Coronavirus’ impact has been swift.
While it can pay off to invest in a job that is your primary source of income, it can be crippling if that revenue stream is cut off. It’s why Lynn Richardson -- an author, entertainment executive and financial coach -- says you should have a “home-based” business, or side hustle, to supplement your income and make the most of what you may already be spending.
Here, Richardson shares some tips for finding and maintaining a side hustle, and you may be surprised where you can look.
1. Find a side hustle by taking inventory of your skills
Richardson suggests exploring your strengths and areas where your abilities and assets may easily transfer to develop side hustles,
“You have to ask yourself three questions,” she tells “GMA.” “What do you do naturally?” Second, “What are you skilled at? … You may think it’s no big deal, but it may be something someone else really needs.
Third, “What are you passionate about? What makes your heart beat? It doesn’t necessarily have to be fun -- it could be helping others,” Richardson says.
If you are a teacher, have you thought of tutoring? Are you skilled in-home care tasks such as landscaping or cleaning? Do you enjoy taking care of children or animals? Attorneys may be able to offer legal clinics, while human resources professionals could help job seekers with their résumés … the opportunities are plentiful with the right amount of creativity.
“[You can] start a home-based business using your natural gifts and talents [in] skill-based areas,” Richardson reiterates.
2: Make what you have work for you
“When you have a home-based business, and you run your business like a business and not a hobby, you get to write off things you use in your business that you would normally pay for anyway,” Richardson says.
She says the Internal Revenue Service provides more than 475 tax deductions for home-based business owners on such potentially eligible expenses as cellphone service, car leases and maintenance, meals and even your home.
You can learn more on the IRS website.
3: Get family involved
If your kids have eyes that are bigger than their wallet, Richardson says it may be time to involve them in your home-based business because, under some circumstances laid out by the IRS, you can hire them on employees.
“Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles spend thousands of dollars each year on items for the children they love, money they can never get back,” she says, pointing out potential tax deductions if certain criteria are met. “The kids can use that money to buy the things you were going to pay for anyway -- tuition, activities, vacations, school clothes and supplies, etc.”
“There are dozens of jobs for older children, [such as] filing, household chores, helping at events, social media, bookkeeping, graphic design, technical support on devices, customer service,” Richardson says, noting that even babies and toddlers could be independent contractors who model in still photos promoting your business or star as talent in a commercial.
While noting some exceptions, Richardson provides a few steps parents can take within this process to prepare kids for out-of-home employment.
“Prepare a job description, send an offer letter, establish payroll (direct deposit from your business account to a joint account with that child or get a payroll service if you desire), conduct performance reviews and report the wages to the IRS quarterly or annually if you hire independent contractors,” she says. Richardson adds that hiring other relatives can be an option for others, including adults, who may be under your care.
Dr. Lynn Richardson is a host, entertainment executive and financial coach who uses quick wit and a humorous presentation style to help others face their money issues, and achieve personal, professional and spiritual harmony. She is also the author of the best-sellers “Living Check to Monday: The Real Deal About Money, Credit, and Financial Security” and “The Symphony: A Guide to Creating and Balancing Multiple Streams of Income.” You can follow Richardson on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and her website.