Difference between side hustle and side gig
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The Difference Between a Side Hustle and a Side Gig

Have you ever met someone who didn’t want to earn extra bucks? I haven’t! But the way that someone makes money from a side job (hustle or gig) can vary a lot depending on the person.

Some people like the high-risk and high reward of starting and running their own business, while others like the low-risk and reliability of a second job. No matter what your preference, there is a difference between a side hustle and a side gig.

Queue the rise of the gig economy, a labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts OR freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs. And many easy second side jobs that can supplement your income from your day job.

A side job has two categories: the side hustle and the side gig. Both let you earn extra money, but knowing the difference between the two will help you choose which side job fits you best.

Side Hustle vs Side Gig

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Definition of a side hustle
Definition of a side hustle

The Side Hustle Definition

A side hustle is a side job that usually involves something that you are passionate about, and you usually work for yourself as a freelancer or in your own company or brand.

Maddie is an example; she works in a bank during the day, but is instead passionate about scriptwriting. As a senior bank executive, she can hardly find time to enjoy her passion. When she sold her first script and got noticed for her brilliant work, she started accepting scriptwriting jobs on the side as a side hustle.

Maddie has not given up her regular job, and continues to write scripts as a side hustle and working for herself in that area. She’s gone on to the big leagues by writing movie scripts too. Now she gets to enjoy her passion and earn from it while still keeping her day job.

So, a side hustle is:

  • Self-employed or you work as a contractor
  • Usually you still have a primary full-time job
  • Paid directly by the customer or client

The Side Gig Definition

A side gig is second (or third or fourth) job or work you get paid for doing—but you don’t have to be passionate about it. It’s just another job and you work for and get paid by another employer.

You just happen to know how to do the work, or can learn how to do the work or have the time to do the work. Most of the time, you are willing to do the side gig (job) because you need the extra cash.

One great example of a side gig is being a virtual assistant who does a lot of administrative work for a client. Her work is not exactly creative but it is important, e.g. making appointments, scheduling meetings, managing email accounts. Virtual assistants do not have to be passionate about their work, but they do recognize it provides extra cash.

Another example of a side gig is a laborer. You might get a side job working for a landscaping company to mow lawns or, clean houses, etc. But you work for someone else and get paid by the employer and not the customer.

So, a side gig is:

  • Hired by a second employer
  • Usually you still have a primary full-time job

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The Benefits of a Side Hustle

Mark Twain said, “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never work a day in your life.” 

While many of us are not fortunate enough to find that dream job, side hustling allows us to pursue our passion—on the side and try to earn money.

More than the extra cash—which is a significant benefit—the personal fulfillment of side hustles gives more meaning and enjoyment at what we do. Remember that personal fulfillment is not something we always get from prescribed job titles and office blocks.

Here are some of the benefits of side hustles: 

1. Multiple Sources of Income

You can accept side hustle jobs from many clients. They each can become sources of extra cash. For example, what may start out as a passion project like podcasting can become a side hustle that pays more than $10,000 a month. 🤯

2. Expand Your Network

When you side hustle, you get introduced to---and eventually work with---people who you wouldn’t have the opportunity to work with in your regular day job. You’d be surprised at how word-of-mouth works—referrals that come from unexpected contacts, especially if you did a great job on your side hustle!

3. Contingency Plan

Economic or personal crises throw everyone off, except those who have been doing some side hustles. Check which business ideas are emerging out of this crisis. Many of them have to do with health and food delivery.

4. Opportunity to Make Your Side Hustle Full-time

Because you’re doing what you love, a side hustle can lead to something big. For inspiration, here are five entrepreneurs who went full-time with their side hustles. Some of them turned their initial writing and design side hustles into high-paying sources of income. 

5. Develop Your Entrepreneurial Skills

You learn how to manage your resources and time; you become creative in setting up systems and tools your side hustle will need; and, you tap various resources from your network.

6. Expenses Count as Tax Deductions

Costs related to operating your own side hustle (side business) can be deducted from revenue and lower your taxable liability. Costs such as computer equipment, home office space, education, materials, etc. can be counted as expenses. Even if you don't have a legal entity in your name, you can still deduct the cost of running your own business in your own name as "unreimbursed business expenses".

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The Benefits of a Side Gig

Because side gigs aren’t driven by passion but the necessity to earn extra income, the benefits of a side gig are far more direct—you get paid after doing a one-time job or get paid with each gig you do. However, the standard benefit for both a side hustle and a side gig is that you earn extra cash.

Here are some of the benefits of doing side gigs: 

1.    Multiple Sources of Income

If you take on projects that capitalize on your skill set, you can earn from them separately. For example, Andie is a court reporter (sometimes referred to as a stenographer). But she does three gigs online: a typist, a data encoder, and a transcriptionist.

2.    Sharpen Your Skills

Side gigs enhance your skill set, giving you many options down the line. One thing is clear, though. Sharpening your skills can improve your prospects of earning a promotion, bonus, or a raise.

3.    Flexible Schedule

Many side gigs provide flexibility in schedule. A lot of them are productivity driven too. So work on your side gigs during your spare time and find out which common flexible side jobs you might want to consider as a source of extra income.

4.    A Sense of Security.

Side gigs give you that sense of financial security just in case you lose your primary source of income. I know of a part-time rideshare driver who was laid off from his office work and went full-time in ridesharing. Of course, this was a calculated move on his part since he’s servicing California and saw a great opportunity.

5.    New Opportunities

Side gigs are nearly guaranteed to create unforeseen and exciting opportunities that don’t come your way in the confines of an office.

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Side Hustle Idea Examples

A side hustle isn’t just a money maker. It is a passion, first and foremost. So here are some side hustle ideas that might fit your passion which can eventually turn into something profitable in the long run. 

1.    Event Planning

Everyone loves events but hates planning them. And if planning is your passion, this is where you and your skills come in. The beauty of this side hustle is that it can work on your schedule, especially if you want to just do it on weekends.

Event planning also pays handsomely, depending on the magnitude of the occasion. The key here is to find the kind of events you want to plan. Many event planners love to do weddings--which usually happens on the weekends. Others love to organize product launches. 

2.    Writing

If you’re good at writing, you open yourself to many side hustling opportunities like blogging, copywriting, editing, etc. The list goes on. Many businesses engage the services of writers on a per article or a per-project basis, making it a side hustle that’s beneficial for both parties.

And why not write a book? Many digital platforms encourage writers to come up with stories and get paid for it!

3.    Cooking/Baking

Many people have a passion for cooking. But not all of them are adventurous enough to make a business or side hustle out of it. Side hustle ideas if you love cooking or baking include the following: catering business, selling your goods online, personal chef home business,  etc.

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Side Gig Idea Examples

Check out some of the side gig ideas that might fit your interests:

1.    Ridesharing

The go-to gig everyone gets into because it’s a gig you do based on your schedule.

2.    Pet Sitting

Perils aside (remember Lady Gaga’s dog sitter?), this is one of the easiest gigs around, especially if you love pets!

3.    Consulting

As a creative marketing guy for decades, I have built my livelihood around marketing and advertising campaign ideation. Various companies have hired me on a consulting basis as their subject matter expert.

There are many consulting opportunities in the following business areas: information technology, software and app development, marketing and sales, customer support, and other business areas.

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The Best Side Hustles

The balancesmallbusiness.com came up with a list of the best side hustles for 2021 based on the independent research done by its editors. Here are some of the best side hustle jobs for 2021: 

  •       Online Creative Services that include graphic design, digital marketing, writing, video editing, music and audio production, programming, and business projects
  •         Companion or Care Services such as babysitting or pet sitting. 
  •         Personal Assistance Services include rendering popular services such as cleaning, errands, event planning, furniture assembly, home repairs, shopping, and more! Rates start at $25 per hour.
  •         Virtual Assistance is a great hustle to get into as many online business owners care about the output. So long as you can deliver, you’re fine. An average virtual assistant earns $15+ an hour.

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Side Hustle Considerations

Valuewalk.com has summed up what you need to consider when making a career out of your side hustles:

  •         Is it a business or a hobby? Both have tax deductions that can save you some cash. It’s a matter of knowing how to file for it.
  •         Always factor in the taxes. Side hustles are income, and taxes apply to all income. So report and file them accordingly.
  •         Know the laws. There are many regional laws and unique legal considerations specific to you and your side hustles.
  •         Never use your day job’s resources. Aside from being unethical, you are putting your career at risk.
  •         Check your contract. Many day jobs prohibit or have some restrictions on side hustles. 

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The Best Side Gigs

Do not forget that side gigs are not passion projects. It’s just an easy way to earn extra. Here are some of the best side gig jobs for 2021 according to lifeandbudget.com:

  •         Freelance writing
  •         Freelance proofreading
  •         Transcription
  •         Becoming a virtual assistant: VAs are very in-demand nowadays. Why not check out what kind of virtual assistance you can provide for those willing to pay for it?
  •         Becoming a personal shopper: a simple scheme where you do grocery shopping for others and earn from it.
  •         Food delivery service

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Side Gig Considerations

Heed the words of Career Adviser Owen McGab Enaohwo in myperfectresume.com:

Consider what skills you’d monetize as a gig. To reiterate, if you’re skilled at accounting, why not do some bookkeeping gigs?

Consider the time and effort. Because you have a day job, how much time and effort can you devote to accepting side gigs?  

Consider the pay vs the effort. Always check if the pay you’re getting from the side gig is commensurate to your effort

Consider loving the gig itself. While it’s not a passion thing, the gig speaks for your skills as someone who’s capitalizing on it. Do it well, learn to love it, and the gig will love you back with its monetary rewards.

Consider your passion. While gigs are usually one-offs, why not look out for gigs that will feed your passion? Gigs don’t have to be routine tasks.

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Apps to Help You on Your Gigs or Hustles 

Parade lists 25 side job apps that can help you get the best side gigs and best side hustles and earn on the side. Here are eight of them:

  1.   Swagbucks. Earn gift cards and cash when you watch videos, surf the web, and take surveys.
  2.   Toot. Tutoring students can be rewarding with Toot.
  3.   eBay. Who doesn’t know eBay? As a comic book collector, I’ve used this platform to buy some rare comics and then sell some of my comic books at a profit. I even have them auctioned on the platform.
  4.   Instacart. Choose from being just an in-store shopper or a full-service shopper that delivers groceries. Just click the Android or iOS link to download the app to your phone.
  5.   Handy. Are you a skilled handyman? Sign up with Handy and get paid for doing handyman work, home improvement projects, cleaning, and more.
  6.   Uber or Lyft. Much has been said about these ridesharing apps.  I am sure you know what it does.
  7.   Rover. The side hustle app for petsitters.
  8.   DoorDash. Got the vehicle to deliver food? Then the doors to earning extra are open!

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Starting a Side Hustle

The idea is to keep your day job while establishing your side hustling business. Here are some pointers to start side hustles. For a comprehensive rundown, check the balancesmall business.

1.    Prepare For The Long Haul

As mentioned a lot of times in this article, a side hustle has something to do with your passion. There are sacrifices to make, systems, and routines to develop and implement for your passion project to succeed. If you’re willing to do this, then you’re on your way to having a successful side hustling business.

2.    Identify Your Skills

A great example of monetizing one’s skills is that of Mark, a professional musician I know. He offers piano lessons online. He’s got a regular conducting job during weekends.

3.    Validate Your Side Hustle With a Paying Client

Annette used to work in a big telco as a corporate marketing executive. But she managed to snag a paying client, which she did consulting for during her spare time. Now, she is her own boss in her consulting firm, handling many clients along with that one paying client that validated her skills as a marketing consultant.

4.    Avoid Getting Fired From Your Day Job

Need I say more? Check Side Hustle Considerations above.

5.    Build a Customer Base

If you are planning to make your side hustle full-time, then you must build your customer base. A rule of thumb is to not leave your day job until your side hustle is providing you at least 75% of what your day job pays you.

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Starting a Side Gig

Side gigs are easy to get. It’s just a matter of knowing where to look! Here are some websites that help many to start side gigs and earn extra:

  1.   Upwork
  2.   Freelancer
  3.   GigWorx
  4.   Fiverr
  5.   peopleperhour

So how to get started with a side gig? Simply apply, as GigWorx urges its readers. 

Or better yet, contact us to get started on your side job!

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So, Do You Want a Side Hustle or a Side Gig?

The best time to earn extra is now. The opportunities are there, waiting for you. It’s time to assess yourself if you're suited for side hustles or side gigs. Remember what makes them different: 

  • a side hustle is a freelancing stint which you are primarily passionate about and which you can grow on your own, making you over time a consultant or a specialist in this specific side hustle;  
  • a side gig is a part-time job that you do not have to be passionate about, and which you are happy to receive from companies or agencies who outsource them.

We can help you sort that out and get you started with your side job.

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