Throughout the past few days I've notices that a lot of folks are confused about where they are in life as it pertains to sources of income. This is due to a lack of clarity on what constitutes a job as opposed to a gig or side hustle. In order to make realistic and achievable goals one must clearly understand where they are, what type of work they do, and how to characterize their income source. For this reason I have dedicated this post to clearly defining the most common types of work. Apply these definitions to your situation and you will be able to understand more clearly which category you are in. Only then can you plan out a way to improve on or change your current position to reach your financial goals.
There are five main types of work. Career, Job, Side hustle, Gig, One-timer. Let's start with the latter and work our way up:
1. One-timer: One-timer is a term coined by HappyHealthyHundreds to describe a money making stream that does not reoccur. This is something that you do one time and do not plan on doing again in the future. Usually stems from a need or desire to make cash quickly due to emergency or impulse. For example, Your car is in need of new brakes but you haven't planned for that and do not have the money saved for it. Since you are a savvy member of the happyhealthyhundreds squad you know you need to make the cash quick! We don't use credit card out of necessity, just do get the bonus points, right?? So what we need is a one-timer to make the cash. We take our lawnmower or borrow a friends and we head through the neighborhood knocking on doors offering to mow lawns for 25$-50$ a pop until we get the money we need. This is not something you plan on doing again (could be turned into a gig if you wanted though), you are only doing this to get the money you needed to satisfy the bill for your new brakes. Your only doing this one time, hence it's a one-timer.
2. Gig: You hear this term often, but what exactly is it? A gig is something you do for on a repetitive basis that brings in income but is not scalable. This means that the work makes you money but you will not be able to turn it into a side hustle or career. The best example of this is driving for Uber or Doordash. Why is this not a job/hustle? Gigs like these are capped income situations. You can only drive so much in a day, you are not allowed to hire other drivers to work for you, and you have no chance of promotion. A lot of people are confusing this type of work as a job, it is not. I've seen the protest in the news about Uber pay and Doordash keeping tips etc.. There's nothing to protest, you are a contractor not an employee. Technically you work with them, not for them, it's a partnership. If you don't feel it's a beneficial partnership you can stop this gig anytime you want. Don't waste your time with protests, just find a better gig!
3. Side Hustle: Side hustle seems to be the term of the year. Everyone thinks they need one, but not many people actually have one. A side hustle is similar to a gig with one Enormous difference, it is scalable and can turn into a Job(as in owner of your own business) or career. Let's us the One-Timer example. You decided after mowing a few lawns that you liked it and wanted to keep doing it. So you went back to your neighbor and offered to mow his lawn each week for $25, he agrees and you now you have a baby side hustle. You then expand a bit and gain a few more clients in the neighborhood, now you have a legitimate side hustle! You are bringing in repeat income and you have the ability to grow this hustle into a business. Do you see the difference from a gig? If you mow enough lawns you can grow into an owner of a mowing company! On the other hand, even if you drive 1000 Uber clients you will never own Uber.
4. Job: A job is pretty straight forward. It is a task or combinations of tasks you must do at a certain time and place in order to receive income. If you do not perform these tasks, you will not get paid. In most cases you are an employee working for someone else. Your work not only makes you money but in turn makes your employer money. The upside to a job is usually deemed as financial security as well as bonuses such as health benefits and vacation time. These factors make a job different from Gig or Side hustle. There's nothing wrong with having a job, working hard (hoping for a promotion that may never come), and living your life. A lot of people do it. The only glaring issue with a job is that your fate is not in your hands. The CEO can make some bad financial decisions and all the sudden you get laid off, or your company gets bought out and the new one sends you packing. I find the term security and job are often linked together when in fact it may be less secure than your Side Hustle!
5. Career: The term career is often linked to the term job or job path. This is a narrow characterization, it could be in the form of a job or in your own business. A Career is a source of income that you receive as a result of working with your passion. Not just a source of income, but an uncapped source of income! There are no limits (except the ones you place on yourself), the more you grow and build yourself the more your income will grow with you. This could be in the form of a traditional job. You could be passionate about law, start out as an intern then move to paralegal, then to lawyer, then partner, then owner, and then multiple offices. It could also be a side hustle you turned into a career. You found out from your One-timer that you love landscaping! You start with a few accounts on the side of your 9-5. You then hire a few employees and buy some equipment, gain more accounts. You continue on this path until you own multiple successful companies and then you franchise. There is no limit when it comes to your Career!
I hope these definitions provide some clarity! Take a look at your income sources, see which category they fall into. Once you have this figured out you can make any necessary changes in order to get to where you want to go!
Thanks for reading!
A little bit about me! I'm a family man with a lovely wife and three awesome boys. I have a bit of an entrepreneur bug. I started and sold my own company twice ( small businesses but the experience was valuable), I've dabbled in real estate, been an Ebay reseller, and also spent many years in management roles which is my current stream of income ( plus a few side streams I've put together). I'd say all in all I'm your typical guy trying to make a better life for his Family.