Why You Should Make This The Year of Your Side Gig


If making more money and having more freedom are on your list of goals this year, you might want to try a new job – creating your own job, that is.

Too many Americans get held back financially because they’re tied to dead-end jobs that don’t give people what they want: not enough money, not enough freedom, not enough appreciation, and certainly not enough career satisfaction.

So instead of griping about your boss, your crazy colleagues, or your mad work hours, why not consider doing something different in the New Year? Don’t just complain about a job that doesn’t suit you. Change it already!

Or at least get a side-hustle – an entrepreneurial gig that you can operate even if you want to keep your day job.

For inspiration in getting started, check out a great new book called The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life.

Written by Kimberly Palmer, the senior money editor and Alpha Consumer blogger for U.S. News & World Report, The Economy of You starts by making a fantastic case for why everyone should have a side gig.

In a nutshell, Palmer argues that, in today’s economy, you can boost your financial well-being, diversify your income streams, and do something you love — all by becoming a “side-gigger.” Those with “side gigs” typically fit into one of two categories:

  1. Those who hold down full-time jobs, and then use “side gigs” as a way to add to their income or pursue a passion; or
  2. Those whose perform one or more freelance-type jobs, using side gigs as their sole or dominant means of financial support

But in The Economy of You, Palmer wisely points out that entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone – which is why she suggests side gigs can be especially helpful for those not quite ready to quit their day jobs.

“In many ways, holding onto our main jobs as long as we can while slowly building our entrepreneurial projects give us the best of both worlds,” Palmer writes. “Despite cutbacks, our full-time jobs often still come with health insurance (and possibly disability and life insurance), a steady paycheck, opportunities to develop our skills, socialization, and a help desk.”

“Meanwhile, our side-gigs offer a chance to diversify and increase our income, pursue creative fulfillment, try our hand at running a small business, and exert more control over our work,” Palmer notes. “We get the benefits of both the corporate world and the self-employed one.”

Throughout The Economy of You, the author tackles a host of concerns that would-be entrepreneurs face.

Palmer explains how to build your personal/business brand from scratch. She tells you how to squeeze more hours into your week to have time for a side business. She provides resources and ideas for crowd-funding in order to raise cash for a product or service you want to launch. Plus, Palmer explains how to deal with failure or brush yourself off if things don’t go according to plan. And that’s just a sliver of the information you’ll find in The Economy of You.

If you know you’d like to start a business, but you’re not quite sure what it should be, review Palmer’s compilation of “The Top 50 Side Gigs.” Who knew that voice actors, disc jockeys and florists were in such demand?

And even if you already have a great idea for a side hustle (or a full-time small business), be sure to take note of Palmer’s list of “Five Common Pitfalls to Avoid,” which include over-investing in start-up costs. A brief confession: I’ve been there, and done that when I started my business back in 2003.

Despite my early mistakes – and even those I continue to make more than a decade later – I can honestly say that transitioning from employee to self-employment was the single best career decision I’ve ever made.

Maybe this will be the year you’ll make the same decision.


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