By the end of 2020, roughly one in three full-time American workers took a pay cut due to the pandemic, says Magnify Money. That left millions scrambling to determine how they could make extra income to make ends meet. Of course, the nature of the pandemic meant many working Americans didn’t want to go into a physical location to work, or couldn’t due to preexisting health conditions, making work from home jobs more in-demand than ever. In fact, Upwork reported that nearly 2 million Americans took to freelance work for the first time throughout 2020.
By no coincidence at all, one in three working Americans took pay cuts in the pandemic and Zapier reports that not long after, one in three Americans had a side hustle. Now that things have slightly settled and many children are back in school, parents want in on the side hustle game. Parents are looking for new ways to work part-time hours. Many moms and dads can’t quite yet return to full-time work as they do need to be home for their kids part of the day, but they are in search of side hustles that pay well and perhaps allow for telecommuting. That balance lets them be there for family life, while still paying for said family life. For a little advice on having a side hustle at home while parenting, MADAMENOIRE spoke to Candace Spears, CEO of Floor23 Digital. Spears loves to help parents through the journey of balancing side hustles, parenthood, marriage and more.
MADAMENOIRE: What are good side hustles a parent can do from home?
Candace Spears: These days, in the virtual and Internet-connected world we live in, almost everything can be done from home as a side hustle. The key starting point is to first answer the question, “Why the side hustle?” Is it simply to make extra cash, or is it to begin pursuit of a more purposeful working life, or perhaps even something else? The answer shapes what you choose to embark on. If it’s simply a cash play, figure out what you’re good at. If it’s the creation of a certain type of service, consider signing up for an account on a site like Upwork or Fiverr and selling your service or responding to people who need your service. If it’s the creation of a product, grab the supplies to create your product or mockup of your product and sell them on sites like Etsy. Whatever you do, begin to let the world know you’re open for business.
What should parents consider when taking on a side hustle?
From a parent perspective, depending on the age of your child, you may need more or less flexibility in what you choose. Parents of younger children should look for things that allow for full flexibility. In other words, working a side hustle that doesn’t require you to be chained to a computer for a fixed period of time. Young children can be unpredictable, so flexibility is critical. For parents with older children, from about 1st grade on up, there’s more independence [and] less of a likelihood that you’ll have to drop everything to take care of something for them, and you can be more intentional with dividing up your day into segments: For example…Day job time 9 to 5, dinner and homework 5:30 to 7, side hustle focus 7-8:30, self and partner time 8:30 until…
Are there ways kids can get involved in the side hustle so they can also learn and contribute to the household while spending time with their parent?
Kids can get involved in the side hustle in many ways. It’ll be up to you to carve out small items, and, depending on the age of your kids, very simple things for them to do. For example, of my own kids I’d give them tasks such as stapling paper piles I put together, or scanning documents on the phone….that’s something my seven-year-old at the time would do. At this point in time, my 11-year-old helps with certain data entry, or even design work, as that’s something she enjoys. If your kids are younger, consider where you may be able to use their voice or image as part of your marketing content where relevant. For example, my kids would have appearances on a podcast episode and in pictures on social media, but the story behind would be weaved into a narrative that supported the business. Carve out simple tasks when they’re younger, lean into areas of interest as they get older and intentionally delegate and pay them to do it. There’s a lot of opportunity there.
What are some unrealistic expectations people have when taking on a side hustle?
That it won’t take up much time. The starting of any business has a level of time commitment attached to it, to get it traction. So thinking that it’ll just be something that doesn’t take much time, then acting that way, is one area where a side hustle could crash and burn. If the side hustle is successful, [there is] the unrealistic expectation that if they, “Weren’t working a [additional] job” that they would instantly be making more money. While that has an element of truth to it, there’s also typically no recognition that as you prepare to grow, there’s a new level of work required or things necessary to get there. For example, if one had a jewelry business as a side hustle, and was ready to focus on it full-time, considering how to handle a larger volume of orders, storage space for inventory, working capital for inventory, additional staff, more marketing, etc. These are simply the forgotten factors beyond more time that go into increasing the side hustle to main hustle success.
What are some good ways to get the word out there about a side hustle, or find customers/clients?
Start talking about what you do on social media. And take it a step further; talk about it consistently. Determine a monthly content plan for what you’ll post, how it ties back to your side hustle and something you may be offering free or paid, then execute. Another way is to get out there and network. Go hang out in the places where your potential customers are. If you’re making something to sell to fitness enthusiasts, find the next meet-up for people who love to be in the gym, or a networking meeting or conference for fitness professionals. Be visible. Be vocal. Be valuable. Be noticed.
Any tips on managing expenses associated with side hustles? Anything to be aware of?
Spend only on what is necessary to support you getting dollars in the door. Where you can, pre-sell your items, services or products before you’ve fully invested a lot of time into creating them. That way you don’t waste time or money on something no one wants to buy. Additionally, treat your side hustle like a legit business. Create it legally, open a legal bank account for it, separate your expenses from personal, and keep track of everything so that you can take the tax advantages of deductions for some of those expenses as a business at tax time.