(CBS Local) -- As COVID-19 fears rattle the markets and shake the economy, it might be a good time to find yourself a new or extra source of income.
An estimated 3.28 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, by far the largest number ever recorded for a single week. Analysts predict more eye-popping numbers in the coming weeks as layoffs and bankruptcies continue.
The dire economic situation could lead some of us to consider launching a small business or finding a side hustle.
There are things you can do to protect and grow your money in these uncertain times, says side hustle specialist Nicole Sauce, who works to help families build personal wealth by tapping into skills they already have and taking advantage of the "gig economy."
Sauce, host of the podcast Living Free in Tennessee, spoke with CBS Local on Monday:
CBS Local: There's a lot of multi-level marketing schemes out there that may be really enticing to people right now. How should people approach these situations?
Nicole Sauce: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Any opportunity that requires investment in advance and promises an easy and exponential payback should lead you to deeper inquiry into the how, how much and how long of the project. While it is possible to make money on MLM schemes, know that you will need to sell this as hard as anything you launch in order to have a chance at a potential payback. If you have never sold anything before, prospering from any MLM scheme will be more difficult. And if you examine the people who do the best on these sorts of programs, you will find that they are usually natural storytellers and sellers.
CBS: What's the most important thing to focus on financially?
NS: The most important thing to focus on financially is to develop ongoing financial stability into your life.
CBS: We all have "Shark Tank" ideas – what's your best advice for distinguishing between an idea that's actually possible versus a pipe dream that's more likely to lead to a wasted effort?
NS: If you are new to entrepreneurship, the biggest hurdle most people face is analysis paralysis. The best way to overcome this is to describe the life you want to live, from personal to business, and set a vision for your life. From there, choose three areas of focus that will move you toward your vision.
When you have this in place and a new idea comes, it is much easier to evaluate if it fits and is worth developing. You can measure if it is even something you will like, and how you can get started in developing a proof of concept that risks little to give you the information to know when or when not to "Go Big."
CBS: People who lost their jobs are looking for ways to make money. What are some things to consider before jumping into a new opportunity?
NS: Ask yourself: What is your motivation?
Making money takes work, but it is also simple. First, identify a need or want, then fill it. Do your best to jump in from a place of opportunity and let go of the fear.
If your motivation is quick money to cover bills, look at gig economy opportunities like Shipt, Uber Eats, or even home-based customer service by phone.
If it is a long-term change in your life and you can afford the time, consider building your own revenue stream from the creative opportunities that are currently available, such as creating and installing home lettuce growing systems, or helping to teach or entertain children who are out of school.
If you already have a side hustle, look to see if you can rapidly expand it to cover your financial needs.
While some sectors are being hit very hard right now, others are expanding as fast as they can to accommodate the change in the ways people are covering their basic needs and obtaining entertainment.
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