Growing wealth with a side gig
85% of US workers have a side-gig¹ and the trend also catching on here.
Increasingly we are taking a ‘portfolio’ approach to our income; deriving it from several sources.
Why are side-gigs becoming more popular?
Side-gigs are booming because they:
Enable people to earn extra income to build equity, reduce debt or live more comfortably.
Establish income streams that can grow and open up options for the future, such as earning enough to leave a day job.
Allow people to test their business ideas; learning what works and what doesn’t on a small scale in a low-risk way.
Technology is the catalyst
Significant recent advances in technology have brought side-gigs into easy reach for many people. On-demand sharing economy platforms provide simple ways to set up a side-gig because the platform provides the technology, administration, payments and sometimes the marketing. Technology also provides access to global market places.
There are over 150 platforms to choose from that operate in Australia spanning industries such as:
Food and hospitality, Training, Art and design, Technology, Transport, Entertainment, Health and wellbeing, Pet care, Professional and employment services.
Four questions for coming up with your side-gig:
Do you have assets that you can share?
Do you have spare time?
Do you have skills, such as professional, trade or technical skills?
Are you creative?
Once you have identified your capabilities, then find a platform to monetise them.
Case study 1 - Marie
Marie decided to set up a side-gig and listed her assets, skills and abilities. Marie is aware that she is a compelling and creative communicator; in her day job Marie teaches people a range of skills including how to negotiate. She wanted to monetise her skills in the form of a side-gig that would enable her to:
Explore and road-test content, format, target market and other elements of her business to determine what would be the most lucrative before scaling up.
Establish a growing, passive income stream.
As a starting point, Marie decided to test two face-to-face courses on Saturday afternoons. The first was called ‘Negotiation skills for life and business’ and the second used a skill and passion from her personal life; ‘Understanding what your dog is telling you’.
She listed the courses on the platform We Teach Me, which takes care of the bookings, admin, payments and some of the marketing for a 20 percent fee.
After testing and refining her courses over a several months, she found that the ‘Understanding what your dog is telling you’ had a much larger market and latitude for fun and creative delivery. Over time she collected email addresses and built up a Facebook community where dog owners shared their stories and she was becoming known as expert.
The face-to-face course generated about $40 per student after expenses. She decided to scale.
Marie translated the content from her face-to face course to video and sold it on Udemy, which is a global online platform. This exposed Marie to a market of 20 million paying students. Udemy host, market and collect payment for Marie’s course in return for between a 3 to 50 percent fee depending on how the student is sourced. Marie used her Facebook community and email list to promote her course. Over a year Marie’s passive income stream from Udemy grew to $5,000 per month.
Marie then established a business plan for the future of her side-gig that included:
a second Udemy course on ‘Difficult dog behaviour’
packaging her existing content into various formats such as books, e-books, You Tube videos and podcasts to monetise
developing products to sooth anxious dogs and selling them online. She now had an audience of dog owners who are keen to spend money on their ‘fur babies’.
Marie’s side-gig currently sits alongside her day job without any conflicts. Her plan for the future is to further dial up her business and dial down her hours at work.
Case study 2 - Vince
Vince set a goal to pay an extra $600 per month off his mortgage. He reflected on his opportunities and noted that his house is very well located near the station, offices, shops, restaurants and schools in an area with a high demand for parking. Many of the people living in apartments around him don’t have on-site parking for their car.
Vince decided to designate three parking spaces on his property; one long-term and two short-term which are rented by the hour or part-day. He earns $250 per month for the long-term spot and up to $25 per day for the short-term spots, which he manages from an app on his mobile phone. Some days, such as when he has friends over, he stops short-term parking on his property.
The parking platform provides the mobile phone app and processes the payments to Vince’s bank account which means that Vince has very little to do except put the money he earns on his mortgage.
If you want to start a side-gig, the most important thing is to make a plan and get started because you can test and learn as you go. If you think that there are obstacles in your way, it is only by getting started that you will overcome them.
You can now find almost any help that you need to set up your side-gig.
Are you looking for someone to manufacture your product idea for you in China? No problem, there are brokers who can source and manage suppliers for you.
Do you need someone to develop your mobile phone app cost effectively? Easy. There are businesses that will give you options for low cost app development.
Hardly ever in the same location? Your customers need never know. This is the age of the digital nomad where businesses can be location-independent.
Worried about what your employer may think? Today employers are increasingly comfortable with their employees’ side-gigs. Having a side-gig will develop your technology skills, your business nous and give you a creative outlet which in turn can increase your contentment at work. Certainly having an open conversation with your employer can help resolve any fears.
At IncomeConnection, we help people explore their side-gig options, help them get started and turn them into successful businesses. If you’d like a chat, arrange a phone call with me here.
Melinda Livingstone is the founder of IncomeConnection: matching people seeking an income with opportunities to earn an income from the growing on-demand sharing economy and setting them up for success. She writes and speaks on the on-demand sharing economy and the opportunities it provides.