‘Quiet Hustling’: How Employees Can Transition to Self-Employment

Quiet quitting may have been last year's big workplace trend, but it isn't the only option for those fed up with their nine-to-five.

Cutting back on excess work hours and pulling back on perfectionism is the right move for some, and quiet quitters may enjoy a better work-life balance as a result. Yet those who dream of a life beyond their office and have the drive to strike out on their own may prefer hustling instead. Rather than lay low at the office, entrepreneurial employees spin up side gigs and steadily build them to become full-time freelancers.

In the near term, workers will need some extra cash flow. There may be fresh doubts over whether the long-predicted recession will actually materialize this year; suffice it to say, the economy is undoubtedly going through a rough patch. Quiet hustling can give workers much-needed extra income to get through.

That extra dough might not come from their regular job. Most raises did not keep pace with inflation last year. Wage adjustments lagged two percentage points behind inflation in 2022, according to a survey of Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) published by Federal Reserve banks in December. This year could be the same. Despite CFOs planning to raise pay by 3.3% in 2023, inflation – currently at 6.5% – may remain higher.

Over the long term though, developing a side hustle can open the door to full-time self-employment, which can be an empowering professional change. Research shows career satisfaction is increasing among people who work for themselves. They are a growing cohort, too, with the U.S. now home to 70 million freelancers as of last year.

There are fast ways to make extra cash, side gigs to consider, and, of course, the best way to map out the transition to self-employment.

Start Small

Fast-money apps have become pervasive in recent years. Their one-time offers attract first-time users and are an easy way to make a quick $20.

Apps like Survey Junkie, Swagbucks, and InboxDollars all enable overworked employees to get their toes wet with a little extra cash. Newcomers can start out by taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses offered by these apps before doing simple tasks like filling out surveys.

These low-intensity tasks make for an ideal starting point as workers can do them while commuting home from work or at other downtimes during the day. These simple tasking apps are not very lucrative, however. For this reason, they should be viewed less as a way to beef up one's bank balance as a subtle shift from a single to multiple income streams.

Next Level

The next stage is to take on an actual side gig that fits around a day job. Since there are dozens of opportunities that provide semi-regular income and flexibility, most professionals can find a side job they are well suited for.

For instance, accountants can earn extra as virtual bookkeepers after hours. Or classroom teachers can choose to tutor students online in their free time.

Platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, SolidGigs, and Remotees exist to match remote professionals with paying clients. These online marketplaces allow users to quickly set up a profile, list their prices, take on cases, and start earning.

Earning extra income is fast becoming the norm. In the U.S., about 44% of people are working side hustles, with the gig economy estimated to have generated roughly $450 billion in 2022.

Moonlighting can also be an excellent avenue to develop new skills outside their regular job. By taking on clients online, professionals planning to move into a new industry can feel for a new role without the trappings of traditional employment.

Others may see it as an opportunity to monetize a hobby or interest. For example, dog lovers may enjoy pet sitting, while photography enthusiasts can sell photos through Shutterstock or iStock.

Over time, the income from an expanded side hustle will start to rival that of a regular job, paving the way for the transition to being a full-time self-employed freelancer.

Your Own Boss

Those who make enough income freelancing can consider leaving their regular job behind and striking out on their own.

Studies show it's a good time to be a freelancer, and things are likely to get better. Over three-quarters of full-time freelancers (76%) are satisfied with their careers, according to last year's State of the Independence survey from MBO. What's more, those satisfaction levels have risen 13% over the past four years, evidence that the overall work climate is becoming more favorable to freelancers. Starting a side hustle, therefore, is not only about extra income but by rekindling enthusiasm for one's career again.

There is no guarantee of success when trying to go it on your own. Taking on extra work on the side can also be stressful too. Finding what works may take some time and experimentation. No matter what distance you cover this year, heading down the road to self-employment will put you further ahead than sitting idly among the quiet quitters.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.