With the changes brought upon by the pandemic, earning extra money from various “side hustles” has taken its toll. However, there are people who believe there are means to solve this issue.
The restrictions of the pandemic doesn’t mean that the side-hustle culture is completely dying out. Lee Swanson, an associate professor of management and marketing at the Edwards School of Business, says the pandemic hasn’t limited opportunities for additional jobs.
“If you follow entrepreneurs long enough, something like the pandemic almost feels like just another thing,” Swanson said. “From an entrepreneurial perspective, it’s just another thing that creates more opportunities and illuminates some other ones.”
Abhineet Goswami, president of the International Students’ Association and the incoming USSU vice-president operations and finance, took advantage of one of those opportunities. Just after the pandemic struck last year, he got into an accident that left him hospitalized for nearly two months. As he recovered, he began painting on the advice of Marlessa Wesolowski, the resident artist at St. Paul’s Hospital.
Goswami started to sell his paintings. He also gave a lot of his paintings away, especially to the hospital staff who treated him. He found some interested buyers, but did not find a large market for his paintings in Saskatoon. He paints with a combination of a brush and his fingers, and he focuses on both realist and abstract styles.
Although Goswami was fortunate enough to take on a side hustle out of interest rather than necessity, there are other people who have been forced to take on side gigs to make ends meet.
Swanson says that more people have taken on side hustles during the pandemic for this reason.
“There’s the issue of necessity,” Swanson said. “There will be some people out there that will be picking up anything else they can in order to maintain the lifestyle they were used to.”
Students and other young workers have been among those hit hardest by the pandemic.
One of Goswami’s platform points when he was running to be the USSU vice-president of operations and finance was student empowerment. He has the idea to open a market where students can profit from the sale of their work.
“One of the things that are in my control is to set up a student market where students can sell their businesses’ products, which they make, and promote them so they can earn money, which can help them in their education, their survival [and] their daily life,” Goswami said.
Goswami says that the students’ union giving students the opportunity to market and sell their work will empower them. Not only will students get the chance to earn some much-needed money, they will also be able to develop business knowledge.