What does hustling mean to you? For some people, it means quick movement or busy activity, like football players hustling during practice. For others, it’s synonymous with a swindle or a scam, like the legendary pool hustlers of the twentieth century who scored big bucks at pool halls across the country.
Some say both definitions — hard worker and scammer — apply to people looking for work on the side in today’s economy.
In blogs and websites, the idea of a side hustle has gained traction, with many believing they can pad their bank accounts or start a business quickly. While this was once called a part-time job, today’s part-timers expect quick transactions and higher rewards.
As a contractor, side hustlers aren’t as expensive as a full-time employee and the contractor is responsible for his own taxes. But there is a difference between a business owner contracting to sell services and a side hustler.
1. Already have a job.
2. Have allegiance to their job.
3. Feel no loyalty to their side hustle.
4. Might drop a project as soon as time gets short or their real job becomes more demanding.
According to Credit Loan, 56 percent of side hustlers take on work to increase their savings, while two-thirds have a full-time job and want more spending money. The experience of Uber is that 60 percent of drivers last less than six months.
While business owners usually have a total commitment to their business, side hustlers may feel little commitment to a project.
If you do hire a side hustler, here are some tips:
1. Never imply that you may not spend much money on future projects. Some side hustlers are looking for big-money projects and take small jobs to get their foot in the door. If they think the money pot is small, they are likely to drop the project.
2. Expect that some of your work will be done at their primary job. Of those with a full-time job working a side job, one in five admit to working their side job at their primary job, according to Credit Loan.
3. Hire and pay through a freelance website, so if the work isn’t finished on time or on spec, the contractor won’t expect partial payments.
4. Regard skill descriptions with skepticism.
5. Look for contractors who make their living as independent business people.
Avoid the social media vacation trap
Getting away from business for a little time off can be tricky enough, but here’s one thing working people should avoid: Telling your story on social media.
You DO want to make employees aware that you will be on vacation and specify how they will proceed while you are gone.
You DON’T want to let the world know on social media.
This exponentially increases the chance that a bad actor will break into your empty house while you are gone. This is true even if your social media pages are locked down and secure. Your family and friends might not intend to make your house a target, but the wrong word to the wrong person could make it happen.
This advice includes Check-In apps that post your picture while you’re lounging on a beach or at a fancy restaurant. That is publicity you don’t need.
Don’t upload family photos at your destination. On sites such as Twitter, anyone could follow your life, and you have no way of knowing their intentions or even who they are. Don’t rely on any expectation of privacy on social media.
6 jobs for people who prefer to work alone
If you’re self-motivated and prefer working alone, here are six jobs you may want to consider.
1. Private investigator. Although private investigators regularly have to meet with clients, they spend most of their time alone doing research from their office or following people from a distance.
2. Artist or craftsperson. Creating art usually involves spending a lot of time alone in a studio or sitting at a computer. For example, art restoration, sculpting, illustration, graphic design, and making ceramics are all excellent pursuits for people who value their alone time.
3. Truck driver. If you’re looking for peace and quiet, driving across the country delivering goods as a truck driver may be the job for you. However, you have to be OK with sitting still for hours on end.
4. Gardener or landscaper. If you dream about working outdoors and answering primarily to yourself, becoming a groundskeeper or landscaper could be an ideal fit.
5. Editor or translator. If you’re fluent in one or more languages, you could work as a freelancer and take on translation and editing jobs from the comfort of your own home.
6. Video game tester. If you enjoy playing video games and have a keen eye for detail, this job could be right for you.
Whether you’re an introvert or simply prefer working in a calm, quiet environment where you can focus, there are plenty of career possibilities that may be right for you.
Whispers of SBA COVID-19 fraud abound
In a dark bar, one guy whispers to another that outside a certain apartment building, there is a man with Small Business Administration (SBA) loan papers. All you have to do is make up a business and get $10,000.
Meanwhile, in an office, a man with a drug problem has a failing business and significantly misrepresents his business on SBA loan papers. Two years later, he is arrested and serves 14 months at a federal prison for wire fraud and money laundering.
The latter is the real case of Jeff Grant, a former lawyer, who told Entrepreneur magazine of his spiral into the kind of desperation that led to his arrest.
His first point is obvious: Don’t lie to the SBA and don’t think that the rules are suspended in times of emergency. Not true. Grant says that even state unemployment websites are giving written instructions on how to mislead the government loan apps. Don’t lie about your location. Don’t misuse the money.
In Grant’s case, his application was after the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. Thousands of people misrepresented their businesses on emergency loan applications, and they were prosecuted.
But in the case of current SBA loans, lots of restrictions apply, including such a thing as not moving your business. Beware that loans over $25,000 require a pledge of collateral. Don’t spend SBA money on personal debts such as credit cards. The funds are designed for business.
Lumber prices rise as production ramps up
Anyone looking to build or renovate a home has quickly encountered the latest sticker shock item: lumber.
Lumber prices have tripled in the past year, adding nearly $36,000 to the cost of a new home. In late April, the National Association of Home Builders said the price of framing lumber was approximately $1,200 per thousand board feet — compared to $350 per thousand board feet in April 2020.
What happened? A number of things. Consumer demand went up last year as people who were stuck at home undertook DIY projects in droves. Lumber mills shut down early in the pandemic.
As they reopened, they ramped up production and are running at full capacity, according to the Wall Street Journal.
And there were other factors already at play, including increased demand from millennial buyers in their home-buying peak, record low-interest rates, and international trade policies. All of these elements and more combined to create the jump in prices.
Consumers are handling the price increase in a number of ways, including delaying projects or reducing square footage, as well as looking for savings in finish materials or appliances. Now that wood production has increased, experts expect prices to come down, though perhaps not back to pre-pandemic levels.
Back to the office?
When Google announced this spring that it would bring its employees back to the office, many wondered whether other businesses would follow suit.
What does the post-pandemic office space look like, what lessons did we learn about remote work, and how quickly should these rollouts happen?
All of that is still unfolding, with many businesses opting for a hybrid approach, including one model that brings employees on-site in shifts and allows for a combination work-from-home and work-at-the-office schedule.
And as with most things Google, its office will look and feel much different from your typical workspace. Google had been experimenting with different office designs prior to the pandemic and will try them out over the coming year.
As for other companies? A lot depends on the business model itself, but for many, a number of scenarios seem common:
* Remote work is still an option for many. Whether it was a long commute or hesitancy to return to a crowded interior space, employees can still fire up their Zoom connections.
* Co-working space (Remember WeWork?). Some businesses are taking another look at co-working space, which provides employees with a place to work outside the home AND outside the office. This could be attractive to people with the aforementioned long commute and those who simply want to get out of the house.
* In-office rotations. In this scenario, employees take turns working on site.
* Outdoor space. At Google, outdoor work tents and fenced-in areas with grass and wood flooring evoke a camping theme. Of course, the weather is cooperative at its Silicon Valley headquarters and Google has the cash to try out new ideas. Still, other businesses can take note of how to better use outdoor space when they can, much like restaurants that found innovative ways to create outdoor dining.
How to spot a job candidate who’s truly motivated
If you want to hire a job candidate who’s driven to succeed, simply asking questions isn’t enough to gauge their level of enthusiasm. Here are a few tips to help you spot someone who’s truly self-motivated.
Recognize the signs of interest
An applicant who’s interested in the position you want to fill won’t just be dressed appropriately and show up to their interview on time. They’ll also take the opportunity to learn about your company and practice active listening.
You want to seek out someone who’s interested in what you have to say, asks questions, and provides well-thought-out answers to your inquiries. In addition, if they follow up after the interview, it’s usually a good sign that they’re motivated.
Ask the right questions
It’s important to ask candidates behavioral questions to gain a better understanding of their experience, skills, and personality. You should inquire about their expectations and ambitions, why they want to work for your company, how they want to be managed and what drives them.
By asking open-ended questions, you’ll give candidates the opportunity to spontaneously express themselves. You may find that they present themselves differently in person than they do in their cover letter. This will give you a feel for what they’re really like and help you determine if they’re a good fit for the position and your company.
If the candidate checks all the boxes, it’s likely that they’re truly self-motivated and will put in the extra effort on the job.