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Modernized side hustles gaining momentum in the Southern Tier

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(WBNG) -- Experts say a growing number of people in the Southern Tier are pursuing modernized side jobs, but the field has a lot to be determined.

Vestal resident Kristina Ellis works full-time at Catholic Charities of Broome County. She also drives for Uber and sells beauty products for a company called LimeLife by Alcone.

Her sales gig primarily involves using her smartphone to go live on Facebook and post on social media to promote products, all from home or on the go.

Nearby, mother of three Tiffany Johnson works full-time at Riverview Manor, while also working as a distributor for a company called Young Living.

She sells essential oil products online, also through Facebook live and social media from the comfort of her home or on the go.

Labor Market Analyst for the New York State Department of Labor Christian Harris said a new, modernized version of side hustling has arrived in the Southern Tier.

"It's real, it's big and it's influencing our lives largely in a positive way," said Harris.

At this stage of the game, however, experts are still trying to piece together what exactly this new type of work really is.

Harris explained, "It's tough to track, not impossible to track."

He highlights this kind of side hustle strongly differs from the traditional work setting and points out a major draw; the ability to work as your own boss.

"I think the very essence of it is about self- empowerment," explained Harris.

Working as your own boss is something people in our area are experiencing.

Ellis described her side hustle, saying, "If I'm done for the night, I can go home, at work like my full-time job, I can't really just say alright, I've had enough today."

Desiring some extra cash, but not a traditional part time job, a flexible side hustle was the perfect match.

In one night of Ubering, Ellis said she makes anywhere from $40 to $100.

As for her beauty sales gig, it takes up 25-40 hours of her week, bringing in an additional $150 to 300 a month.

Johnson enjoys similar perks.

"The only pressure that's there is whatever pressure you put on yourself," she said.

She earns about $500 to $700 dollars a month for roughly 10 hours of work a week.

"My goals are set pretty high because why not? Who doesn't want that financial freedom?" she asked.

While these women supplement their full-time jobs, the question remains, are side gigs on there own, sustainable to make a living?

Harris responded, "That's the question, that is the question, is it?"

But regardless, he said, "I think it would only grow as other industry categories try to jump on this."

Harris explained in order to gather statistics on this up and coming work, the goal is to design a straightforward question to be added to a distributed survey.

Governor Andrew Cuomo addressed the gig economy in his 2020 State of the State address. He plans to bring up legislation to ensure all workers in New York have needed benefits and protections.

Julia Gorman

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