More American workers are taking on side hustles to earn extra money and help offset the impact of searing inflation. For others, meanwhile, it’s a chance to pursue their passion.
A bartender by trade, Miami, Florida, resident Alejandro Chavarria spends much of his free time pursuing a fledgling career in photography.
“I work at a bar that has some flexibility. They’re only open for dinner time so a lot of my downtime and my days off are spent working on my photography,” he told CBS News. “I enjoy every second of taking photos and printing, getting messy with ink.”
It fulfills his creative bug, and also helps him cover his costs of living. The typical rent in the area has soared to more than $2,400, according to data from CoreLogic, a provider of real estate research.
Thirty-six percent of employed workers — some 58 millions Americans — call themselves independent workers who either work freelance or in shor-term jobs, according to an August survey from McKinsey & Company. That’s up from 27% of the employed population who were part of the so-called gig economy in 2016.
Erin Welsh, a legal intern and law school student, also works as a performing musician at nights and on weekends to help pay for law school as well as to sock money away for her upcoming wedding. She admits the additional work cuts into her social life, but said it’s necessary to pay the bills.
“Most people hire live music Fridays and Saturdays and even in something like a wedding, having an acoustic musician play during a cocktail hour is really popular right now. So snapping up those sorts of gigs are how you sort of make ends meet,” she said.
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Pamela Ortiz, a pre-med college graduate and makeup artist, has launched her own line of cosmetics while she mulls a career in dermatology. Her small business began out of necessity.
“I broke out in hives one summer and I was going to all these dermatologists and couldn’t figure out what was going on and honestly, I was like, ‘Let me just take matters into my own hands and just do it myself’,” Ortiz said. “I started mixing things up in my aunt’s kitchen … my friends encouraged me to sell this.”
Asked if she’d ever trade running her own business for more traditional work, her response was succinct.
“I don’t like being told what to do. I like the freedom and flexibility,” she said.