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How To Survive In The Gig Economy

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If you’re anything like me, you hate having a 9-to-5 job so you’ve turned to small gigs to pay the bills. The truth is, however, that this is much easier said than done – so how do you actually make it work?

It Starts With A Budget

You have to sit down and actually figure out how much you have to pay in bills every month. Here’s an example of what I mean:


Once you’ve figured out what your approximate monthly expenses are, it’s time to figure out how to reduce that number.

Utilities: If you can, learn how to use less of your utilities if you live on your own. If you’re single, maybe consider moving back in with your parent(s) if possible. There’s no shame in it, honestly – just keep working. You’re smart for saving your money, especially in this economy.

Subscriptions: I’m bad about this because I love my subscriptions. However, I run a business so it’s hard to find a replacement for Adobe Creative Cloud (~$60 a month)…at least I can write this off on my taxes! Try to see what you can…*erhem* “borrow” from the internet, if possible.

Car Payment & Insurance: Not gonna lie, this one’s a bit tricky to get lowered, but it’s not impossible. Ask your friends and family for smaller insurance companies with lower rates. I got mine down from $140/mo to $99/mo. You can also refinance your auto loan – yes, this will make you pay more interest over time, but in the short term it’ll buy you more time and save you money every month.

Variables: The cost of gasoline for your car is completely dependent on how much you drive, where you live, and how many miles per gallon your vehicle gets. Try and ride a bike more often, if you can, or use public transportation. For groceries, there’s an entire section of the internet to help you lower how much you spend on food each month. Do some research.

Break It Down By The Numbers

Alright, so let’s assume you’re not really able to lower your bills too much. This is a case where you’re going to want to round up your monthly bills.

Let’s go with $2,000 per month to live a normal life.

Now, obviously if you only earn $2k each month you’re going to be living paycheck to paycheck. Those are rookie numbers.

You need to pump those numbers up, let’s say $2,500.

Imagine you bring in $2,500 a month and your cost of living is only $2,000 or less. Now, you need to figure out how to bring in that $2,500 and what it’s going to take to make that happen.

Daily or Monthly: If you need to bring in $2,500 per month in net income (after taxes are accounted for, generally around 25% of your gross pay), that means you’ll have to make around $112 a day (net would be around $84 per day).

How do you earn at $112 a day?

Side Gigs To Pay Your Bills

In the modern world of smart phones, we have the ability to make money in the palm of our hands. Here’s a couple of options to help you pay the bills.

Mobile Apps

By far, my favorite method for making money in the gig economy is delivering for DoorDash. In Altoona, PA, which has statistically been known as a “distressed city” by federal government standards, I still earn $500-$750 per week just delivering food.

Honestly, it’s become a large source of income for me and allows me to pay my bills on its own. I only put in around 6-7 hours a day on average in the evenings.

Can’t lie – it’s a pretty sweet gig.

I’ve also heard great things about driving for Uber, but this totally depends on where you live. If you’re in the boonies (the country), this actually could be good for you since you have to drive people long distances…which means you get paid per mile and per minute.

I don’t know the rates for Uber, but all of my friends who drive for Uber say it’s even better than DoorDash (or UberEats, which is their version of DoorDash).

Side Business

Unless you’re a website developer or multimedia professional, it’s hard to just sit on your computer and make money.

You gotta get out there and be of service to someone, in person.

Here’s a few ideas for side businesses that could honestly be a big money-maker for you.

Cleaning Cars

Yes, we all know about car washes, but that’s not what I’m talking about. By “cleaning cars”, I mean detailing cars.

The inside of people’s vehicles are always in need of a good cleanout, and you can make money off of people’s laziness.

Charge $50 to $100 to completely clean out someone’s car of trash and bring a battery-powered vaccuum with a can of car seat fabric spray, and you could make a few hundred dollars a day.

No joke, I have some friends who bring in $5,000+ a month just cleaning out cars.

Commercial businesses with buildings will charge $200+ for this service, and if you hustle you can make more money than any of their employees just through word of mouth.

Junk/Brush Removal

Surely you’ve seen “junk removal” businesses near you, but they’re few and far between. If you own a truck, this could be your lucky day – people will pay good money for you to haul away their trash to a dump site, whether it be an old bedframe or a pile of bush clippings and tree branches.

Moving Business

Yes, you can start your own moving business with little to no upfront costs.

Instead of having an official moving business, you could start a “helping hands” setup where you have your customers sign a paper removing all liability for any damages during moving. Your job would just be to help them move their stuff into a moving truck.

That’s it – and you could charge $200 for that service.

If you are willing to travel a little bit, you could make $6,000+ a month if you work every single day and hustle. Not a bad gig for some sweat equity!


In conclusion, side gigs are becoming a main source of income for many people, especially those with a desire to hustle and earn as much money as possible.

DoorDash alone has become a major source of income for me just in itself, not including my main business during the day, Ronzag (website development and multimedia production).

You can pay your bills in the gig economy. You just have to have a work ethic, the desire to succeed, and a plan to make it all happen with the 24 hours you get each day like the rest of us.

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