Before the pandemic, the idea of a side hustle wasn’t that appealing to most people.
Most were satisfied with the money they made from their job. Or at least satisfied enough that additional income wasn’t more important to them than their free time. And for those who weren’t, a side hustle was often just a path to full-time entrepreneurship.
But then the pandemic revealed the reality of today’s workplace.
Simply put, there is no certainty in any job.
Literally, anyone can lose their job at any time for any number of reasons.
A side hustle equals freedom
Between lockdowns, economic uncertainty, cancel culture, and business-crushing legislation, we’ve all seen highly qualified employees lose a job. So rather than playing a game of financial Russian Roulette, more people are embracing the side hustle lifestyle.
Dr. David Phelps, author of the book, Own Your Freedom says people are starting to rethink how they structure their lives. They want flexibility and control in how and when they work, but more importantly, they want to be free of the whims of others.
Phelps made this realization when his daughter faced a health crisis several years ago.
He immediately restructured his life, giving up a lucrative but demanding dental practice and replacing it with a lifestyle that gave him near-complete freedom to live as he chose to.
Shortly after that, fellow dentists began asking how he made the changes he made in his life. This led to the creation of Freedom Founders, where he now teaches others how to achieve the freedom they want in their own lives.
Phelps explains, “Initially, I chose this path as a way to spend more time with my daughter, but I quickly realized how many people were tired of being stuck in the cycle of working themselves to death. They’re sick of that lifestyle and they crave real freedom in terms of finances, time, and choices. Empowering people to create that freedom in their own lives is my mission now.”
Since the pandemic, more people are starting to see what Phelps saw, which is driving the side hustle lifestyle. This lifestyle offers several advantages.
It can provide additional income that can be invested or spent on luxuries during good times, or support basic needs during difficult times. It can become a valuable bargaining chip in negotiations because you know you have something to fall back on. It can be a safer runway to launch a business. Or it can just be a profitable hobby.
How can you launch a side hustle?
So how does someone launch their own side hustle?
The possibilities are endless, but a good side hustle generally meets three criteria.
- It doesn’t require a huge commitment of time, energy, or resources.
- It doesn’t demand a strict schedule.
- It can be learned relatively quickly in your spare time.
Some side hustle brands you’ve probably heard of
There are some easy side hustle ideas that require nothing more than you showing up.
Uber is a perfect example of this. Drivers can choose to transport passengers from point A to point B, or they can deliver food from restaurants to customers. A driver simply has to install the app, go through screening, and start receiving gigs. The platform provides all the customers.
Offering your services as a virtual assistant is a more robust way to make some money. This one is great if you have a valuable skill, and it can lead to a freelance career or even your own business.
The services you could provide are virtually endless.
It could be just about anything that someone else may not want to or know how to do. I recently heard of a guy who was offering handstand coaching as a side hustle, and scaled it to over $500,000 per year!
And you can offer up your services on gig platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer.com, so you don’t have to work hard to find clients.
Ecommerce as a side hustle
Another approach many are taking is ecommerce. But rather than the risky approach of buying a bunch of inventory and hoping it sells, some are leveraging dropshipping.
This is where you list products from suppliers on your ecommerce website, and when someone makes a purchase, you buy the necessary products from the suppliers, which are then shipped directly to the customer.
From a customer’s perspective, they’re just making a regular purchase. But you are free of any risk because you didn’t buy any inventory until a purchase was made. And there are even tools available to streamline this process.
Zendrop is one of those tools.
It was founded by Jared Goetz as a way to make dropshipping more efficient in his own business. He stumbled into dropshipping after a string of failed businesses and finally found the success he had been looking for. From there, he quickly scaled and has continued growing ever since.
“I’m passionate about this because I know first hand the impact it can have. Dropshipping completely changed my life. But I also know the flaws in the model. Early on, I was ripped off to the tune of about $450,000 by a Chinese sourcing agent. Fortunately, I was able to absorb that loss, learn from it, and come out stronger as a result. Not everyone can absorb a loss like that, though. That’s what led me to launch Zendrop. I wanted to create a platform that made dropshipping easier and safer—especially for those who are doing this as a side hustle,” Goetz explains.
All signs indicate that path was a success.
Zendrop integrates directly with Shopify and will soon integrate with WooCommerce, which together, cover roughly fifty percent of the US market. The platform currently offers users a selection of over 500,000 products from vetted suppliers that they can list in their ecommerce stores. This allows users to get a store up and running without a web developer. And it handles everything on the backend, so all a user needs to do is market their store.
Goetz says, “I believe drop shipping is the ultimate side hustle because it eliminates the need to buy and warehouse inventory, source products, or ship orders. It also eliminates the need for technical skills or expensive web development agencies. I’ve seen so many people build successful businesses following this model.”
The role of a remote workforce
Some experts claim that businesses will return to an in-office workforce, and a few companies are demanding exactly that of their employees, but the vast majority are not.
Robert Nickell, the founder of the virtual assistant agency, Rocket Station, says he sees no sign of businesses returning to the old way of operating.
“We grew by over four hundred percent during the pandemic because of the demand for an effective remote workforce. People keep saying that’s going to change…that it’s going to reverse course. But here we are, continuing to grow at that pace nearly two years later. Other than a few big companies, most are sticking with the remote workforce model because it’s proven to be more effective and less expensive.”
With so many businesses keeping the remote workforce model, employees will have more time available because they don’t have a commute to worry about.
Bottom line—the side hustle lifestyle is here to stay.