What does a delivery courier do when their business has been slowed or stopped due to this pandemic? How do you replace that income?
For some, the increase in deliveries due to all the shelter at home orders has increased income for delivery couriers. Ironically, in many places just the opposite has happened. This is because the increase in delivery supply (drivers) is greater than the increase in delivery demand.
For others, the risk just isn't worth it. You may decide it's better to sit this one out.
But can you afford to lose that income? What do you do now that your stream of income has disappeared?
Add to this, the uncertainty of the future of gig economy delivery.
So then in the midst of all this craziness, the New York State Supreme Court just ruled that Postmates couriers are employees. This is not the same as legislation like AB5 in California where they define who can and cannot be used as contractors. With legislation you can dance around the legalese and try to make a case that the legislation doesn't apply to you. This is an actual court decision, and it's from the highest court in the state, that says, yes, this DOES apply to a company. The repercussions can be huge because the decision can be used to apply to similar gig delivery companies like Grubhub, Doordash, Uber Eats, Instacart, Amazon Flex, and any others that use a similar model.
This is a huge deal in New York. It pretty much means that Postmates and similar gig companies have a decision to make. They have to roll out an employee model OR they have to shut down in New York.
While it impacts New York only, it could be the start of a nationwide ripple effect.
Could that be the end of gig delivery? How will that impact you? Would you want to be an employee if that were the only option?
This may be the best time to find that opportunity that is the next big thing for you.
Well known entrepreneur Pat Flynn tells his story of a similar time in his own life in his book “Let Go: How to Transform Moments of Panic into a Life of Profits and Purpose (this is an affiliate link). He was an architect, about to get married, when the crash of 2008 happened. I had a couple friends who were architects that were laid off at that time. The same thing happened to Pat. Now what?
Pat will tell you it may have been one of the best things to happen to him. He discovered other things he could do to earn a living and in the end, when things were recovering and he was offered the chance to go back to work, he turned it down. He was making more money now on his own.
This may be the best thing to happen to you as well, depending on what you do with this time.
My personal decision to pause delivery work.
Just recently, I decided to use this as an opportunity to ramp up many of my own plans and put delivery on pause. I stated back in Episode 63 that I feel safe when delivering. I do feel safe and I take precautions when I am delivering.
But I also preach to remember your why. My personal reason for doing delivery is it supports my ability to work on some other projects I'm passionate about. I wrote a bit more about all that recently. I've always known that the time will come where I'll scale back my delivery work as I scale up my other projects.
Delivery apps seem to have opened the floodgates to drivers in order to handle the increase in demand. It's happened to the point of creating longer waits between orders at a scale I've not experienced in the two years of delivery.
I was asked on the Facebook page yesterday what the final straw was for me. It was a few things really. One, while I've felt a little more sense that my going out and delivering could be serving a greater good, I also felt like if there were more than enough people doing delivery, I could feel good about stepping back. That was definitely happening.
The other is, I created for myself a Paid Time Off system (Episode 30) where if I needed to take time off for illness or whatever, or for vacation, I could keep my income steady. Between that and now some of the stimulus package, this was the perfect opportunity to take more time on my projects without hurting my income.
What can you do?
One thing you can do is look at alternate sources of income. There are work from home opportunities out there.
Once caveat to that option though is, a lot of other people are looking for the same kind of opportunities. In the same way the delivery market is flooded by drivers right now, some of these other options may be flooded as well.
One of the best outlets for a variety of freelance opportunities is a site called Appjobs. I'm a big fan of one stop shopping, which is why I have an affiliate relationship with CommercialInsurance.Net. That's why I like Appjobs, it gives you one source to find a lot of opportunities. The link here is an affiliate link, meaning that if you sign up for any opportunities through that link, I may receive some compensation which helps keep this website operating.
When you go to Appjobs, you will select your city. You then get a whole list of gig economy app-based opportunities. Many are ones that require moving about, which may be a problem during all this self quarantine. For example, in Denver I see opportunities for Caregiver work, a number of handyman opportunities through TaskRabbit, or assembling Ikea furniture.
There are also a number of home based gigs. As I look at the Denver market, there are opportunities for tax prep, grading, testing websites, and taking surveys. You may find some options that supplement your income. However, with everyone and their dog sitting at home (including 2 very needy black labs lying on the ground next to me), the market for these opportunities may be overwhelmed. You may find something of interest there however.
Move on From that Gateway Drug.
I say this often: This gig work can be a gateway drug into a full blown entrepreneurial life. You find out that you love the freedom. Not having a boss is pretty special. You love the no deadlines, making your own decisions, all of that.
My theme around this website is be the boss, right? I really recommend that people treat this like a business. But we all know there are some things that are't quite the same. We can't negotiate the fees, we're still tied to the app and how they do things. There's a lot of control still by these delivery apps. As long as you're working in a situation where the other party completely controls the circumstances, you'll never totally get away from that.
But you're hooked on the independence. Those parts of being self employed? They're addictive, aren't they?
That's why I call this gig delivery thing a gateway drug. You get a taste of the freedom. But now maybe you're thinking…. even more freedom would be nice.
If you've ever wanted to fully dive in and start your own business, now's a good chance to dive in.
Where do you start?
That, my friend, depends on you.
What do you love to do? What are you passionate about? Start with that.
That's what started me off on this whole thing. That's the thing that really brought me to starting my other projects. I made the decision with my passion for ministry with older adults that, if no one is hiring in that, I'll find other ways to get involved. This whole thing is my why and that's how I chose to go into delivery, to support doing that. It got me into doing this website. Eventually this website might provide some income that helps offset delivery income, and I can deliver less and work on Paradigm (my ministry project) more.
A lot of that thinking was inspired by this clip from Gary Veynerchuk (often known as Gary Vee).
I don't know if anyone ever did Smurf it up.
This takes a lot of thinking. A lot of dreaming. There's a lot of soul searching. But let's get back to that question: What is your why? Is there something about your why that is crying out, just screaming out, that you want to do more about that?
Is this your opportunity? Maybe this is the time to listen to that.
Smurf it up!!!
Understand that usually things like this don't just take off right away.
Patience is huge. This website, I ran this completely out of my pocket with no attempt to add any form of revenue, for more than a year before I tried doing anything beyond that. Only recently have I added a couple of affiliate options that so far, are helping cover the cost of doing this. Now a lot of people are smarter about how to do all this. So it takes time.
I look at Pete Albano who has a Paid to Drive Youtube channel. He's closing in on 20,000 subscribers, but it didn't happen out of nowhere. He's been doing this a couple years and here's the thing that I've noticed – that really made a difference. Pete has been incredibly consistent. He went for the longest time with only a few subscribers. But every day, he'd put something up. He started a vlog and sometimes was sick as a dog but he put something up.
The whole point is, it's all about patience. And it's all about getting started.
Where can you find ideas?
I think the best thing you can do is look for inspiration. There are some out there that really inspired me, and they helped me see how they were thinking through things. If you're sitting there thinking, hmmmm….. maybe I really want to go further… start the process. Start thinking and dreaming.
Here are three books that really helped me go forward. As a reminder, links to Amazon are affiliate links, I mentioned more about that a bit earlier.
48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller. I think Dan started out really trying to help people think about job searches, and a lot of his book is structured around that. However, he also helps people think through how they can turn their passion into ways of making income. That's either as an employee or self employed. There was a lot in his book that just helped me think outside the box.
Let Go by Pat Flynn. I mentioned this earlier, but he uses his example of how he was able to go from a time of panic about current situations (sound familiar?) to a pivot that has been incredibly profitable for him.
Crush It! by Gary Veynerchuk. Gary really delves into how you can use your passions in combination with social media. Again, check out the video.
All three of these guys have podcasts as well. I listen to all of them, there's just a lot of inspiration.
I'm not sure I can find any instant income answers
Like I said earlier, some of the app jobs might be ways you can still earn some money. But it's going to be just like delivery, everyone else is looking for those things.
Now you may find ideas that can instantly bring in income. If you do, please let me know. I'd love to hear the things people are able to do and share ideas.
That said, I think there's some help coming with the stimulus package. There's going to be some immediate cash, but there's also some expansion of unemployment to include gig workers and self employed people who are impacted. I don't know the details on how that will work. I'll be monitoring that. For the time being, delivery is still an option. So, if you CHOOSE to stay home, either for safety reasons or because of how much it's slowed down, how much do you qualify? Those are the things I want to find out before I say a lot more about it. But there's some help that can offset some of this time off.
But what I'm really recommending is, use this time. Take this opportunity. Explore your passions. And play the long game here. Some of this stuff takes time. But the thing is, the longer you wait to get started, the longer the time.
The opportunity is there. Maybe now is the time to pull the trigger on going after the dreams that you really want to pursue.
So let's get started, shall we?