The Australian gig economy is thriving. According to Upwork, almost a third of Australian workers engaged in freelance work in 2015 – and that number is only growing.
Side gigs, second jobs and freelancing are some of many ways to make a little extra money using the time and resources already available to you. But is it the best option for your situation?
Let’s take a look at what’s motivating Australian freelancers, how you can get involved and whether or not side hustles are your game.
Why Australians are picking up side gigs
A recent survey by Australia-New Zealand on-demand staffing platform, Sidekicker, has highlighted some of the key reasons workers Down Under are choosing to pick up side gigs.
Interestingly, 73 percent of the 11,000+ respondents to Sidekicker’s survey support themselves or earn the bulk of the income in their household. They work temporary shifts on top of their permanent employment, suggesting they work two or more jobs to support themselves or their families. For some of us, it’s about making ends meet when we feel our permanent income isn’t enough or seizing full-time work isn’t coming easily.
Australians are increasingly picking up side jobs to make extra money or follow their passions.
A desire for flexibility
Meanwhile, 82 percent of respondents claimed to embrace temporary, flexible gig work because it grants them the flexibility to achieve their ideal lifestyle. For some, this means they are studying or starting their own business, and therefore need the ability to scale their working hours up and down according to fluctuations in their other commitments. Kids are also a common reason to seek out short gigs, as working parents can more easily take time off for the school holidays.
The flexibility achieved through the gig economy is helping many Australians work towards their broader objectives, while still supporting themselves.
Those studying while picking up casual work might also do so in order to reinforce their education. For example, of those accepting short-term hospitality roles, 44 percent were studying hospitality and tourism management, 26 percent were training in cookery, and 13 percent were working towards service qualifications.
Following a passion
Others might prefer to take up side gigs to help them chase their true passion. Whether that means establishing a small business in your spare time or testing the waters of a new career using temporary work, small side gigs can help some people discover their intended course in life.
How can you get started with a side hustle?
If you’re interested in pursuing a side gig for any of the above reasons, consider the different ways you can find small jobs:
- Advertise at supermarkets or in newspapers: Community notice boards or classifieds offering your skills can be a great way to get your name out there. Think about the kind of work you’re looking to do on the side, and who would hire you before you choose this option.
- Make use of temporary work platforms: There are plenty of apps and staffing platforms out there to connect you with employers looking for short-term or project-based employees. These are more likely skilled jobs like data entry, editorial work, graphic design or hospitality shifts.
- Operate on-demand: In a similar vein, you might consider utilising your car to play taxi for people or food whenever suits your schedule, via certain apps.
Your side gig can be the perfect way to help you achieve your broader objectives.
Is a side hustle suitable for your lifestyle?
Before you begin, take a moment to think about whether a side job is really suitable for your lifestyle. Here are a few things you should consider before looking for a gig:
- Can you handle multiple schedules? Working one job is often difficult enough. When working two, even if both are part-time, you have twice the number of schedules to keep track of, coworkers to form relationships with and responsibilities to manage. If either job has variable hours, it can also become difficult to reconcile the two.
- Do you have the energy? If you’re already finishing your job and feeling exhausted at the end of the day, is additional work going to suit you? On-demand services can mitigate some of this problem, as you can choose to work only when you have the energy. That said, you should avoid becoming dependent on income you won’t always have the willpower to work for.
- Does your current employer have any moonlighting policies? Review your contract and company code of conduct to determine if any existing policies may require express permission to receive outside work.
- What are the tax implications? Making additional income, particularly from a second employer, can have effects on your tax rate and some arrangements may require you to register for and pay GST. Remember that all of your secondary income will be taxed above the tax-free threshold if you already earn more than $18,500.
Other ways to make more money
If a separate gig isn’t going to work for you, it’s time to think creatively about how you can increase your take-home pay. Asking your current employer for a raise or more hours is one way to improve your income, particularly if you believe you’ve earned it.
Sometimes your upward momentum can be limited by the business, however, so you might also consider changing jobs or retraining in a higher-paying field.
Of course, the money you get to enjoy is also determined by how much is lost to your everyday expenses. Reviewing your fixed costs, negotiating with service providers and finding places to cut costs that don’t directly help you achieve your goals can make your income feel greater.
If you don’t feel like you can afford the things that are most important to you, maybe it’s time to find new ways to earn. To build a plan that grows your wealth and maintains your ideal lifestyle, reach out to the financial planners at Invest Blue today.
What you need to know
This information is provided by Invest Blue Pty Ltd (ABN 91 100 874 744). The information contained in this article is of general nature only and does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. Therefore, before making any decision, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice with regards to those matters and seek personal financial, tax and/or legal advice prior to acting on this information. Read our Financial Services Guide for information about our services, including the fees and other benefits that AMP companies and their representatives may receive in relations to products and services provided to you.