Prior to COVID-19 I had been an Uber Driver for 4 Years. A Weekend Warrior, almost 5000 rides, and I loved it. Then BOOM the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order was issued. My day job had me working from home. I stopped driving for the safety of my family and to make sure I stayed healthy for my day job. Being a managing partner of a small company in Grand Rapids, other people's jobs depend on my ability to do mine
Now I haven’t driven in over 5 months and I miss it. I miss getting people home safe, the sense of helping out. I miss the conversations (yes even when the riders were drunk). My driving is my therapy, my opportunity to get out and talk to other people! I really miss it. With COVID-19 I have no way of knowing when I will drive again or even IF I will drive again.
Jason and I have been talking about this in the last few weeks, which started when he began driving again (so far only food delivery). He is back out there! I envy him, but I also have little interest in food delivery. Sure the money would be nice, but that was never the main reason I drove. The main reason I drove was to help people, the fun and games and the adrenaline rush. Even after Uber changed the game the rush was still there, just different. If I am honest with myself, I have no clue as to whether or not I will be driving again - maybe after a vaccine is here. Sure, I can wear a mask, and I really do not mind them, but I wear glasses so my mask fogs up really easy, which is annoying. I also think masks can change people’s attitudes for the worse which also worries me a little. If that’s the case then I would rather not drive at all.
I have also found that I really like having my weekend back. I am spending more time with my family now and am actually getting things done around the house. When I was driving I was a zombie during the day but also feeling like I could not wait to get back out there; I guess I was hooked on driving... I still miss it!
As for the extra money Ubering was bringing home, I have a few other ideas up my sleeve. I am convinced that I can replace that income soon.
I don’t know if I will drive again, but If I don’t, I will sure miss it.
The idea of gig work seems very inviting and easy to get into, work when you want to and be your own boss, but it is not that easy.
Sure, getting approved for gig work is a fairly easy process, it just requires registering for a few different services, but from this point to actually making a living of it involves real work. No matter which gigs you choose, they all take experience and practice to get effective results.
Here are a few concepts we suggest as you get into gig work:
- Treat your gig work as WORK. Only then will you actually succeed. You have to put in real effort to get real results.
- Know how much money you need to make, by week, by day, maybe even by the hour. These are great goals as you work toward your needs.
- Remember you are working as a 1099 Contract Worker. This means you are NOT an employee, and the service you are working for is NOT withholding taxes. It is a good idea to stash away 30% of all you make for taxes.
- You are now an entrepreneur - this means a lot of your expenses can be deducted from your tax liability. Keep track of everything. We also highly recommend using a tax accountant to do your taxes. They will know exactly what you can deduct and what you can’t - well worth it.
- Find and use a community. There is a lot of helpful information, as well as good ideas, etc. to be had by joining a community. Please, JOIN the community - this means be a part of it. Don’t just sit back and expect others to dish about their experiences and tips. Being a part of the community means you take and give.
Finally, gig work changes very often - it is key that you are willing to change with it. Don’t put all your eggs into one basket. A service doing well now may not do well in 3 months. Always be willing to try something new, and be ready to change as the gig economy changes.
Pete lets us know how to file to get your money! How to file for the PUA unemployment money for Michigan Gig Economy Workers. Mostly Uber and Lyft Drivers.