“Gig economy” and “freelancing” are common catch phrases these days, but for many people, it’s becoming an important secondary — sometimes primary — source of income. From recent graduates to 9-to-5 traditionalists, juggling multiple jobs has become necessary in order to live. Welcome to the life of the side hustle.
Uber, Airbnb, Foodora are just a few of the services that employ a variety of workers from different age demographics, some working these jobs while also maintaining their full-time employment elsewhere. In addition to these commonly sourced outlets, however, there are apps, forums and trading zones that also cater to those needing to barter goods or bank money, at any given time. If you’re interested in making a little extra income on the side or making your own hours, read on.
TaskRabbit allows users to get paid for doing everyday little jobs for people. Tasks like picking up someone’s dry cleaning, helping a person move or grocery shopping are all jobs available for the taking. If you’ve got a minimum of one-year experience as a cleaner or handyman (and no criminal record), AskForTask is another alternative when seeking additional income.
Those fond of animals can opt to join the U.K.-based platform Trusted Housesitters and take care of other people’s pets while getting paid to do it. Some hosts even provide housing accommodation for the worker.
Turning skills into money
Got a knack for design, fashion or creation in general? Selling items on Etsy is one way to get your goods out there and earn a small amount from each sale. To further the creative pursuit, Fiverr offers “freelance services for the lean entrepreneur” and users can find a spectrum of work ranging from drafting a promotional logo for a t-shirt to providing stock analysis to requestors, all for $5 a pop.
Think you have what it takes to be a virtual assistant? Zirtual is there to connect you to work. Hyr, which we recently highlighted, is a way for hospitality workers to find ongoing gigs in the industry. Want to be a tour guide in your city? Check out Vancouver-based ToursByLocals or pay it forward and book your own tour guide through Vayable.
Jessica Moorhouse knows the side hustle well. Since graduating with a fine arts degree in 2009, Moorhouse doubled up on jobs in order to feed herself. One of her jobs was to operate a teleprompter at a local news station, which she did this in addition to her 9-to-5.
Moorhouse also began a blog, which has since expanded to a popular podcast. She’s become a recognized speaker and adviser for millennials and their finances and recently co-founded Rich & Fit, a bootcomap to help people get smart about their health and money. She’s build her career off understanding the side hustle.
“My side hustle showed me that there was a whole new avenue I could go down that I never thought I could do before,” she says.
While she may not have been pursuing her dream as an experimental filmmaker, Moorhouse made sure to sell her skills any chance she got, making those at her then 9-to-5 job aware she could shoot or edit video if needed.
“I always say to people that they should look at their skill set and see if there is a way to monetize it,” she notes. “Almost everyone I know has a side hustle, from grant writing to PR. For me, I was always letting people know at my full-time job that I had all these additional skills that set me apart from others, so if there was a chance to make money elsewhere they’d think of me.”
The power of social networking
Another way to earn more cash is by capitalizing on social networks like Bunz Trading Zone, which helps people buy and sell goods and services among members.
“[Bunz] is a great way to make money without blasting your own personal network,” says Moorhouse. “If someone needs something, or wants help or is looking for work, they can get it through the group.” Since its launch in 2013, Bunz Trading Zone, now often referred to as the Bunz City Network, has grown from a Toronto-centric operation (although the bulk of its users still remain from Toronto or the GTA), to include networks across Canada as well as in U.S. cities like New York, Nashville and San Francisco. Of course there’s a Bunz app, too.
Paying the tax man
Having a side hustle can be helpful in acquiring more income, but reporting this income to CRA needs to be taken seriously too. Andrew Rice, senior advisor with the advice-only personal finance firm Stewart & Kett in Toronto says people need to be informed about their financial responsibilities, particularly if someone has multiple employers.
“One area that people can get tripped up on is the issue of putting aside enough money for the April tax bill,” says Rice. “If the ‘side’ employer is unaware that you have other sources of income, then they may withhold too little in tax on each paycheque. But, if notified, they can prevent any tax season surprise by withholding at an appropriate rate reflecting [your] total income. Furthermore, if the ‘side’ job is some form of self-employment, then you need the discipline to put aside funds for both the tax and CPP/EI contributions that may be due.”
Keeping up with the demands of multiple jobs is only one part of the equation. As Rice breaks it down: “if you have a full-time job as an employee paying $50,000 per year let’s say, and pick up a part time job paying $10,000 a year, then the tax on the $10,000 could be in the $3,000 range—not a nice surprise in April, right? And this could be more if your total income is higher.
Embracing the side hustle is great, but it’s not a ‘money under the table’ situation or that you can neglect the onus you owe financially, as that could get you into trouble.
However, don’t let that deter you from the world of dog walking or selling your stunning photos to Shutterstock. Who’s stopping you from participating in focus groups, modeling for art classes or becoming a fitness instructor and teaching a class or two a week? And, if you haven’t found an avenue that works for you, perhaps it’s time to create one.