Is It Time for a Side Gig? (hint: YES!)
Ernie Neve, CPA
June 18, 2020
One thing that stands out to me in all the news of the pandemic is how “regular” folks identified challenges or needs and then, creatively turned their solutions into profits.
Stories like this are everywhere if you look for them – the little girl who learned to sew to make masks, the furloughed teacher who monetized a YouTube channel, and literally thousands of others that have made the news because it shows how determination and a little hard work can create a LOT of extra income.
Personally, I hope it’s inspired at least a few of you – and if it has, I’d love to hear your stories about it.
But let’s look at what nearly all these “accidental entrepreneurs” did to make a side gig into a real income.
Specialized or Commodity? A common thread in many of these stories is the fact these newly-minted entrepreneurs were dealing with little or no competition. As such, commodities were in high demand. Think about it – if you can’t get it at the usual locations, what do you do? You look for it. So, while it might be hard to open the doors in “normal” times, right now, if people need it, and you can give it to them, a little marketing can pay off big time.
Don’t Quit Learning the Craft. Nobody is born a salesperson or an expert, so if you think you can take a side gig, NOT refine it or spend time developing the original idea to better meet the needs of your customers, you’re mistaken. The folks we’ve seen making big gains with side gigs are the ones who are looking to ensure their customers are taken care of. They’re making it easy to buy!
Keep Communicating. This is the logical extension of the last bullet, but yes, much of the success of any side gig has a great deal to do with communication. Finding out how your clients want to be served, sharing tips and tricks, and even surveying them to see what additional needs they need to have met all pays off – and solidifies your new reputation for when “normal” comes back.
Understand What Your Clients Are Feeling. It might seem silly, depending on your side gig, to think you need to be able to tap into your customer's emotional needs, but think about it for a second. Why did Uber do so well? I maintain it was from the personal and emotional feeling of riding with somebody, not just sitting in a cab and hoping the driver was going exactly where you wanted. Again, this goes back to “communication” and when you can create an emotional bond with your customers – and as a result, give them better service than they might have expected – your side gig can get serious, quickly.
None of this is new, mind you. Coaches and gurus in the business world have said this for years – and it’s more than likely you’ve sat through a few “training” meetings that may have tried to explain these ideas.
But there’s a world of difference in “training” and “doing,” especially when your income is on the line. The fast-food cashier might have to listen to a customer-service lesson, but folks depending on a side-gig to replace income? They’re living it.
If that’s become part of your story, then I’m excited to hear about it, and how and why you’ve succeeded. Selfishly, I’d like to learn some of the secrets you’ve learned, too.
It’s always exciting to see how creative people can become when they have to, and if you have any questions about your side-gig income and its tax obligations, simply reach out to me and my team and let’s make sure you’re set up for success!