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Generation Side Hustle: How the gig economy is preparing teenagers for the Future of Work

side hustle

High school students across the world got creative during the pandemic lockdown as they discovered new hobbies & passion projects and turned them into a side hustle.

While there were some who were busy binge-watching Netflix (remember the “Tiger King” phase?), there were many more who were selling crafts, making candles, and even selling customized poetry to make extra cash.

With abundant tech platforms available, it has never been easier to start a side hustle

You can sell your art on Instagram. Set up a Shopify store in a matter of minutes. Offer to develop websites using code-free platforms such as Wix or Squarespace or provide design services using Canva. 

The opportunities are endless. So is the growth.

A New Way to Learn

For decades, teenagers have formed the backbone of entry-level jobs such as serving food at restaurants or working as shop assistants. While these jobs help pay some bills, growth and learning opportunities are limited.

A great thing about the gig economy is that it welcomes everyone with open arms – even those who have no prior experience.

It’s a perfect starting point for teenagers who are looking to express their creativity and find out what they are passionate about. 

It is also an innovative way to learn new skills outside of academic knowledge.

According to UNICEF, more than half of South Asian youth do not have the skills necessary for employment in 2030. Another report says that young adults in the US lack important soft skills, like critical thinking and teamwork, needed to succeed at the workplace.

A hustle is a great way to fill the gap.

It teaches you to be entrepreneurial and life skills such as communication, money management and many more. In fact, a survey by Girls With Impact says that 53% of Gen Z expect they would be running their own companies -affirming the entrepreneurial spirit of this generation.

Even if you don’t start your own business, skills learnt from a hustle are valuable and are easily transferable across various career paths.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development agrees. It conducted a study in Australia, the UK and the US, and found that teenagers who combine part-time work with full-time education did better than expected in their school-to-work transitions.

So where does one start?

Getting a Head Start into the Future of Work

The first step is to explore what you are good at. Think about long-term projects and goals that can bring fulfilment. It gets you in a future-focused mindset and helps with discovering what you are truly passionate about.

Next, you can turn that into an amazing portfolio of work. Even without any prior experience, you can hop on to various gig platforms and start taking assignments. Within a few months, you will have a solid portfolio to demonstrate your talent.

Going forward, a portfolio is set to become more valuable than a professional degree. It’s a real-time showcase of your creative expression, talent and skills.

Shape your own career path, instead of choosing conventional streams. Tap into the gig economy to get started on your dream job!

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