SunTrust Survey: Many Americans Interested In Taking Their Side Gigs Full-Time

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019

Eighty-one percent of Americans who currently have a side gig are interested in taking it full-time, according to a recent SunTrust survey. More than half of Americans (54%) report having a side hustle at some point to generate extra money, pulling in $8,794, on average per year. With these additional funds, people are able to pursue their  #bestlife on their own terms.

On average, millennials are making almost 20% more per year ($10,972) from their side hustles than Gen Xers ($8,791) and 46% more than Boomers ($5,892). The top reason for pursuing a side hustle among millennials is to generate additional income for saving purposes (46%), while the top reason among Gen Xers and Boomers is to make additional money for leisure activities (43% and 47%).

“There’s a reason the gig economy is so hot – it can be fun and financially fruitful,” said Brian Ford, financial well-being executive at SunTrust. “For some, a side hustle is a creative outlet outside of the daily grind. For many others, it’s a means to achieving the financial confidence and freedom to live life on their own terms. Whether the goal is to earn extra cash or take a side gig full-time, there are tools and services to help people propel their side hustle forward.”

So, what gets in the way of taking a fringe earning situation full time?

The overwhelming majority of those looking to make their side hustle their main gig (83%) face obstacles, from not having enough time to dedicate to it (36%) to not having enough financial capital (30%).

SunTrust offers the following tips to help would-be full time entrepreneurs make the grade in the school of side hustle:

Time the Tipping Point: Determine when it is best to take a side hustle full time by weighing the trade-off of investing more time on your side gig versus your primary income source. Be mindful of the opportunity cost of sacrificing the stability of your total compensation package for unpredictable earnings potential.

Focus on the Fund-amentals: Make sure to develop an initial business plan, goals and competitive strategy, and decide how to fund your business and pay yourself. You’ll also want to include business cash projections and their reliability along with other funding sources.

Study the Setup: Determine the best legal structure for your business in conjunction with business advisors, such as an attorney and CPA. You’ll also want to understand regulatory issues in your industry, file appropriate permits and licenses and register your business and domain name.

Build a Budget: Develop a budget and use it to regularly track your progress against planned revenues and expenditures. A budget will also allow you to view financial priorities and targets and measure actual business performance against projections. These types of guardrails are critical when you are busy, and cash-on-hand can’t absorb cost overruns.

Track Your Finances: Separate personal and business finances with a business checking account. Set up online and mobile bank account access to monitor your daily cash position, pay bills and make easy transfers.

Bank on Bookkeeping: Set up financial software to establish good bookkeeping habits and automate recordkeeping. Considering linking your business checking account and your financial software so you can easily record income and expenses, track receivables, pay bills and manage inventory.

Work the Perks: Use credit or purchasing cards for expenses. Business credit cards offer tools to easily identify costs and manage employee spending limits and track usage. Online account access provides greater visibility into daily spending, and some cards even offer reward points or cash back on certain transactions.

Set Up for Sales:  Ramp up revenue faster than costs and expenses by focusing on actions that have the greatest impact on sales and building a customer base during the crucial early days.

SunTrust recently introduced its 21-day #bestlifechallenge, a social campaign to help people get on track toward achieving the financial confidence to live their dreams.

“As someone who took my photography side hustle into a full-time career, I knew that confidence in myself, my craft and my finances would be pivotal in this big decision to start my own business,” said Evan Ranft, a professional photographer based in Atlanta. “Participating in the #bestlifechallenge has allowed me to take a closer look at smarter ways to budget so that I can live my best life on my own terms, whether I’m saving up for a new camera lens or crossing a new destination off of my travel bucket list.”