The problem: For workers supplementing a traditional job, side hustles can disrupt one’s peace of mind if they’re not managed carefully.
For Example: Eric, 42 and single, is the full-time manager of an IT Pro online community for Microsoft. He is experienced at earning extra money through legitimate work-from-home jobs, but gets a little stressed out when too many things overlap.
In his own words: “I do a bunch of side things as I have time and energy,” he said in a recent video diary recorded for dscout, an app-based service that recruits participants for qualitative market research. “I do some freelance writing for a website called QueerSpace. I used to do some freelance social media, as well, although I don’t have any clients right now. I also do some online survey type things: Dscout, surveys, usability studies, anything that I can do that’s flexible.”
In his video diary, he described a day in which he finisFhed documenting two shopping trips for a dscout gig and then sat down for a three-hour interview with a marketing researcher, who then went shopping with him to complete the study. “It was a significant amount of time, but also good income.” On another day, his full-time job included building some social media ahead of time to cover a holiday, plus finishing some outside research projects. “It was pretty busy. It was a little frustrating but at least I got it all done.”
Goals: Eric looks for jobs from home that fit around his full-time job. “The best thing is just having a bunch of different ways to make more money, having more money available to me, not just having to rely on a single income and budget, knowing ‘Hey, I can make some more money here’ if I need to spend on some things that I want to buy.”
Tactics: He’s a digital native, so he looks for aggregators who can help him quickly find gig jobs that align with his goals. “I was reading a bunch of recommendations about a site called ProLific, which tends to accumulate a whole bunch of research studies through colleges. I’ve heard it was good and you can make pretty decent money when you have time. It looks interesting. We’ll see how it goes.” Similarly, he has begun experimenting with a Reddit site called “beer money” that aggregates simple gig opportunities. “It has really good information about ways to make extra money in small ways throughout the day. It’s interesting and people talk about their experiences…now I’m checking in every day or two.”
Success is: A weekend off. Reflecting on a recent week, Eric recorded this recap: “I’m almost done. I may look at some stuff over the weekend, but it’ll be just sort of easier things. There’s a couple of reviews that I want to get done over the weekend, things that I get reimbursed for, so free products, but aside from that I don’t really have any income that I have to worry about so: Yay, Relaxation!”
Challenges: The trick is to keep all the side gigs from colliding. “The downside (to making money with side hustles) I think is just time management,” Eric says. “Sometimes I’ll get involved in a study or something and then I realize I’m traveling so it becomes more difficult. Or maybe there’s a weekend I need to finish a project and I have other things going on so sometimes the logistics can be difficult. That’s probably the worst thing.”
Problems Steady™ can solve for this user:
1. Predictive Scheduling: Matching opportunity deadlines and time budgets to his available time would allow him to smoothly integrate his traditional job, his side gigs and his free time.
2. Financial Planning: Eric doesn’t seem to lack for motivation, so a custom financial planning product that would keep track of his outside earnings and assess how, if invested, they could turn into yet another revenue stream would be a boon for him.