Side Gigs: Extra Cash for Daily Life

Wild Things sidecar image by Michael Fraley on-Flickr.comI covered this in November 2016, but things have changed a bit since then, so I figured an update was in order. “What’s changed?” you may ask. Let me explain.

Side gigs were almost unheard of 10 years ago. They seemingly exploded upon the scene quite recently. How did they become so popular? One explanation combines increasing bills (every monthly bill my wife and I pay jumped considerably as of January 2017), sluggish wage growth, and the saturation of everyday life by the web.

Increasing Bills

After the bills are paid, not much money is left for fun, is there? When I was in college, we scrambled for date and beer money, and not necessarily in that order. At 56, I am fortunate to have a job that is as solid as jobs get in 2017, but I am still short on money for beer as well as date night with my wife. While I appreciate annual raises, the constant price hikes for goods and services easily outpace the increase in salary.

Sluggish Wage Growth

In past economic recoveries, everyone spent more because of rising wages. This increased spending in turn further aided the recovery. What’s going on this time? Well, we are still getting over The Great Recession. Nine years of downturn hurt everyone. A lot. Huge numbers of people were let go. Businesses learned to operate in a siege mentality, as though under attack. The first thing firms generally do in these situations is lay people off. The second is to institute wage freezes.

Many people now fear asking for more money. They are reluctant to risk angering an employer with a request for a raise. Complicating the scenario  is the number of people, unemployed  during the recession, who see the economy humming along and are venturing into the labor pool once again. One factor that contributes to rising wages is a shrinking labor pool. Because the people who were sitting on the sidelines now are jumping back into the labor pool, the labor pool is NOT shrinking. If these same people are, justifiably, afraid to talk money, they often take  whatever is offered. Hence, employers face little pressure to increase wages.

The Ubiquitous Web

Lastly, we have the web, in particular, the mobile web. I rarely see anyone without a mobile phone these days, except for toddlers in strollers and perhaps the elderly. If you have a smartphone, you have access to the web. And that means you don’t need to stay at home, hanging around with your landline phone or laptop waiting for “the call.” You can search for gigs on the move. Wherever you are, I’ll bet your smartphone is in your pocket or right next to you. That means you can see opportunities as soon as they arrive in your inbox or Facebook feed. And the web is exploding with opportunities–including side gigs.

So if you’re looking for ways to earn extra cash, you’re not alone! It seems as though everyone else is, too. When someone asks, “What do you for fun,” they might be talking about your side gig, not your hobby. Sure, scams abound, so stay skeptical. Here are a few of the latest posts on side gigs, and note these articles are NOT coming from shady websites, but from established media sites such as Inc.com, Forbes, and Entrepreneur.

29 Smart Ways to Make Money on the Side in 2017

People are often not aware that their creative skills might be applied to earn pocket money. Do you enjoy painting? If so, have you considered painting murals? It surprised me, too. Yes, mural painting is a thing. And it can earn you some money if you’re good at it. In addition to murals, photography can also pay well. I like the Penny Hoarder because this website lists side gig ideas that never entered my head as tasks someone would pay for. And they have a special section featuring side gigs.

21 High-paying Side Jobs You Can Do in Your Spare Time

This Business Insider article gives a solid definition of what side gigs are. It also helpfully defines “high-paying” as at least double the federal minimum wage of $7.25. I like this explicit definition because my idea of “high-paying” might differ from yours. This piece features FlexJobs, as in who they are and what they do. Even better, it lists side gigs from FlexJobs. Yes, you do need some experience and maybe a degree for these gigs.

81 Sites To Find Side Gigs To Earn More Money Now – Forbes

This post on Forbes lists many sites you can visit for side gigs. You can rent out your car, rent out other stuff, be a dog sitter, or even a mystery shopper or an online juror. These might not fit into your chosen career path, but different strokes for different folks, as the saying goes.

50 Jobs, Gigs, and Side Hustles You Can Do From Home – Entrepreneur

This article on Entrepreneur mentions coaching, consulting, doing the Airbnb thing, tutoring, QA testing, or even research. Not every idea listed has a convenient link, so you’ll have to do some digging on your own, but check out this list. It should get your mind working on the possibilities.

Need to Make Some Extra Money? Here Are 30 Side Jobs You Can …

This post on Inc.com talks about calligraphy, running errands, and painting murals (see, I told you this was a thing), in addition to other gigs. It also has a nice introduction that explains the why of side gigs.

Have some tips or tools to share with your fellow technical communicators, information developers, and content creators? Let’s network! Drop me a note: HelpFiles@TechWhirl.com. Follow me on Twitter, connect with me on LinkedIn, circle me on Google+, or email me at craig.cardimon@gmail.com. I enjoy connecting with others in the industry.

Craig Cardimon

Craig Cardimon wears many hats and loves all of them -- technical communicator, content curator, and freelance copywriter. In his not-so-copious spare time, he reads, writes, runs on the local trail, and watches way too much "retro" TV.

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