Now Could Be a Great Time to Get a Side Hustle. Here's How to Start

by Maurie Backman | Updated July 17, 2021 - First published on March 16, 2020

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The stock market is in shambles. COVID-19 fears are shaking the economy. It might be time to find your hustle.

The stock market is in shambles. COVID-19 fears are shaking the economy. It might be time to find your hustle. 

If it seems like every other person you know has a side hustle, you're probably right. In a recent survey of over 1,000 people, nearly 500 reported having a side gig. Taking on additional work when you already have a full-time job is easier said than done, but now could be the time to find yourself an extra source of income.  

Why get a side hustle now?

Panic over the spread of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus, has already sent stocks plunging into bear market territory. For those unfamiliar with the term, "bear market" refers to a period when stock values drop 20% or more from a recent high, and stay that way for at least a couple of months -- often longer. 

You may be thinking, "If I don't have money in stocks, what's the big deal?"

Here's the problem: Though bear markets and recessions don't always go hand in hand, the former often spurs the latter. And when recessions hit hard, work hours can get cut and jobs can be lost. 

That's why it's a really good time to get yourself a side hustle. Firstly, that extra money can help you build an emergency fund, which could be crucial during a potential period of unemployment. Secondly, having another gig gives you some degree of income security in case you lose your main job during a recession. 

How to find a side hustle

If you're not sure how to get yourself a side hustle, here's where to start:

  • Think about the things you enjoy doing. Your side hustle doesn't actually have to feel like work, so consider monetizing a hobby. If you play an instrument, you might try offering music lessons. If you like coding, sign up to develop websites in your spare time. And if you love animals, look into dog walking or pet sitting. 
  • Figure out how much time you can devote to a side gig. Some side hustles require more time commitment than others. Assess your schedule and see how many hours each week you can reasonably carve out. From there, you'll be better positioned to explore your options. Along these same lines, consider whether you're able to commit to a side gig with set hours. Work you can do on your own terms may be more suitable. 
  • Be open to trying different things. You might think you'd enjoy working as a DJ at night, but the late hours could be grueling. Or you might assume that, since you like gardening, you'd enjoy working at a nursery on weekends, then discover you're not too keen on customer service. The point? Be prepared to give a few different side hustles a go before settling on the best one. 

Let's be clear: The fact that the stock market is deep in the throes of a downturn doesn't necessarily mean a recession is coming and your job is on the line. But given the uncertainty, it wouldn't hurt to have an extra source of income, and additional money in your savings account. If you can find a side hustle that makes you happy, it could even lead to a long-term arrangement that helps you stay financially healthy during less-precarious times. In fact, you never know when a side hustle might turn into a full-time career, or when it might help you build skills that get you promoted at your main job. Dive in now, and the possibilities could be endless. 

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