34% of Americans Joined the Gig Economy During the Pandemic -- Why You Should, Too

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  • An income boost could help you shore up your finances.
  • It pays to become a part of the gig economy, and if you do, you'll be in good company.
  • You might be able to walk dogs, drive for a ride share company, or even turn your hobby into a side hustle.

There are plenty of opportunities to earn money in a flexible manner.

A lot of people saw their finances take a turn for the worse during the pandemic. And even if that wasn't the case for you, an income boost could still serve you well. Right now, inflation is making everyday living expenses cost more. That's put a strain on a lot of people's budgets, and boosting your income could make your bills more manageable.

An income bump might also make it possible for you to build some savings, pay off your credit cards, or do other things that help you shore up your finances. And while you could march into your boss's office and demand a raise, a better and more realistic bet may be to join the gig economy.

A good 34% of Americans have become active participants in the gig economy since the start of the pandemic, according to a recent NFCC and Wells Fargosurvey. And these days, there are plenty of opportunities to follow in their footsteps.

Flexibility galore

The great thing about the gig economy is that it's known to promote flexibility and work-life balance. Those are important things to have, especially when you're talking about taking on a side job on top of full-time work.

If you're not sure what sort of gig to pursue, think about things you enjoy doing. You may be surprised to learn that a favorite hobby of yours could actually become a source of income.

Imagine you enjoy cooking and are great at it. You can look into starting a catering business from your home where you prepare food for local parties and events (just be sure to research your local laws about selling goods prepared outside of a commercial kitchen). You could also offer up your services as a private chef in other people's homes. Or, you could bottle up your favorite homemade salsa, salad dressing, or dessert sauce and sell it locally at fairs and farmers markets, or even online.

Now in some cases, you may not manage to turn a hobby into a money-making opportunity. Rather, you might have to go out and find another type of work. But that doesn't mean you'll be stuck plugging away at your laptop inputting boring data for hours on end. You could sign up to drive for a ride-hailing service, which will let you not only set your own hours, but potentially meet interesting people. And if you love animals and exercise, you can sign up to walk dogs or care for pets while their owners are away.

What could a side gig do for you?

Many people had their hours cut or lost their jobs completely during the pandemic and are now deep in recovery mode. Others may have fared better but are now facing rising costs due to inflation. No matter which camp you fall into, joining the gig economy could be your ticket to getting on more secure financial footing. And that's reason enough to consider pursuing some type of side hustle.

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