Now might be a good time to side hustle

The last time our economy was in this type of shape I decided I could no longer rely on one source of income (e.g. my day job) and that I needed to spin up additional income opportunities through side hustle projects.

With the economy showing increased signs of an imminent recession, even Harvard professors are saying the odds are increasing, now might be a good time for many professionals to consider doing the same.

The coronavirus continues to expose financial challenges that are ahead for the U.S. economy. Not only have the financial markets seen losses stacking up into the 30% range, but just last week unemployment numbers were announced that included 70,000 more people that are without jobs. That happens to also be near a 30% dip.

Some people, including a former White House economic advisor, believe that we could see up to 2,000,000 people unemployed during this crisis.

That is a pretty scary number to consider. Some industries are going to be hit harder than others. Take the restaurant industry for example. It may be too late to hedge against layoffs in your industry. But there are other ways to protect yourself and your family.

The benefits of a side hustle

One of the best ways to protect yourself is to have a Plan B or side hustle that can provide you additional income.

When the 2008 Great Recession hit I was in one of the industries, banking, that got hit pretty hard. For the third time in my professional career I was impacted by layoffs. But that time was different than the first two layoffs because I had learned not to trust that my primary income was always going to be secure. That is why I had started a few side hustle projects.

The fact that I could lose my primary source of income at anytime is one of the reasons that I side hustle to this day. I can’t tell you the peace of mind that created back in 2008 and it continues to create over ten years later.

Having a side hustle for that long has done a lot for me professionally. First, I have learned all kinds of new skills that I didn’t have. Second, the financial rewards have allowed us to build up our emergency fund and pay off all of our debt less our mortgage.

How to quickly spin up a side hustle

If you don’t already have a Plan B source of income allow me to provide you with a few steps that can get you started.

First, sit down and evaluate the skills and experience that you bring to the table. Don’t focus on your job title or the industry that you work in. Doing so creates constraints around the types of opportunities you will see available. For example, I know a former small business banker (Jim) who realized that he was excellent at two things — coaching and sales. He now provides sales coaching services to companies and individuals.

Second, make a list of the industries that could benefit from your skills and experience. For my sales coaching friend he might focus on realtors that aren’t selling as many homes as they’d like.

Next, ask yourself my favorite question to teach people — “who do you know?”. Who do you know that can introduce you to your new target market. Maybe Jim knows a lot of mortgage loan brokers. If so, those are great people to ask for introductions to realtors. Because mortgage professionals often times know a lot of realtors.

Another place to quickly find side hustle project opportunities is through the various online freelance sites. My favorite is Upwork. Over the last five years I have been able to regularly land gigs through their service. While building up your reputation on sites like Upwork takes some time, it is still a great way to connect with other professionals who need your services.

My offer to you

I am here to help if you find yourself in need of some advice about how to start your own side business. Please feel free to reach out to me at jmp@jonathanmillspatrick if I can help in any way.

I know these are scary times. But we will get through them better together.

I’m a former C-level banking exec. and 3x startup founder leading a corporate innovation/product team and have helped companies raise over $500M in funding.