The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered many challenges for American households. Among them is widespread job losses as business shut down as part of efforts to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus.
Now, even as the working world gets back to business, workers are experiencing reduced hours and furloughs that are having a big impact on their bottom line. And that has many looking for new ways to earn money and support themselves and their families.
Even before the pandemic, people were struggling as their expenses grew, but their income didn’t. Side gigs, those extra jobs that bring in a little bit more income, have been an increasingly popular way for people to make ends meet. According to Bankrate’s Side Hustle Survey, nearly one in three people with side gigs needs the income to pay for daily living expenses.
Millennials are most likely to have a side hustle, according to the survey. Bankrate found that 48% of them have a side hustle, compared to 39% of Gen Xers and 28% of baby boomers. On average, these side hustlers are making about $1,122 a month — or more than $13,000 a year. That extra money can make a significant difference for families who are living paycheck to paycheck or trying to pay off mounting debt.
If you’re considering a side gig, here are four things to keep in mind.
Make sure it’s something you enjoy
A side gig can be any number of things — opening a shop on Etsy to sell your handmade wares to shopping for strangers at the grocery store and delivering their items via Instacart. In either case, make sure it’s something you enjoy — whether it’s coming up with new jewelry designs for your customers or helping people who can’t get out and about.
If you’re doing something that you enjoy doing, you’ll be less likely to pull out as soon as the going gets tough. And, for most side hustles, it will.
Calculate the costs
Everything comes with a cost — whether it’s extra money to buy materials or extra time away from family or your day job. Before launching that side hustle, calculate those costs.
Do you have the extra cash now to get the supplies you’ll need, or will it require you to rack up more debt? Will your side gig keep you up late into the night so you can’t focus on your day job the next day?
Before you go all in, be thoughtful about the true costs of launching a side gig and whether you can afford them. Side hustle-related debt is never a good idea. Neither is losing your day job because you keep coming in late.
Spread the word
Working with apps like Instacart or Uber won’t require you to do any marketing. The platforms can line gigs up for you. But if you’re planning your own business, you’ll need to start marketing. Word of mouth is the best — and cheapest — way to spread the word about your business. Let your friends and family know what you’re doing and offering. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram also offer up effective ways to get the word out to a broader audience. Skillshare offers some tips on how to market your side hustle on social media.
Be ready for setbacks
The right business at the right time could earn you big bucks, and you’ve probably read stories of side hustles that netted people $100,000 or more a year in income. But most people with side gigs are not earning six figures from their house painting business or Etsy shop. Remember, according to that Bankrate study, the average person with a side hustle is making about $13,000 a year.
Any small business comes with plenty of ups and downs. Very few start earning big money fast, and some will never earn much more than enough to cover grocery bills. But, especially for those living paycheck to paycheck, the effort can be worth it if they’re ready to push forward despite setbacks and make smart decisions from the beginning.
The CESI Team is committed to helping you reach your financial goals. If debt keeps you from living the life you dream of, contact us for a free debt analysis today and get started on the road to a brighter future!
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