“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work... and driving through traffic in a car you are still paying for... in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes... the car... and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.”
~ Ellen Goodman
At one time, the above quote topped this page. I suppose it still does, but not in the way it once did.
There’s a cynicism in that quote we can all relate to; who wants to sit in traffic and work for a house they hardly ever see?
But when we look deeper, there's an arrogance and pomposity in Ellen Goodman's words she did not intend. She did not know that the life she described would become a privilege, not a burden.
When I started Gig Hustlers in 2018 (originally in 2016 under a different name), this quote set the stage. And I wrote that gig hustlers are the entrepreneurs, the solopreneurs, the freelancers, independent contractors, and the side hustlers… paving their own way and…
… challenging (what Ellen Goodman meant by) “normal.”
But I no longer believe that to be true.
After 5+ million visitors and 100,000+ leads and subscribers from this small website, I don’t think most people are challenging normal...
… I think THEY JUST WANT TO BE NORMAL.
But they can't.
Look… if normal was, as Ellen Goodman says, working for the car, the clothes, and the house, most people would be thrilled. That's what they want.
Instead, they are working. Some are working harder than they've ever worked. And yet, normal is, at best, a distant dream.
The promise is out of reach.
On the surface, some appear to have it all. But manicured lawns and shiny SUVs disguise the debts and perpetual payments that keep them trapped. Few actually own their biggest assets.
Some don't even own the furniture and knick-knacks around their house. A missed paycheck or two and a minor emergency would make it all disappear.
And they are the fortunate ones.
There’s another group working just as hard, but circumstance has left them dreaming of what other people have. Or at least what they think other people have.
So, maybe times have changed or I've changed (surely both), which also means Gig Hustlers has changed.
How has it changed?
Having received thousands of emails and messages over the years, it seems far more people are being forced into the gig economy by bone-crushing debt or layoffs than by dreams of margaritas on a beach and passive income.
While beaches and easy money are nice thoughts, as an entrepreneur, freelancer, and gig worker, I can tell you the “laptop lifestyle” (as it’s often portrayed) is far from reality.
It’s not that it doesn’t have its moments. It does. But they are only moments.
The real gig economy is made up of more people just trying to hang onto what they have and supplement their daily grind than it is of people trying to replace it with a MacBook and rope hammock strung between two Mayan palm trees.
So, whatever your financial goals, Gig Hustler's objective is to be a reliable (and practical) resource to help you discover and succeed in the gig economy… whether it’s a home-based business, rideshare, building an online empire, or a side hustle we haven’t even thought of yet.
But (yes, there’s a BUT)…
… this is not a website about getting rich or replacing your job overnight. If that’s what you’re looking for, you won’t find it here.
It took me years and (literally) countless hours to earn a full-time income from home and gain (some) freedom and independence. But there's a side to that story you won't often hear…
Although there’s a “passive” element to business income, meaning your efforts are not directly tied to your income…
… your income is neither guaranteed nor permanent.
There are good months, not-so-good months, and then months so bad that they erase both. Economies change, technologies change, and people's wants change.
Why am I telling you this?
I've been doing this for a long time, and while I still believe entrepreneurship and gig work are both empowering and a way to build the life you desire…
… I've also become cynical.
Whether it's crypto scams, fake day trading schemes, ridiculous income claims, job freedom in 30 days, or TikTok influencers claiming to make MILLION$ selling t-shirts and coffee mugs while doing yoga…
… it's all bull$#!%.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
What Is A Gig?
The above definition of a gig is probably correct, but I have a problem with it. According to the Macmillan Dictionary, a gig is “a piece of work you do for money.”
But what about all of the work you do before making money?
The small business owner who spends every spare hour (and penny) building something that will one day generate income (but doesn't yet) would disagree. A gig or a side hustle doesn’t have to make money to be a gig or a side hustle.
Sure, you could say it should have the vague eventual purpose of making money. But does that mean you must connect all of the dots today?
Of course not.
Whatever you choose to do outside your regular job, there will be a learning curve. And you will likely do work you are not paid for.
If you’re spending every night and weekend practicing with your band (or just learning to play an instrument) with the ‘eventual goal’ of making money… it’s a gig, and you’re a hustler (the good kind).
If you're taking a ten-week course or publishing your first one hundred YouTube videos (with the eventual goal of making money), you're probably not getting paid, but you're working. Call it a gig if you want. Who cares what MacMillan thinks?
Gary Vaynerchuck of Vayner Media spent years recording YouTube episodes of Wine Library TV when no one was watching. Years!!!
In fact, it's those early days of your gig when no one is watching, and you’re not getting paid, that it really matters.
It’s easy to hustle when the big money is coming in. It’s when you’re struggling to make ends meet and your gig is putting you into a bigger hole that it’s hard.
And it's even harder when the path to making money is uncertain and unclear.
So… whatever you do, if you’re sacrificing today to build a better tomorrow while your friends spend their nights watching Netflix and their weekends on the ski hill… you’re a hustler. You’re making sh** happen!
A Word of Caution – What Gig Hustlers is Not
Let's get back to the point I was making earlier…
While Gig Hustlers is a resource aimed at helping people make money, it’s NOT a resource that promotes get-rich-quick schemes.
And to be clear, it's also not a website about consumerism, materialism, or working oneself into the grave at the expense of your family or your health. We're not against making money or working hard, but gighustlers.com is not a website that tells you how hard to work or how much money you “should” make.
In fact, you may be happy making less money, not more, as long as you can make it from home.
Others may be full of spit and polish, burning the early morning, weekend, and midnight oil to make the big bucks and buy love, luxury, and Lambos. If that's your thing, it’s your thing. No judgment.
But with love, luxury, and especially Lambos, we probably can't help you. While I’ve made more money than I thought possible at the time with gigs and running my own business from home, I promise you…
… no one will ever mistake it for “rich.” Not even close…
- First, the money I've made was made over years. Not weeks or months.
- Second, tens (upon tens) of thousands were spent on business expenses, education, and plain old middle-class living.
- Third… taxes, taxes, and more taxes.
No one is making popular videos or blog posts about paying taxes. And few are talking about the countless hours, early mornings, late nights, and nodding off at the keyboard repeatedly… or worse, pinching their leg (almost to the point of bleeding) to NOT nod off while driving rideshare…
…hypothetically speaking, of course.
Anyway, I don’t mean to throw cold water on your side hustle dreams. I’m just being real.
These are things every gig worker, freelancer, and home business owner knows. But they are generally not the things that get talked about. So I'm going to talk about them.
You’ve surely heard it many times, “If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.” This is absolutely true…
… and there is a reason you don’t see everyone doing it…
But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.
Welcome to Gig Hustlers.