This website is dedicated to exploring the upper levels of the gig economy by publishing the stories of people who found a way to create a high paying gig or side hustle. It turns out there's more to the gig economy than delivering pizzas and carting people around for minimum wage.
My interest in this topic became intensely personal earlier this year, when I was laid off alongside 400 of my co-workers in response to a corporate tragedy. With less than a month of severance.
Given that the job market is dysfunctional mess for a middle aged executive, drumming up a few options to generate some short term cash flow became an immediate priority.
While I've worked for minimum wage before, at this point in my career I'm done with that. Better options exist. This site is about finding them.
Finding Our Writing Team
There are a lot of sharks out there. On one hand, I was gratified by the large number of "business opportunities" and "networking discussions" that popped out of the woodwork once I updated my LinkedIn profile. That faded quickly when I learned that most of the "opportunities" were one-sided deals that couldn't be offered to people with a day job. No thanks.
Unlike many of my peers, I've had a succesful side-hustle for years as a digital publisher. My spouse and I build websites and share them on the internet. Once they reach a sufficient size, we put advertising on them and earn some money. It wasn't an easy business to get into - we had to swim by a bunch of sharks to find our place - but it gave me some hope. Surely there were other opportunities out there as well.
This site was created with the aid of a group of freelance writers with work experience in the opportunities we profiled. We recruited them, fact checked their stories, and asked the people with the best ideas to share some pointers on how to get started. These are intended to serve as a starting point rather than an explicit guide - read through the relevant articles and go explore your local market for similar opportunities. You'll probably find a couple of twists on the original idea that will make it an even better gig or side-hustle - suited to your own unique personality and capabilities.
Timing Your Income
A sharp witted reader asked me why I just didn't go to work on digital publishing full time. Here are some points for careful reading and critical thinking. Those will serve you well as you dig into the gig economy. Being skeptical is a wise choice.
So the answer is pretty simple. While digital publishing can be a very rewarding business in the long run, it can take a very long time to attract an audience to a new website. This was not a problem when I had my corporate job; we lived off my paycheck and the websites were a bonus. But once the paychecks stopped, we needed something that could generate cash faster.
Keeping this in mind, we ended up publishing a very wide range of opportunities on this site. I'm not particularly wild about writing for content mills - the pay isn't great. However, they can start paying you immediately, with few questions asked, by using a skill that any college educated professional should be fairly good at. Which allows you to stretch out your emergency fund until you can get a higher paying opportunity up and running.
If you've got some basic sales ability or copywriting skills, you may find success in niche consulting and part time sales opportunities. There's always a market for people who can generate sales or help a business reduce their costs.
And for others, unemployment represents a unique "hall pass" to experiment with more ambitious opportunities. Perhaps you have a creative side that you would like to develop a bit. Or maybe you want to take a shot at building a larger service or e-commerce business. Since the typical job search doesn't usually take more than 20 hours per week, that leaves 20 - 40 hours free to invest in the opportunity of your choice. Heck, it will probably make you more employable than updating your knowledge of the current daytime television series or the latest video games. That being said, approach these as longer term investments - be ready to wait a while for the cash to come it. They are, however, some of the highest earning opportunities on the site.
Ready to Begin?
While there's a lot of great stuff, here are a few of my personal favorites:
The piece on content mill writing is recommended reading for new visitors. We show how to take a $10 per hour piecework gig and leverage it up to over $50 per hour (as a freelance writer) and push it even higher if you learn how to do digital publishing. Even if writing isn't your thing (I'm not a writer either), the ideas we share in the process analysis can certainly be applied to many other freelance opportunities.
Tired of haggling with recruiters and HR departments who want to beat you down for a discount? Then take a look at our article on expert networks, a rare but lucrative little niche if you've got the right kind of industry expertise. Then go think about how you can get in front of these same high paying investor clients and help them solve similar problems at high rates.
Remember the movie "Office Space" and "Up in the Air"? It turns out there really are freelance HR consultants - read our story here.
Want to help non-profits raise money? We spoke with a grant consultant. Use your writing, marketing, and communications skills to help raise funds for a good cause (and pay the bills).Or perhaps you would like to get your hands dirty, clean up the world and do some recycling in the process? Check out the article on setting up a junk removal business.
And finally - if you know how to sell and want to swing for the fences, we've found some interesting ideas related to starting a white label services business. You may have heard of white-labeling and private-labeling products on Amazon. This takes that same concept and applies it to local service business opportunities with potentially less competition. Or if you just want to dip your toe in the water without a major committment, check out Amazon Merch or building a micro-service on Fiverr. (Lower return but also less risk / investment)
In any event - good hunting and good luck!