By Chinwe Onyeagoro
Today’s economy allows for more flexibility than ever before in how and where we work. It’s the perfect time for anyone who loves their freedom and has a passion to develop a side hustle that can bring in extra income. Working on our own terms is within reach, thanks to continuous improvements in mobile technology. Entrepreneurs with a side gig need to stay connected at all times. Their mobile phones are how they achieve that real time connection. Mobile productivity apps are powering their “virtual office”.
While current technology makes this change possible, what’s helping the “nine to five crowd” pursue their dream of running a business.
What’s the gigster’s secret?
Finally, interests are aligned! Employers are hiring workers who can scale up or down their time based on demand. And workers are reclaiming their independence by getting involved in a variety of income generating activities outside of their standard work week. It’s a perfect storm of opportunity for anyone who has the dream of “being their own boss” to do something they love with this new found freedom.
Aside from the shifts in employment practices, the side-gig economy is supported by lots of productivity tools. The easier it is to juggle different tasks from wherever you are, the more people have an opportunity to do it. The first thing that help gigsters thrive is the ability to automate repetitive tasks. There are only 8 to 12 hours in a workday. A typical independent professional can spend 2 to 4 hours a day on returning phone calls, doing marketing, billing clients, and managing their calendar. These are all important parts of generating extra income, but they are huge time sucks.
Gigsters have figured out ways to automate their admin work and save as much as twenty five percent of their discretionary time. As an example, Gmail’s suggested responses can speed up your ability to respond to the mountain of messages in your inbox, and tools like this will continue to become more advanced in the future.
Smartphones are constantly improving in power and capabilities with more productivity tools being developed every day. A second important trend is that it’s no longer seen as uncool or unprofessional to be doing business from a cell phone while on-the-go. The rise of the remote worker diminishes the perceived need for most services to be marketed, sold, and delivered locally.
Anyone with talent and a track record who can get your attention is fair game to do business with. We recognize that we can work from anywhere and get things done. We’re no longer waiting until we get back to an office or get home to follow up on work, we are taking care of business while in the field or in between sessions with clients. So when we do get home, we can actually set work aside – if we like.
The third factor driving the shift to an economy of side gigs is rooted in the millennial mentality that our work doesn’t define us. We’re not living to work, but we’re working to live. It’s a combination of what we do, where we choose to do it, and who we are working with along the way. Entrepreneurs are redefining traditional notions of work-life balance by embracing work-life flexibility, taking on the work they feel comfortable doing anytime, anywhere, with anyone. As a society, we are beginning to recognize that happiness among workers actually results in greater productivity and typically is achieved when one isn’t stuck in an office eight hours a day.
Succeeding at the side hustle
Half of us are going to be living the dream of earning multiple streams of income by 2030 – whether we’re working a few part-time jobs or just engaging in a side hustle. How are people making it work right now? The key is that we have to be able to get work done as effectively as if we were in an office behind a desk. For anyone looking to make this happen, great productivity tools are essential. They need to set you up for the three C’s of side hustle success.
A side hustle can only work if you can make money, of course. And because most jobs don’t deliver a regular paycheck with direct deposit, you have to be good at billing and collecting payments. Whether you’re a therapist, graphic designer, dog trainer, or a fitness coach you need to be able to collect payments quickly and conveniently on your phone. You don’t want to carry cash around with you, and you want to get paid as soon as possible. When clients can pay with just a couple taps on their phone they tend to pay faster and enjoy their experience working with you more.
Collaborating with teams
In the on demand world, you might be collaborating with other independent professionals as part of a larger project and you need to let others know when you are free to work on tasks that come up without delay. You need an easy way to share your schedule with others to maximize your opportunity to get booked on more jobs. Look for a solution with good transparency on your availability.
One challenge of working wherever and whenever is effectively communicating with others. This has been one of the greatest hurdles of doing work when you aren’t at your desk and your client interactions are not always in person. You should invest in a solution that makes it easy to message your clients and team. That will help you get the answers you need to be even more effective. Faster communication dramatically improves your ability to do more and earn more.
By ensuring that you have the tools to make a side hustle work, the word will spread about how easy and delightful it is to work with you. As the employment landscape continues to evolve, you will be prepared to meet any challenge. If you’ve ever considered making extra money from a hobby, there’s never been a better time to try it.
Chinwe Onyeagoro is the CEO of PocketSuite where she is responsible for strategy, customer success and growth. She served as president of Great Place to Work, and previously worked for McKinsey & Company, The Monitor Group and Pritzker Realty Group (under former Secretary of Commerce).