Many Americans are reassessing their careers and sources of income as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, one-quarter say they are more likely to make a career change to a new field and 27% say they are more likely to start their own business, according to a recent survey of 2,006 adults by the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA).
And overwhelmingly, Americans are looking into picking up a side hustle: Nearly three-quarters, or 70%, said they are considering adding another source of income to become more financially stable. Some of the most-considered additional income sources include selling products online, offering freelance services, acquiring certifications for roles such as notary or real estate agent, and picking up a weekend job.
"I think there are a lot of benefits of adding a side hustle," says Roger Ma, a CFP and the founder of Lifelaidout in New York. Beyond just earning more money, Ma says a side hustle can be a way to "test drive new areas of interest" and "gain new skills." This could be an added bonus if you are looking to someday start a business or pivot to a new field.
Here are some of the side hustles people are considering, and how to get started.
More than a third (37%) of NAPFA survey respondents said they'd want their additional source of income to come from selling products on e-commerce sites. If your attic or closet is stuffed with items you could easily get rid of, there's likely a site where you can sell some of them. Here are a few to consider:
Before you list your items, make sure to read through the fine print. Sites take a cut of your profits to cover their fees, and you may have to cover the cost of shipping yourself.
If you're interested in expanding your e-commerce activities, that will take some investment. You'll need to look for those items, purchase them, and market your inventory. But plenty of people make a continuous stream of income this way. Matthew Fiore, for example, has grossed more than $30,000 selling LEGO online, and Aleah Mazyck has made more than $40,000 selling secondhand clothing on sites including Poshmark and Mercari.
More than a third (36%) of respondents said they'd be interested in offering freelance services. Whether you're a pro at graphic design or you can write the perfect speech, sites such as Upwork and Fiverr let you list your services and price points for potential clients to consider.
Video by Stephen Parkhurst
Freelance copywriter Stefan Georgi built a million-dollar career out of offering his services. His top tips are to create a portfolio, leverage freelancing platforms like those above, and provide potential clients with samples of your work.
Upwork also posts open freelance gigs, or you can check out sites like FlexJobs to see what part-time flexible work is being offered in your field of interest.
Although ride-sharing services like Lyft have taken a hit during the pandemic, 13% of NAPFA respondents said they'd consider driving for one as a possible side job. Before the pandemic, one ride-share driver in New York City told CNBC Make It that he earned about $250 for a full day's work.
If you're keen to pick up ride-sharing, Dr. Davis Liu, chief clinical officer of Lemonaid Health, previously told Grow he suggests following these safety precautions to mitigate your risk of contracting the coronavirus:
Additionally, "if you're driving for Uber or Lyft," says Danny Lee, a CFP and the founder of Modern Millennial Wealth, "you need to make sure you have the correct type of auto policy to cover you when you're driving, because the car is no longer for personal use." Lee suggests speaking to your insurance agent to ensure you're protected.
There are many, many ways to earn additional income these days, including some that continue bringing in passive income after some initial effort. If none of the above side hustles speaks to you, consider some of these options:
One thing to keep in mind as you dive into your side hustle: To make the most of that extra money, it's smart to treat it like a business, says Marguerita Cheng, CFP and the CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth in Maryland. "Make sure you don't spend everything you make from your side hustle, because you may need to set aside money for taxes," she says.
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