Could you use a little extra cash? Do you love to eat? Now is the perfect time to combine them and start a side-gig based on your favorite foods.
As I write this, unemployment is nearly 14% and thousands – maybe hundreds of thousands – of businesses have shuttered their doors. Many will not reopen, and others plan to reopen with fewer employees or reduced salaries. Thus, many of us need extra cash, but since it seems people aren’t buying anything, where are we going to get that cash? In times like these – which have come and gone before – consider providing affordable options meeting people’s needs or desires; food, shelter, self-improvement, toys, and children’s learning materials. You can create a side-gig, providing any one of these.
Side-Gig, Side-Hustle, Part-time Business, or Side Job?
What exactly is a side-gig?
A side-gig is the same thing as a side hustle or a part-time business. Unlike traditional moonlighting or taking on a second job, a side-gig is a business that you create. People have had side-gigs for eons, but many of us don’t think of it as a “regular” business. Have you ever sold Avon or Mary Kay? That’s a side gig. Ever rented out your extra room, made candy and sold it at the holiday fair, or fixed computers on the weekend? All side-gigs. Even if you consider it just helping out, any activity that you do on a regular basis and that brings in a bit of cash, is a business. The trick is to think of it as a business, and watch those occasional dollars flow in.
Advantages of Starting a Side-Gig
Time Saving: Starting a side-gig doesn’t mean you quit your day job. By its very nature, a side-gig is a part-time endeavor, something that can be carried out in the evening, on weekends, or seasonally.
Money Saving: The old adage, “it takes money to make money” is true; but a side-gig doesn’t have to be expensive. Yes, you will still need the appropriate licenses, but a side-gig doesn’t require a large inventory of ingredients and equipment, extra space, or employees. Starting a cracker business to rival Nabisco would require millions of dollars for inventory, packaging, factory equipment, employee training, sales representatives, distribution, etc. Starting a specialty cracker business in your kitchen requires maybe a thousand dollars for local licenses plus a few ingredients.
Quickly Meeting Customer and Personal Needs: What to start a tutoring business? Great! Start a side-gig and see if there is enough demand in your area. If there isn’t, is there another way to offer your expertise? If so, pivot and start tutoring online. Or maybe you will decide you don’t really like tutoring after all. Since you don’t have much money tied up in the side-gig, move on to something else. Maybe it’s time to get that new lawnmower and start a lawn care side-gig. When winter comes, tuck the mower away and bring out the snow shovel! A side-gig lets us quickly adapt to what the market needs and what we enjoy.
Quick Start: You may be able to start a side-gig as soon as this week! Depending on your business idea, and your local licensing requirements, you can develop a quick plan and start making money by the weekend. Unlike starting a large business, your side-gig probably won’t have to search for appropriate real estate, have an environmental impact study performed, or sponsor a hiring event. Faster mobilization means quicker cash in hand.
Why Start a Food-Based Side-Gig?
Customers: Some people need their lawn tended. Others are seeking new toys for their toddlers. Still others need help building a website or need a new knit hat. But everyone needs food! When you start a food-based side-gig your potential customer base is automatically larger than for any other business. That doesn’t mean everyone wants your special crab cakes – lots of people are either allergic to or don’t like seafood. But there are more potential crab cake munchers out there than people seeking stone figurines or quilted tote bags.
Expertise: As a human, you are already a food expert of some sort. After all, think of how many meals you have prepared and/or eaten thus far in your life! You may take a bit of time learning how to run a business, but you probably already know how to make your family’s famous peanut brittle.
Why Now is the Perfect Time to Start a Food Side-Gig
Self Determination: The country is in an upheaval right now. We have limited control over COVID-19, social media misinformation, the economy, and politicians who profess to have our best interests at heart when their actions show otherwise. It’s enough to make one sink into despair. A side-gig can help you take back your life! Along with a mask and turning off the TV, starting a side-gig that feeds you – both literally and metaphorically – restores our sense of self-sufficiency.
Longing for the Good Old Days: Do you fondly remember Grandma’s strawberry pie? Mom’s peach preserves? Uncle Jim’s homemade beef jerky? You aren’t alone. Many people yearn for homemade foods that have intense flavor and lack additives and preservatives. But most people don’t have a family favorite pie recipe or know how to turn fresh fruit into jam and jelly. You can fill the void. Your customers are looking for the homemade products that only you can provide.
Exclusivity: I dream of my own home in Hawaii. Do I own property there? No. Why? Because, (despite my side-gig) homes in Hawaii are out of my price range. But each time I visit I bring a little bit of the islands back home with me. There’s usually a box of chocolate covered macadamias, some pink Hawaiian salt, a bottle of coconut syrup, and some lilikoi curd. Specialty foods are an affordable treat. Even when the economy is difficult, many of us can afford a delicious food impulse purchase, even if we can’t afford a fancy vacation home. So, start stirring!
Less Competition: You may think that now is a terrible time to start a food side gig. In reality, it’s the perfect time! As more people abandon their old business plans, and others are hesitant to start a new business, the marketplace is seeking replacements. We may be buying fewer clothes or movie tickets these days, but we are still buying food. You can provide the delicious options your customers want and need.