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Side Gigs Can Help Single Parents Make Ends Meet

Are you considering a new job?  If you’re like many single parents, sometimes it’s hard to make ends meet, and you may be exploring your options.  It’s especially important to preserve what time you have with your kids and finding balance between meeting financial and family obligations can be tough.  Here is how a side gig could be the perfect solution.

What’s that again?  Many people are still learning about the gig economy.  In case you aren’t familiar, side gigs are temporary or freelance work, typically made possible via the Internet.  Generally speaking, you list a service or product on the web, and people wanting that service or product arrange to get it from you through the site.  There are a number of names for this new business genre, such as side hustle or platform work.  Even if the terms are new to you, chances are some of the businesses aren’t.

As Entrepreneur notes, there are workers who take side gigs driving people to and from destinations, provide bed and breakfast style housing, and do bookkeeping from the comforts of home.  You can do almost anything you can dream of.  You can tutor kids in your favorite school subject, help executives make travel arrangements, or do medical transcription.  You can even find work enjoying man’s best friend!  Become a dog walker or provide dog boarding, offering a very in-demand service without requiring you to spend a lot of time away from your family.      

How to put a side gig to work.  Side gigs offer tremendous flexibility and freedom.  Those are both the pros and cons of working in the gig economy.  Thanks to those qualities, you can adjust your schedule and workload so you stay involved with your kids - no more missed work to get to school plays or ball games. Depending on what gig you take on, you can save money on fuel costs and wardrobe expenses.  By the same token, the qualities that make side gigs so attractive such as freedom and flexibility, can be your downfall if you aren’t careful.

You need to be disciplined enough to set your schedule and stick to it.  You also need to be able to manage your money, since there is no payroll department withholding funds to pay Social Security, or putting money toward your retirement.  There are no paid vacation or sick days, and there is no group health insurance provided by your employer.  For many single parents, the trade off is worth it. 

Time management.  Time management may sound tricky when you’re a single parent, but there are several things you can do to set yourself up for success in a side gig.  One suggestion is to avoid multitasking.  Designate time slots to focus on your work and don’t allow yourself to become distracted.  The laundry and dishes will wait for you!  And don’t get bogged down with catching up emails or social media.  Settle in and focus on your task.  For some singles, right after the kids leave for school or in the afternoon before the kids come home can be good times.  Then prioritize work tasks by meeting the soonest deadline first, followed by order of importance or timeframe. 

Money management.  Of course, you’re considering a side gig to help with your financial status.  Managing what you earn through your work is essential to your success.  Payable recommends establishing an emergency fund as one of your first priorities.  Since gig work isn’t necessarily steady, having a cushion can help you through lean times or unforeseen expenses.  Also, set a budget, clarifying your expenses and income and establish a savings account dedicated to your tax payments and other important savings such as medical and retirement funds.

Single and successful.  Making ends meet just got easier!  Get started in a side gig for the flexibility and freedom to balance your work and home life.  Make sure you manage your time and money well, and you are sure to enjoy success!

Best,

Lucy Reed, Gigmine

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