, and they went to the grocery store. They didn’t have any milk. She needed to add a stop but didn’t have any money so she asked me to take her to the gas station. But the gas station didn’t have any milk! I ended up taking her to the Family Dollar. Sometimes I just do things like that because it’s the right thing to do. I think about my kids, and think “what if I didn’t have money?” I understand what it’s like to have a small kid. Some people tell me I don’t have to help and I know I don't, but in my mind, it guides me with who to help and who not to help, these were extenuating circumstances. It’s about helping people sometimes, community connections, and doing what’s right.

Solo: How has Solo helped you as a driver?

Ashiea: I love it because it tracks my taxes and my mileage. I know Uber and Lyft track the miles I drive with a passenger, but it does not track going to pick up points and in-between jobs! It also tracks Amazon miles which is important to me as well so when i am doing my bookkeeping Solo is an important tool to help me track all gig economy work in one place. That's a lot of miles—at the end of the day, it’s a reality check so I love it and I can’t wait for the Smart Schedule and Pay Guarantee launch!

With the launch of these four cities, we have now brought our unique platform to over 30K gig workers in a total of 14 cities. Using aggregated market data, the Solo app gives these workers the tools, insights, and transparency to direct them to the right job at the right time that will pay them the most—guaranteed. If you are a gig worker working in the Chicago, Detroit, Columbus, or Indianapolis metro area download the Solo app on the Google Play Store or App Store today to see how Solo can help you start earning more today!