HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - In Mississippi, the median household annual income is just over $40,000. It’s right at $16,000 less than the median income across the country, and it’s growing more and more common for people to pick up a side hustle to stay ahead.
WDAM caught a ride with a man doing just that on a platform recently introduced to the Pine Belt.
“I’m a single father, and I do the right thing. I take care of my daughter,” said Daryl Hebda, a part-time Uber driver.
Hebda has a full-time job, but he pulls out of park when he can to drive his family to a destination of comfort.
“I do have a second job, which is more full-time and more demanding than this job,” Hebda said.
He, just like nearly four in 10 Americans, according to a report by Bankrate, is picking up a side hustle.
“This is about the only job I could do that would work with my other schedule,” Hebda said.
Hebda said he makes enough money at his job in restaurant management, but it’s a cushion for his costs.
Uber, a ride-sharing service, is just one example of a possible side hustle recently available here in the Pine Belt area.
“It just supplies a little extra money. It’s easy,” Hebda said.
The Bankrate report says 59 percent of people with side gigs do it for disposable income.
The report said those most likely to hop on a hustle are men and millennials.
“Uber is more of a secondary income for me,” Hebda said.
“Because millennials are contending with record levels of student loans and unemployment, they are extremely likely to side hustle,” said Stephanie O’Connell, a financial expert.
Thirty-eight percent of people said they do it to make ends meet.
Meanwhile, Hebda hits the gas on the opportunity to drive Uber as ride-hailing companies make moves to expand services into rural and remote areas, according to the Pew Research Center.
“I love the job. I wish there were more riders. Because like I said I love it. It’s easy, easy money,” Hebda said.
The bank rate report states 36 percent of people make at least $500 a month doing side jobs.
Financial experts said there are some possible downsides.
“Some of the cons of a side hustle are burn-out or living beyond your means because you become overly dependent on your side hustle,” O’Connell said.
Hebda’s passengers add to his pockets with a particular person in mind.
“Half the money that I make goes in the account for my daughter. My daughter is 17, she’s about to get out of high school, and I need to work on her future. This is the only other way I could do that,” Hebda said.
Earning a second source of income is a method millions are catching onto with ride-sharing services becoming an option in rural areas.
“I must chase the money. As I said, the money doesn’t come to you,” Hebda said.
Ride-sharing services like Uber are just one example of side gigs becoming popular to pad those pockets. Some other side hustles topping the list are online freelancing, blogging, tutoring, renting out your car or house and buying and reselling.