Since the first lockdown in March, the coronavirus has cost hundreds of thousands of people their jobs in the UK alone. All over the world, unemployment has risen, especially in industries that depend on social contacts. This alarming situation makes a lot of people realize that their 9 to 5 job is not 100% secure. And relying on it is definitely not enough.
That pandemic took us all by surprise. Even though we were aware of the situation in China, for some reason, in the West, there was a general belief that it won’t affect us – like SARS, like Ebola.
However, things changed dramatically when the virus ‘reached’ the occidental world. All of a sudden, people who had jobs for years, worked in offices, pubs, shops or whatever kind of venues every day or night, found themselves at home. Many were left in a deep crisis not knowing how they would pay their next bills. The lucky ones got furlough payments, but no one knew how long the situation would take and how long the government would be prepared to provide a degree of support.
Our basic needs that we thought are covered sufficiently resurfaced as a potential question mark reminding us that nothing can be taken for granted. Without a job, you might not be able to pay for your rent or mortgage, you might not have enough to eat and without a roof under your head, you might not be able to find another job.
There is government support for people who are in an emergency situation, but as it looks universal credit is by far not universal enough. And while many people are aware that government support wouldn’t be the solution, they also realise that they have one very weakness: With the reliance on their jobs and specialised qualifications, they realise that if they lose their job, there might be no other job for their specialised qualification profile available, because of a situation like a pandemic, an economic sectoral change, technological change or maybe because of their age.
If you are in employment, maybe it is time to think of some backup in case things go downhill for whatever reason.
In this article, we will first explore what the benefits are of having a side gig. Then, we will provide a few ideas of gigs you can do while still in employment.
What Are The Advantages Of Having A Side Gig?
The gig economy is booming, even before this pandemic, many people have already embarked on this journey and use these jobs as their main source of income. It is estimated that in the UK, five million people are employed in this type of job.
Before going further, I just want to clarify that I am not advising you to leave your current job but I rather encourage anyone to have a supplement of income. As you might have heard, many freelancers were actually rather ignored in the initial support packages by the government.
So, why despite this, am I advising you to see the gig economy as a potential opportunity?
As already mentioned above, things can change at any time. Besides, job stability as our parents knew it seems to have changed a lot for the past decades. So, doing something in addition to your day job can have a lot of advantages. In the following, here are a few reasons to consider:
- Paying back your debt: Some gigs are so well remunerated that some spare time freelancers bring home £1000 to £5000 every month. Remember that is added to your primary salary. If you have some credit to reimburse such as school fees, mortgage, or paying off credit cards, this supplement can really help you out. Having said this, in principle your lifestyle should be at the level of your regular employment income given the uncertainty surrounding the gig market.
- Enjoying life more: Currently, as we are facing a second lockdown, there is not so much we can do right now. Hopefully, this situation won’t last forever. When life will be back as it used to be, earning any extra income enables you to enjoy life more. You can go out more often and meet friends. With more money, you can buy whatever you want or travel the world again. Having said this, you will also need to spend more time looking for gigs and doing the jobs actually.
- It’s empowering: When you work as an ‘independent’ or a contractor, and you start generating money from your own effort and skills, you feel very proud of yourself. It’s empowering as you realise that you have economic value outside your day job from your employer. Having said this, this is when you have established yourself in the gig market and could even imagine earning a living there.
The main reason for doing this, however, should be to establish a potential alternative route in the event that your main income source evaporates. In the beginning, it would be rather an exploration. It would be about learning to be competitive in this market, understanding the market, and while you’re having in the background a regular income you would still have a choice whether to take gigs or not.
What Type Of Side Gig Can You Do?
Finding time to work on a side gig requires time. You also need courage because after a long day from work, when arriving home, all you feel you want to do is just to relax. This is where you must be strong enough to still work on side projects. I guess determination and discipline must be added to the list of skill sets while starting any side gig.
Below is a small list of side gigs you can do in your spare time. Note that the list is much more exhaustive than this.
- Photography: You might have seen this suggestion a lot, but the side gig doesn’t have to be something very fancy. It is easier to go for something you like and passionate about so that it won’t feel like a burden. So, for instance, you might love taking pictures and if you already have a big collection of images stored in the hard drive of your computer, why not sell them to some stock pictures websites such as Istockphoto, Dreamstime, etc.. However, please be aware that the competition is high and in order to be able to earn a decent income, you need to be able to stand out.
- Write a blog: When I ask people who have a hobby if they have ever thought of starting a blog, they always look surprised. I am not saying that everybody who has a hobby should have a blog. But if you need extra money and you are exceptionally good at something why not share your passion with others? There are different ways to monetize your blog, but the most common ways are ads and affiliate products where you get a percentage of each sale. If you have a niche hobby, the prospects are actually quite good to create something where you can set up a follower base relatively quickly. The question would be how big this follower base is.
- Freelancing: You might have talent as a writer or graphic designer. Whatever you are good at, there are so many gigs out there where you can use your skills. You don’t have to worry about finding clients, there are platforms like Upwork, Bark, Fiverr, PeopleperHours where you can create an account and start working relatively quickly. However, beware that the competition is extremely high. The most challenging is to get your first gig.
- Dropshipping: It is very popular and yet not so many people know so much about this business model. Dropshipping allows you to have an online shop without stocking any products at home or elsewhere. The suppliers directly send the products to your customers who have made the purchase from your website. If you want to build an e-commerce site, Give me a shout via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to help.
- Start a Youtube Channel: Most of you have heard about this. There are amazing stories of people creating a community as influencers and earning a lot of money. If you are comfortable presenting yourself, this could be your option. However, many of you have also heard that Youtube is saturated. Do you know that in 2019, according to Statista, more than 500 hours of video were uploaded to YouTube every minute? And the report continues saying the platform had 2 billion logged-in monthly viewers. As you can see, there is enough market share for everyone. Similar to blogs, if you have a good niche and you are willing to invest a bit of your time to grow your channel, there’s a prospect of success. There are more and more people who make a substantial living from their Youtube channel.
Finally, even though there’s hope that the pandemic will be under control next year, the economic consequences will be felt long thereafter. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to look into starting a side career in the gig economy to earn extra money – and who knows, you might even be the one who decides to quit your job to move on.
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