Parents should encourage their children to start their own summertime side gigs to earn extra money and learn valuable life and business skills, according to a Melbourne finance expert.
Dr Steve Enticott believes students should look beyond casual and part-time positions in retail and hospitality and use their school and university holiday breaks to create side gigs or micro businesses instead.
“Most teenagers are not going to earn a lot of money working a few hours a week in a supermarket or fast food outlet and with university and school students all competing for the same jobs, it’s tougher than ever to land a summer job,” Dr Enticott said.
“Filling out the paperwork, sitting through the selection process, doing an unpaid trial and then waiting for shifts to be allocated to you – if you’re lucky to get the job – is not much fun when you’re young,” he said.
“Starting your own side gig or microbusiness, especially one that is based on what you’re good at and what you already like doing, is going to be personally more rewarding than stacking supermarket shelves or taking drive-through orders.”
Dr Enticott believes the rise of the gig economy and internet-based businesses present a great opportunity for young people to become entrepreneurial.
A 2019 Deloitte survey found 81 per cent of Generation Z (aged 16 to 24) were attracted to freelance work and the gig economy because of the ability to earn more money and work the hours they want.
“Australians are prepared to pay for convenience and young people should be taking advantage of that shift in attitude,” Dr Enticott said.
“A side gig can be more lucrative than a traditional summer job because you can set your own price. When you work in retail or hospitality you earn a junior wage, but you’ll often find your shifts are cut as you get older and the pay rates increase.”
Dr Enticott believes there are many benefits to having a side hustle when you’re still at school.
“It allows a young person to be independent, creative and resourceful. You get to learn first-hand about money, the economy, accounting, marketing and advertising and it gives you a head start in the jobs market because future employers will be impressed with your initiative and the skills you have developed.
Dr Enticott, the author of a book on side gigs called The Man With A Plan, has the following advice for teenagers looking to start a summertime side gig.
- Research the market – Look at what services people are willing to pay for and create a business around these. Washing cars, running errands, delivering goods, looking after pets or house-sitting are all great ways to earn money.
- Turn your hobbies into a business – If you’re creative, for example you love drawing or cooking, you can easily sell your goods at markets or online.
- Get your parents involved – Recruit mum and dad to help you promote your business through their social media accounts or by helping you make and distribute flyers. If you’re under 18, use their eBay store or PayPal account.
- Don’t wait – You need to be at least 15 to get a job in a supermarket or fast food outlet, but you can start earning money through side gigs at a younger age if you have a great idea and people are willing to pay you. You don’t need a tax file number and you’re unlikely to earn enough to pay tax.
- Chose how and when you work – decide how much time to invest in your side gig and what hours to devote to it. If it’s something you like doing, it won’t feel like work and you’ll probably want to spend more time making it successful. You can easily wind it back or stop when classes start.
“The workforce is constantly changing so young people need to think outside the box if they want the skills and experience to make it in the future,” Dr Enticott said.
“There’s nothing wrong with working in retail and hospitality if that’s what you want to do, but I believe there are so many other opportunities that young people can tap into and the school holidays are a great time to explore these options,” he said.
Dr Steve Enticott is the Senior Partner and founder of CIA Tax a personal tax-based business and investment practice based in Melbourne. He is the author of three books, including The Man With A Plan, and a regular guest on Channel 31’s Dollars With Sense and Ticker TV. He has also written for the Australian Financial Review.