A side gig or side hustle is considered an alternative way to earn additional income, outside your primary job. This is not a part-time job. It is available to you when you want to work the side gig. It’s not mandatory that you show up and work…you do it because you want to.
There have always been side gigs. The main difference today is that technology advances are making side gigs more robust, easier to engage with and more lucrative.
Side Gigs from 20 Years Ago
- Waiting tables
- Cutting lawns
- Setting up an Amazon store
- Digital Photography and Editing
- Uber / Lyft
- Grubhub / DoorDash
- Wag (dog walking)
According to a 2017 Bankrate study, 44 million Americans have a side hustle.
The median income for millennials with a side hustle was $200 a month.
Meanwhile, The Hustle found that the average side-hustler spends 11 hours per week on their secondary work, and earns $12,609 per year — an average of about $25 per hour.
The same study reported that while only half of respondents “loved” their primary job, 76% loved their side hustle.
And the percentage of Americans working freelance is expected to grow from 7% in 1995 to 43% in 2020.
In 2018, the Direct Selling Association reported over 16.5 Million in the US were involved in direct selling (MLM), generating over $35.4 Billion in retail sales.
Side gigs can be categorized in many ways, however for purposes of this discussion, I’ll categorize them in Services and Products. In both categories, technology improvements have encouraged more side gig engagement.
The side gig Services category falls into brands such as Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, Grubhub, DoorDash, etc. Here, the technology platform assigns the customer to the person providing the side gig service. When some wants a ride home from the airport, they open their Uber or Lyft app and request a car. The side gig driver accepts the ride and picks up the passenger. You know how it goes from there.
In the Services space, customers are paired with side gig providers. This has major advantages for both parties since customer acquisition is the one the hardest and most expensive aspects of business development.
The side gig Products category is different however. Here, the representative or Brand Ambassador refers customers to the brand and the brand pays them a commission on the products sold. Sales commissions can vary from 8%-30%, depending on the brand, total amount of products sold, etc.
The Product side gig opportunities range from blogging, to affiliate marketing, to social media / influencer marketing, to peer to peer marketing. Many times, the number of followers (specifically, the engagement of those followers) helps drive sales and thus commissions. Content creation and authenticity are critical to gaining and engaging followers. Here, the brand ambassador or rep acquires the customer for the brand and gets paid a sales commission for their efforts.
In the Peer to Peer model, both Products and Services have been successfully been sold. When referring to Peer to Peer, I’m lumping in affiliate marketing, influencer marketing, multi-level marketing (MLM), direct selling, social selling, network marketing, etc. Basically, selling products and services to friends, family and followers.
However, the elements of the models are very different. Affiliate / Influencer marketing typically is one person focused – one person selling. Compensation plans are direct to the brand or through an agency and they are typically simple. Sell products and earn a percentage of those sales.
Whereas, MLM, direct selling and networking marketing are community focused – one person selling, recruiting and building a team of sellers and recruiters. Compensation plans are extremely complex, which triggers stigma of pyramid schemes in many.
We support the side gig economy and embrace technology enhancements. Our feelings are that people will represent 3-5 brands, vs just representing one brand – and we encourage that! When traditional MLM brands restrict their reps from selling for other brands, this is a potential confilct due to Independent Contractor laws.
We have also studied the data and trends in peer to peer selling – this data was gathered from many MLM organization’s Income Disclosure Forms, which are publicly available for many companies. Here’s what we’ve found:
- 70% of people who join MLM / direct selling companies purchase at a discount or do nothing
- 12% of people earn between $1-299 per month in income
- 12% of people earn between $300-999 per month in income
- 4% of people earn between $1,000-2,499 per month in income
- 2% of people earn more than $2,500 per month in income
So, 94% of people who enroll in traditional MLM / direct selling companies earn less than $1,000 per month. That’s not exactly an encouraging statistic. When you work in the hours spent to generate that income, it’s approximately between $20-25 per hour.
The top .2% of income earners in the MLM / direct selling industry make six and seven figure incomes annually. Their dollar per hour earnings is in the $125-250 per hour range…because they’ve built a team of representatives and are levering their time through their company’s compensation plan.
There are a variety of reasons for this – more side gig options today without the stigma and complexity, digital enhancements and social media sharing have decreased the number of people building large teams of representatives, ecommerce shopping is simplified with many product options available for customers, etc.
Also, where there is growth in the US MLM / direct selling marketing, much of this is from teams and leaders switching companies. In 2019 alone, several traditional MLM / direct selling brands have gone out of business or they have been impacted by regulatory changes or leaders are jumping from one brand to the other for income opportunties. While some companies are growing fast, others are in steep decline. Thus, there is not a lot of growth in the industry, there is a lot of movement.
There are several major areas of the traditional MLM / direct selling business model that cause issues and concerns for new people. Higher than normal product prices to pay for the compensation plan, very complex compensation plans, high shipping fees, enrollment / monthly / annual fees to participate, starter kits required for enrollment, inventory building, etc.
At Vitalibis, we 100% believe in the peer to peer model, but feel it needs to be simplified and brought into the 2019's. People have many side gig options and a confused mind says “No”. So, here’s how we are re-inventing the side gig to make things robust, yet simple.
- One-time fee of $20 to enroll (no monthly or annual fees)
- No required starter kits
- No product inventory building
- Free shipping on all $50+ orders
- 45-day return policy
- Simple compensation plan
Our #1 goal was to simplify the traditional MLM / direct selling compensation plan while putting more money up front for the 94% of the people who enroll. We have a robust back end of the plan for those who are skilled and focused on building large teams of Ambassadors, the 6% of the people who enroll focused on earning a larger amount of side gig income.
The Vitalibis compensation plan integrates the best aspects of affiliate / influencer marketing with the best aspects of MLM / direct selling, but without the stigma and complexities. This plan is ideal for the side gig economy – and it doesn’t hurt that Vitalibis is within the fastest growing, most exciting industry today: CBD wellness.
Learn more on our JOIN page. Be informed. Be well.™