While we live in a land of opportunity, not everyone is enjoying the prosperity; and while unemployment remains low, wages have barely grown since the Recession. According to some experts, inflation has overall picked up more than wage growth – leaving minimum wage to be worth less than 50 years ago.
So, it’s not surprising that more and more people are turning to supplemental work, the “gig economy”, or the “side project”.
The McKinsey Global Institute surveyed about 8,000 respondents in Europe and the United States, and the resulting report, “Independent work: Choice, necessity, and the gig economy”, found that up to 162 million people, or 20 to 30 percent of the working-age population, engage in some form of independent work.
While demographically diverse, they generally fit into four segments:
- Free agents – who actively choose independent work and derive their primary income from it
- Casual earners – who use independent work for supplemental income and do so by choice
- “Reluctants” – who make their primary living from independent work but would prefer traditional jobs
- Financially strapped – who do supplemental independent work out of necessity
For many who choose to or have to hustle, the extra cash they earn can mean the difference between barely squeaking by or having money to go on vacation. It could mean paying off that $16,000 in credit card debt or building a real emergency fund with 3-6 months of expenses for the first time.
It could mean the difference between subsistence and prosperity – between earning a living and building a life.
If you already have a job – do you also have financial freedom, and if not, what if your best investment is a side project? What if you could earn more money without switching jobs or careers, without waiting for that raise?
Some people thrive on being an entrepreneur. They take an idea and make it profitable.
But the reality is, most people have no desire to become one – they just want to earn more money.
If you need extra income, here are some benefits of hustling on the side to consider:
Financial – For most people, the main reason and benefit is probably the money. Side income can help you make ends meet, pay off your debt, and save up for a down payment, a wedding, or a vacation.
Great way to protect yourself from future unknowns -Long gone are the days of working for one employer for your entire career and leaving with a great pension – earning on the side can provide some security in case of a layoff, help fill in the gap while hunting for a new job, support your family in case of something unexpected, etc.
Freedom of choice – Freelancing and side hustling could offer you a better chance to pick projects, companies, and the kind of work that appeals to you.
More freedom at current job – Receiving money from other sources in addition to your paycheck can open you up to taking more chances in your regular career. More income could mean less stress, more options, more freedom.
Less Requirements – Unlike with most jobs, to earn money on the side you don’t need lots of experience, or a degree.
Technology is on your side – What was not possible only a few years ago, is now at your fingertips: cloud computing, advanced networks, social media, etc., make working remotely and reaching a large audience across the globe a possibility.
So, unless your day job forbids you from working on the side, it could be an answer to many things – from financial freedom to exploring different industries and ways to earn an income, especially if you’re having a career crisis and are not passionate about your current job.
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