'Do the hustle' - Side gigs take an upward tick
The “Side-Hustler” is becoming a common label for women these days. Second jobs, part-time entrepreneur, side gig… it’s all in the name of getting ahead on a dream. Side hustles have become so common, that I bet you are one of them… or at least I bet you know someone who is. More than 44 million American adults have a side hustle, according to a recent survey conducted by Bankrate. Guess who’s the leading demographic for this trend… millennials!
Of course, having a second job is nothing new. People have always found a way to get creative when they needed to make more money or if they wanted to pursue their dream job or dream business. But, thanks to the overwhelming influx of social media outlets, it is easier than ever to get a side hustle going.
But what if you’re new to this side-hustle phenomenon? How do you get started? Whether you’re a newbie or just looking to dial into the label, here’s some great ideas to get you going:
All names can mean the same:
A side hustle, known by any other name, can be just as sweet! There a lots of terms that are associated with side hustles:
Freelance work or Freelancer: Someone who sells work to clients by the hour or by the project, rather than working on a regular basis for one employer.
Contract work or Contractor: A job, work, or project assigned by contract to someone outside of a company. It could be full or part time.
Consultant: A person who provides expert, professional advice. You could be a freelance consultant, or do consulting as part of a larger firm.
Independent contractor: For tax purposes, it is someone who is self-employed and provides services that are not controlled by an employer (what and how something will be done).
No matter what you call it, a side-hustle isn’t your full-time job and in the beginning surely isn’t your sole outlet for earning an income. Although you might put as much time into your side gig as you do a full-time job, chances are it isn’t paying you the same. That’s OK! If you are only able to give it a few hours a week, that’s OK as well. The best part about a side-hustle is that it’s yours and you can make the determination on what time and effort you want to apply to it.
The side-hustle pros:
You generate extra income, on top of what you make in your day job, which can supplement goals such as paying off school loans or credit cards, saving for a home/home improvements, starting your own business, building a college fund, or paying for a long awaited trip.
You could choose to work on something you’re truly passionate about, but may not want to, have the ability, or the opportunity to pursue full time. For example, you might love a hair and makeup side gig, but there aren’t enough opportunities in your area to pursue it full time or it wouldn’t generate a steady enough stream of income for you/your family. Or a side gig can be a way to learn a new skill (one that you’re passionate about) that keeps you active and diversifies your knowledge and skill set.
And another huge upside for some side gigs is that they can be done remotely, working when and wherever is convenient for you! These side gigs satisfy your desire to pursue something different without significant conflict on other commitments, and allowing for greater flexibility.
The side-hustle cons:
Less free time. How much do you value your free time and what do you do during your free time? This is personal to everyone. If it’s binge-watching your favorite TV shows, the pros of a side gig probably outweigh this con. But if you have family commitments, a day job that requires frequent travel, or that requires many more than 40 hours a week, having less free time makes meeting the demands of a side gig impractical and potentially detrimental to family happiness or career growth.
Scheduling conflicts. Not only will you have a more hectic schedule, but you’ll also probably have, at some point, conflict between your day job and your side gig. Conflict could be direct, like when you have to turn down a side project or client because of constraints or travel for your day job. Or it could be indirect conflict, like if you stayed up late to complete a side project and you were less rested for your day job.
Taxes. Paying taxes isn’t a con, but if you don’t plan ahead, you could be hit with a shockingly big tax bill. If you’re freelancing, you’ll be expected to pay estimated quarterly taxes since you aren’t receiving paychecks with taxes withheld throughout the year. If you don’t pay your estimates, not only will you have a huge bill at the end of the year, but there will be penalties too.
No employer benefits. Most likely, your full time job offers benefits such as healthcare and retirement or pension accounts. Be aware that these won’t be available through your side gig, even if you’re working for a company. You’re basically a consultant or independent contractor with no benefits, so you’ll need to make sure you’re covered through your day job, or set them up for yourself.
The real key to side-hustle stamina… knowing your “why”
Having a side hustle can be taxing. Sure, it’s cool to go out and chase something that’s yours and yours alone, but it’s going to come at a cost. So, it’s important to know why you want to do this to begin with. So, before you get to far down the path, ask yourself these questions:
Why do I want to do this particular side-hustle?
Why do I want to do it now rather than later?
What will it mean to me when I am successful in this endeavor?
Why am I willing to pay the price for this new gig?
No matter why you want to have a side gig, knowing it and reminding yourself of it throughout the process of identifying, finding, and working your side gig will keep you focused and undeterred from the hurdles along the way.
So many choices… so much at stake:
If you think you are ready to launch a side gig, but you haven’t taken the plunge, you might be wondering how to settle on that perfect idea. Start by asking yourself, or others who know you well, these questions:
What am I good at? It could be something intangible like strong communication skills or tangible like knitting beautiful scarves.
What do people compliment me on? For example, “you’re so good with kids” or maybe family and friends always come to you with their computer/IT issues.
What am I passionate about? It could be a hobby, but it can also be an issue or idea you want to throw your whole weight behind.
What are my hobbies? Start with a list of activities you already do with your free time and then try turning them on their head. You love and are passionate about animals, but that doesn’t mean your side gig options are limited to pet sitting or dog walking. For example, animal awareness nonprofits need grant writers to support their mission.
What are my strongest skills or talents? What do you know you are great at? What have you been paid to do before?
In answering these questions, now consider how your answers can translate into a side gig; what would turning your ideas and hobbies into a side gig look like?
Do your research
Can your passion or hobby become a side gig? After you’ve answered the questions above and come up with a few side gig ideas for each, whittle down the list further by considering some practicalities. Not all of your ideas will automatically translate into a side gig. For each potential gig, look at:
Available work opportunities. Are there enough potential clients in your area that need or want what you have to offer? If you’re considering a side gig that isn’t specialized, how will you stand out from others? Does the supply of people providing that side gig exceed the demand?
Scheduling. If you want to provide a service or something that must be done in person, reliable transportation and a pool of nearby clients are a must. If you have to travel long distances to reach clients, is that practical considering travel time and expenses, or your full time job and family commitments?
Conflicts of interest. If you work for an entity and have certain inside information or knowledge, but also want a side gig that might overlap with the same clients, it’s not going to work. Pursuing your side gig would put your day job at risk. For example, grading for a professional exam and offering exam preparation assistance to people taking that exam creates a conflict of interest.