Pay­ing bills re­quires side jobs

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Elizabeth Her­nan­dez

When 22-year-old Mar­guerite Hor­ton isn’t at her two part-time jobs — work­ing at a waste man­age­ment com­pany and as a sus­tain­abil­ity man­ager for a Den­ver cater­ing com­pany — the Louisville mil­len­nial likely can be found plug­ging away at her ecofriendly blog, In­sta­gram ac­count and on­line shop.

Un­less she’s tend­ing to the pups she dog-sits on the side.

While the idea of all that may leave some winded, Hor­ton doesn’t plan to slow down any-

time soon. She’s one of nearly four in 10 Amer­i­cans whose daily grind in­cludes a side job — or three — and is a part of the gen­er­a­tion more likely than any other age group to iden­tify as a “side hus­tler,” ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey this year from fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion web­site Bankrate.

“Mil­len­ni­als are more likely than mem­bers of other gen­er­a­tions to say they have a side hus­tle,” Bankrate’s Amanda Dixon wrote. “In fact, the odds of some­one earn­ing money from a sec­ond job de­cline with age.”

An­drew Hud­son, founder of well-known Colorado job board An­drew Hud­son’s Jobs List, isn’t sur­prised by the study’s find­ings. He’s found that most en­try-level jobs for re­cent col­lege grad­u­ates start at an an­nual in­come of about $30,000 to $40,000.

“That’s about what it started at when I grad­u­ated from col­lege in 1989,” Hud­son said.

“You think about all the ex­penses a mil­len­nial has to worry about right now: col­lege debt, cost of hous­ing in Colorado, tech­nol­ogy, cell­phones, health care and all these things we never had to worry about. These costs have all risen. It is lit­er­ally im­pos­si­ble for them to be able to sur­vive on a $35,000a-year salary at a so-called pro­fes­sional job.”

In 2015, 5.6 per­cent of Coloradans held down mul­ti­ple jobs, which was slightly higher than the na­tional av­er­age of 4.9 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to the most re­cent statis­tics avail­able from the Colorado Depart­ment of La­bor and Em­ploy­ment.

“The side hus­tle thing has been go­ing on a long time,” said Alexan­dra Hall, the depart­ment’s chief economist. “It’s also known as the gig econ­omy now be­cause it’s been pow­ered by tech­nol­ogy that makes the trans­ac­tion much eas­ier than it used to be. Back in the ’90s, it would have been more com­plex to make the ar­range­ment. Tech­nol­ogy is chang­ing things to make it much eas­ier to par­tic­i­pate.”

Tech­nol­ogy makes Hor­ton’s side hus­tle pos­si­ble.

Hor­ton moved to Colorado this past sum­mer af­ter grad­u­at­ing from the Univer­sity of Ver­mont, join­ing her twin sis­ter, who grad­u­ated from the Univer­sity of Colorado.

The sis­ters, raised by par­ents who owned a restau­rant, de­vel­oped a strong re- la­tion­ship with food and the com­plex is­sues that went with it — food waste, health, agri­cul­ture and be­yond. Dur­ing col­lege, Hor­ton along with her sis­ter and friends worked on a blog with a name too pro­fane to print that stood for strong re­la­tion­ships with peo­ple, food and the Earth.

Hor­ton helps de­sign sus­tain­able T-shirts that they re­pur­pose from thrift stores, as well as stick­ers, but­tons and posters, and sells them through the blog, which fea­tures con­tent about the en­vi­ron­ment, good eats and so­cial jus­tice is­sues.

On the week­ends, Hor­ton also uses the Rover app to find lo­cal dog owners will­ing to pay for some­one to walk or watch their pre­cious pups.

“We’re all just out of col­lege, so this is just a big tran­si­tion for us,” Hor­ton said. “We’re still try­ing to fig­ure out what ca­reer we want to do or if we’re happy with what we’re do­ing right now. There’s a lot of un­cer­tainty, but com­fort in know­ing what we’re do­ing now might not be what we’re do­ing in four months.”

While the dogs and the blog help sup­ple­ment Hor­ton’s in­come by about 10 per­cent to 15 per­cent, she views her side hus­tles more as pas­sion projects that keep her pur­su­ing in­ter­ests she loves.

“I like get­ting to do dif­fer­ent things,” Hor­ton said. “No day looks ex­actly the same, and I get to move around, be around dif­fer­ent peo­ple, make those per­sonal con­nec­tions with new peo­ple all the time. I don’t know if I ever re­ally want to work full time on just one thing.”

Bran­don Wong, a 24year-old Ar­vada res­i­dent, is also us­ing his new side hus­tle as a launch­ing pad for his dream job.

Wong works about 40 hours a week at a Big 5 Sport­ing Goods store. On his days off, he be­comes a part-time fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tor through Five Rings Fi­nan­cial, grow­ing a clien­tele in the fi­nan­cial in­dus­try.

Wong, a grad­u­ate of Metropoli­tan State Univer­sity of Den­ver, turns into his own boss when he’s not work­ing re­tail, help­ing ed­u­cate peo­ple about their fi­nan­cial fu­tures.

“My goal is to cre­ate a side hus­tle that turns into a ca­reer,” Wong said. “I don’t want to have a 9-to-5 sched­ule. I don’t want to have a boss who dic­tates when I take a break. I want a lifestyle where I’m con­trol­ling my own time and liv­ing my own dream.”

Not hav­ing days off was hard for Wong at first.

“It was re­ally ex­haust­ing,” Wong said. “But it got to the point where I was look­ing at my big­ger goals, and it mo­ti­vated me to not think about the crazy hours. We live in Colorado. It’s ex­pen­sive. This gives me the op­por­tu­nity to save up and buy a house and have fu­ture col­lege sav­ings for my fu­ture kids and re­tire­ment sav­ings while mak­ing the money I need at the same time.”

Hud­son hears from se­nior work­ing pro­fes­sion­als who com­plain about their mil­len­nial em­ploy­ees’ en­ti­tle­ment, grip­ing that the younger work­ers stay in one place for a cou­ple of years and then move on.

“Then I hear from mil­len­ni­als who say they don’t mind pay­ing their dues, but they gotta pay the rent,” Hud­son said. “And I get that. The Amer­i­can dream where you pay your dues for decades and move up in your ca­reer in your 40s and buy a house and get mar­ried and have kids has be­come such a dis­tant il­lu­sion. You don’t see peo­ple work­ing for the same com­pany to get the gold watch any­more.”

Andy Cross, The Den­ver Post

Mar­guerite Hor­ton, left, and her twin sis­ter, Re­becca, work on sten­cil­ing a T-shirt last month for their blog­mer­chan­dise shop from their home in Louisville.

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