By Thor Wood, Founder of SnapShyft
I am a champion and advocate for the gig-economy and people having a side hustle or two. Every individual has unique skills or abilities or assets — time being one, that can be put to use to make money. Sometimes to great effect, where side-hustles become full time endeavors generating more than enough income to sustain one’s lifestyle or surpass income from a more traditional employment status.
Side hustles are a proven way to generate supplemental income, fairly quickly, depending on the platform or gig performed. The data suggests that both the unemployed and those that are simply trying to make ends meet are engaging in fairly-frictionless gig-type work out of necessity and this has become more prevalent the last 12 months to resolve financial obligations like rent, utilities, car payments, loans, groceries, etc.
With many gig-based activities, the allure of freedom and flexibility has been the driver of adoption for people looking to supplement their income in a streamlined way — on their own terms. The trade off being akin to a commission-only sales role in that you “eat what you kill” so-to-speak. For example if you don’t regularly login and make deliveries, provide rides, or work on-demand shifts then you aren’t establishing a consistent income stream, compared to a typical salaried position. However trading time for dollars is comparable to any hourly role in that you must put the hours in to get compensated. But of course as a gig-worker you report to yourself versus a supervisor at an hourly job in retail, foodservice, warehousing, et al. So the drawbacks of gig-work are more about having complete ownership of your work/effort and full accountability to oneself. Some people have a hard time operating in less structured environments like this, but on the whole, I recommend gig-work to most everyone.
1099 Versus W2 Status
It’s all relative, given that many salaried employees are safely working from home, but a more apples to apples comparison of hourly employees versus gig-workers, would show that these employees are much more stressed especially during the pandemic — there has been a trade-off between financial obligations and one’s health. However being your own boss means you have more control over the situation, and you can dictate your rules, controlling your comfortability: must wear a mask at all times, non-contact delivery, etc. Whereas hourly workers in foodservice, for example, are beholden to the rules and behavior of their employers, managers, and team members. The ubiquity of gig-based work stems from long-standing issues such as stagnant wages, lack of security or safety net, ridiculous healthcare costs, and growing inequality. So the stress of the aforementioned carries over as an individual jumps into becoming a gig-worker.
Options For Days
The best quick cash side hustles tend to be on two-sided marketplaces or platforms that facilitate the transaction doing the work on the back-end to make it a fairly painless and smooth experience for all parties. And there are a wide range of side hustles that offer myriad opportunities to make money. Almost anyone 18 or older with a clean driving record and background, a bank account, along with a vehicle in good operation can dive right in and start trading their time for cash making deliveries for Instacart, DoorDash, Deliverend, or Frayt, driving for Lyft and Uber, do some personal shopping and deliveries through Shipt, and for those with cargo vans or pickup trucks can charge Bird and Lime scooters when they need cash.
For those with a talent at creating physical products, Etsy is an obvious way to do e-commerce on the side. And for those with experience in the food service and hospitality arena with clean backgrounds can pick up shifts working at restaurants & bars, sporting events, festivals, live music, conventions, or catering events through SnapShyft.
Those with even base-level abilities working with data, graphic design, research, websites, video, or social media can make extra income on Fiverr. Putting your well kept property, condo, or room on AirBnB pre-pandemic was a no brainer, especially in high-cost metros, but the last year or so has shown an attraction to more localized stays within a 3 or 4 hour drive. And Wag! and Nanno are great options for those with super clean backgrounds to provide child care or pet care on-demand.
Tips For Making The Most Of The Gig-Economy
Potential side-hustlers should understand that some of the best platforms have rigid requirements that must be met in order to become approved (and stay approved) — Age minimums, background checks, references, I9 verification, sex offender registry, personality assessments, clean driving record, necessary insurance requirements, and in some cases there are physical requirements (e.g. ability to lift X lbs) and industry-specific credentials such as liquor license or food handling permit. There is minimal prep work to begin, depending on the type of side work and those that want to further up-skill can access training that gives them additional avenues to earn.
There are now platforms and banks focusing on providing a better safety net for independent contractors across the country — enabling access to benefits that fit their 1099 status like retirement plans, automatic tax withholding, health & dental insurance, and fee-free digital banking. Look into Catch Benefits and Chime Bank which is what we highly recommend to all of our SnapShyft users.
Keep your eye on the prize! You chose to participate in the gig-economy for a reason(s) — keep that front and center and put in the effort. In most cases you will get out what you put in (dependent on the gig or platform of course). It’s also a noisy world, so I recommend focusing on a handful of gig-platforms where you can leverage your skill sets or available assets (like a car) in the most efficient way. Another way to help provide a sense of security is to look at ways to add or streamline things such as tax withholdings, medical insurance, banking, retirement.
Always have your goals in mind — why are you doing this? As with freelancers or independent tradespeople over the years, gig-workers that are consistent and deliver high quality results can see their “side-hustles” overtake income from traditional employment and in some cases become a lucrative full-time endeavor. What they input has a direct correlation on the output they generate (income).
Of course over time, intrepid individuals can begin to string these platforms together and also up-skill in the process — giving them access to additional opportunities and platforms and a higher income potential.
The above also published on LinkedIn and Medium
The SNAPSHYFT Labor Marketplace is a Staffing-as-a-Service marketplace for flexible staffing in foodservice & hospitality. A frictionless way to get qualified workers in the door and working— on a short-term, seasonal, or more permanent basis. Available for iOS and Android