This piece was originally published on Entrepreneur.
In recent months, the media has labelled the rise of traditionally employed workers taking on part-time side work (a.k.a. "side-gigging") a trend that will likely fade with a surging economy.
However, this view has focused largely on just one particular catalyst: Uber. The truth is, side-gigging has expanded far beyond ride-sharing and will continue to grow in popularity. It’s a natural evolution of the workforce in a changing economy. Like the pioneers of the labor movement in the early 20th century, people want to take charge of their working lives and not be dictated by corporate rule.
All signs also point to the likelihood that this workforce will continue to grow. According to a recent study by my company, Invoice2go, 94 percent of side-giggers surveyed said they wouldn’t choose their freelance work to focus solely on a traditional career. Millennials in particular are embracing more flexible ways of working: The Freelancers Union reports that 38 percent of this age group are taking on freelance work, compared to 32 percent of the rest of the workforce.
Whether you are a budding entrepreneur building a new future for yourself, or an established business owner who could benefit from hiring outside help, here are five facts about side-gigging to keep in mind.
1. Side-gigging is fruitful.
In today’s world, independent workers aren’t capped in terms of their earning potential. That potential extends as far as talent and time allow. With the help of social media, networking now takes place on a global scale; and with online marketplaces like Upwork and 99designs, work opportunities can come from anywhere and everywhere.
In a survey 54 percent of side-giggers using Invoice2go said they believed they could make more money through side jobs than through traditional 9-to-5 employment.
2. Work-life balance has become a reality.
The very nature of the Internet and mobile technology allows the pursuit of a side job beyond business hours. While this may mean working longer hours in the early days to get your side gig up and running, you’ll be working toward truly becoming the boss of your own schedule. If you need a short break or a long hiatus, you can take it whenever you want.
3. Side-gigging is backed by mobile technology.
The adoption of smartphones around the world means opportunity has come to the forefront for anyone who wants it. Where previously it would be inconceivable for an independent worker to access all the technology needed to run a business, apps are now bringing powerful software to everyone.
Side-giggers are turning to various apps to bill customers, track expenses and get paid. Evernote offers highly intuitive note-taking and organizational tools for the worker juggling multiple gigs. Shake makes it possible to create, sign and send legally binding documents from a mobile device.
4. Side-giggers have a positive outlook.
"Do what you love" is a mantra that’s easier said than done, but 30 percent of side-giggers report they are indeed working to pursue their passion. Financial responsibilities can make this goal difficult, but a side gig can help bridge the gap between doing what you love and doing what pays the bills. A whopping 93 percent of side-giggers say they're optimistic about their future career path.
5. There's no turning back.
Today’s workforce isn’t content with the 9-to-5 grind, and many are turning their side-gigs into full-time careers. Forty-seven percent of side-giggers are working to build their side job into a main source of income. Whether or not that is your goal, it certainly has its benefits.
“Side hustles give us creative satisfaction,” says Kimberly Palmer, author of The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life. “It’s thrilling to know that something you create or a skill you have is valuable enough that someone else is willing to pay for it.”
An added benefit, in today’s ever-changing economy, as Palmer points out, is that it's possible to recession-proof your life through the safety net of a side job.
Like it or not, this isn’t our parents’ world anymore. Members of the up-and-coming millenial generation want to have more control and flexibility over their working environment. It still takes a lot of time and energy to grow an idea into a sustainable business, especially while holding down a traditional job and raising a family.
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With the growth of side-gigging made easier by technology, we now have more opportunities to turn our dreams into reality and create more economic strength, which is something we can all get behind.