Gen Z Is Turning to Side Hustles to Purchase 'the Normal Stuff' in 'Suburban Middle-Class America'

Gen Z, the generation designated by the U.S. Census as born from 1997 to 2013, has been standing out in the workforce for the wrong reasons: 74% of managers find the generation harder to work with than others, according to a Resume Builder survey, and 57% of Gen Z is willing to abandon the standard 9-to-5 entirely to become a social media influencer, according to a Morning Consult survey.

But a new report from The Washington Post found there is one area where Gen Z is willing to put in the extra work: online side hustles, including building revenue from social media.

The outlet spoke to several Gen Z side hustlers making up to $8,900 a month, or six figures per year, doing everything from making financial advice videos to offering trip planning services.

Related: The Most Unexpectedly Popular Side Hustle of the Decade Has Low Startup Costs and High Markups

The effort, the report notes, is because Gen Z came of age during the 2008 financial crisis, spent crucial years of school remotely during the pandemic, and observed recent waves of layoffs as entry-level workers. Now, they’re trying to adjust to higher costs of living that appear to outpace wages.

“Things have changed to be able to just afford the normal stuff in suburban middle-class America,” Colin Stroud, a 24-year-old based in Columbus, Ohio, told The Washington Post. “You have to do extra stuff to do that.”

Stroud stated that he and his wife went from living paycheck to paycheck to making $3,000 last month with side hustles alone. He gained an audience after posting on LinkedIn about how to fly to Hawaii for “free” on credit card rewards points, and now makes money charging clients for consultations and trip planning.

Related: Gen Z’s Main Career Aspiration Is to Be an Influencer, According to a New Report

“Despite a strong labor market, many young people are struggling to find work, which could prevent them from achieving their financial goals, like renting their first apartment or paying down student loans,” said Courtney Alev, a consumer financial advocate at Credit Karma, in a March report from the company. “As a result, Gen Z is getting creative about ways to make money with many turning to social media and online platforms to earn some extra cash.”

According to the Credit Karma report, 47% of Gen Z stated that they made more money on social media than they did working a traditional 9-to-5 job.

The respondents used money from online side hustles to save money, invest, and travel.

Nearly half of Gen Zers and millennials who responded to another survey, this one by Lending Tree, stated that they always plan to have a side hustle.

The same survey showed that 80% of Gen Z and millennials with side hustles rely on the extra cash to make ends meet and that more than half of Gen Z ages 18 to 26 have a side hustle.

Related: A Popular Online ‘Side Hustle’ Course Is Under Investigation After Customers Complain About Its Deceptive Claims

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