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Editor's Note - This is a special guest article submitted to Brady Today by Elijah Dawson

Mental health matters, but so does having a source of income. Yet, mental health struggles can make holding down a traditional job very difficult. Thankfully the growing side gig economy is helping to tackle this complex problem and making work easier for more people. Keep reading to find out more about side gigs, mental health, and how you can get started.

Side Gig Basics to Minimize Stress

We’ll get into the mental health benefits of working in the gig economy in just a moment. First, let’s talk about the steps you will want to take to keep your gig from causing you more stress and/or anxiety. These are things so many gig workers miss and include:

Setting Up an LLC 

If you are thinking about starting a business in Texas as a freelancer, you should look into the advantages of operating as a limited liability company (LLC). An LLC will give you personal asset protection, among other perks. Best of all, you can easily set up your LLC using a formation service, which makes the process quick, simple, and very affordable.

Saving for Taxes 

All too many people get excited about the flexibility of working in the gig economy that they forget this extremely important step. You will likely need to save for your tax obligations, which you can pay in installments — although operating under an LLC should reduce your tax burden. 

Creating a Budget 

Most traditional jobs issue paychecks bi-weekly or even monthly, and you may have your budget set up to accommodate this. Paychecks also tend to be predictable. With a side gig, you will be paid more sporadically. If you are working as a freelancer, there’s also the risk that some clients will pay late — or worse, not at all. This isn’t meant to scare you away from a side gig but rather, to ensure your budget is prepared.

Mental Health Benefits of Working a Side Gig

Knowing how to get started with a side gig without causing yourself any undue anxiety or issues is crucial for protecting your mental health. Now that you know how to do so, we can talk about some of the reasons why taking on a side gig can be beneficial for your health and happiness: 

Side Gigs Tend to Be Very Flexible 

If you are living with anxiety, depression, or a mood disorder, you know that some days can be better or worse than the rest. With a typical job, there’s the expectation for you to push through the bad days and show up to work anyhow. Side gigs offer much more flexibility in your schedule. 

If you wake up to a bad mental health day, you may be able to simply take that day off. To do so without putting more pressure on yourself, you should look for ways to boost your productivity on good days. That way, taking a day to take care of yourself won’t throw you off completely.

There’s Less Pressure With Gigs

Another decided perk of working a gig is that you are your own boss. You may also be your only coworker. If you tend to get anxious in social situations, this may be music to your ears. It can also be pretty freeing to work without having to worry about others’ expectations. 

At the same time, if you work a side gig from home, things can get pretty lonely. Feelings of isolation can make some mental health symptoms worse. If you find yourself longing for company, seek out connections by taking your work to a local cafe or meeting friends for lunch. 

Side gigs can offer the flexibility and freedom you need to manage your mental health and still be able to pay the bills. Because while financial stability matters, your mental well-being is also very important. Look into potential side gigs and see if this sort of work may be right for you.