Once upon a time, students cut grass, sold cookies, waited tables and washed cars to make pocket money. The work was low-end manual labor, performed with the consent of parents to teach kids the “ethic" of hard work.
When the child graduated high school, they either went to college or they took up a trade and became an artisan. And thereafter, their career trajectory was relatively stable. Those days of long-term predictability are gone.
“There are only benefits to building more than one source of income. A side hustle is the new job security”- Forbes
The ambiguity that the future holds is evident, especially for young people. The idea of having a job for life or a single career in the current context is rather quaint. Again and again, we hear how we will have to evolve our careers, how work will come in peaks and troughs, and how job types will ebb and flow in line with technological evolution. Suffice to say, relying on one source of income becomes problematic and a risk to every family's financial sustainability.
The current educational system at its core still rewards conformity and was positioned to produce compliant employees for the industrial age. That model was hugely successful and put hundreds of millions of people into the middle class the world over. It was the right approach for the right time. Fast forward to the current and near future, the economy rewards creativity and concurrently forces us to manage increasing levels of ambiguity.
Relative to the unpredictable nature of the economic outlook for the next 20 years, the foundations upon which the current education model is built is sub optimal and does not set students up to be resilient, independent thinkers who can creatively chart their own way in an increasingly complex world.
Any kind of job is going to have a digital component,it doesn’t mean that everyone’s going to become a computer scientist. – Satya Nadella, CEO Microsoft
Building resilience to deal with the future is essential. We are doing a disservice to our children if we don’t prepare them for this at an early age. It is incumbent upon us to help young people think about multiple sources of income and to constantly adapt and learn to derive value from those potential income sources. The idea of creating a side hustle, while concurrently conducting a high school education is critical. In fact, we think students should receive a score that contributes to their final certificate based on the execution of a successful side hustle.
There are no shortage of ways to create an alternative income source.
Our top five favorites include:
1. Tutor on Zoom
Someone somewhere in the world right now needs help with a subject you or your children might have some expertise in. This is a service that can be offered to others at a time of your choosing and payment platforms like PayPal and Revolut, make this easy.
2. Manage social media for a local business
Many established small businesses are owned and run by people who might not know their way around Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok or Google. Most teenagers know their way around social media like a Cabbie knows his way around the city of London. This is an easy way to make money no matter where you live.
3. Create edutainment on You-Tube
Many professors now create their own courses on platforms like Udemy & SkillsShare. This usually requires some specific subject matter expertise in an academic subject. Nice, but not as lucrative as setting up a You-Tube channel playing Minecraft. Irish YouTuber Little Kelly runs the YouTube channel Little Kelly Minecraft. She has an estimated net worth of $3.5 million.
4. Upcycle & flip furniture
Everyone has stuff they don’t need that they are willing to sell off cheap. Most old furniture just needs a creative eye and a lick of paint and can be upcycled and sold at significant margins. The great british designer Yinka IIori has made this an art form. Paint manufacturer Valspar provides a guide on how to do this.
5. Drop shipping
This is a relatively new phenomenon that helps anyone make money. Many businesses need sellers and distributors for their products and services. Drop shipping is a streamlined form of retail business wherein the seller (you) promotes a brand and accepts customer orders but does not keep goods sold in stock. Goods are dispatched directly from the manufacturer. It’s a fast way to generate revenue without having to over invest in stock and infrastructure.
Side hustles help students develop critical skills.
Having a side hustle is an opportunity for kids to make some extra money (or perhaps even millions!) But besides the monetary benefit, there are some significant social and developmental benefits that make a side hustle worthwhile.
A side hustle teaches kids to become confident in new environments and helps them understand the importance of having a diverse portfolio. Kids can do more than go to school and play Minecraft. A side hustle can help kids develop “T” profiles with a broad range of skills, like creativity, and teaches them resilience.
It also teaches them crucial skills when it comes to the value of and management of money, something that is a prerequisite for success in life. Most importantly it teaches them, at an early age, courage and cultivates a confidence in their ability to step out of their comfort zones, take risks and do things for themselves.