Is It Time for Employers to Embrace the Side Hustle?


Tech Trends for Networking and Trade Fairs


Interviews with Dr. Michael Barbera and Michael Spremulli


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The pandemic made people develop and discover skills fast, to fill the void caused by the sudden loss of a job and abrupt transformation to working from home. Mass layoffs and significant loss of work hours forced millions of people to look for alternative sources of income. Welcome to the age of the side hustle. The gig economy was already growing like weeds in summer but the pandemic kicked it into high gear. But on the brink of normalcy and the end to the pandemic, will employers embrace or discourage workers from keeping the side hustle?

In this episode of Geeks Geezers Goolization, Dr. Michael Barbera, Chief Behavioral Officer at Clicksuasion Labs, shares its most recent research from the 2021 Consumer Marketing Trends on how side hustles and behavioral economic trends will change the way employers think about their employees. He also discusses trends such as home-centric, hybrid lifestyle, employee activism, and main street.

In the second segment, Michael Spremulli dives into innovative virtual networking and trade fair software that might change the way businesses and employees think about marketing, sales, and travel.

Segment #1: Dr. Michael Barbera

Dr. Barbera reveals how alternative income sources or “side hustles” are becoming a trend. Due to the pandemic, prices are increasing, consumers consume and stock more necessities, but salaries remain untouched. Employees now look for another avenue to increase their income. In fact, the average W-2 employee is now working 13 hours per week from a side hustle and earning $5,000 annually.  Studies have also shown that 49% of the U.S. population now has a side hustle to diversify their annual household income. Employers will have to rethink their policies in order to support their employees, otherwise, they will lose them.

Segment #2: Mike Spremulli

Expanding your network through events is a must for businesses of any scale. Mike discussed how virtual events he recently attended might change event organizer’s approach of conducting events on a massive scale by utilizing virtual or hybrid technologies.  Mike and Ira also exchanged networking app ideas including Hopin and Lunchclub.


  • “The average W-2 worker is working 13 hours per week over 4 separate days.” [6:54]
  • “When employee activism occurs, the public relations and human resources are stuck in a reactive position.” [12:09]
  • “There will be joy, happiness, and excitement but it will be elastic. With it comes fear, anxiety, and uncertainty.” [19:26]
  • “Necessity is the mother of invention.” [34:06]

Podcast Notes

Average Employees Working Side Hustles

“The average W-2 worker is working 13 hours per week over 4 separate days.”[6:54]

The average W-2 employee earns $5,000 annually from a side hustle. To keep your talented employees as long as possible and make them happy, some employers embrace and support these side hustles by providing flexible time and even business training to ensure a better quality of life. Other employers hire one employee for two part-time jobs within the same company giving the perception that one job is a side hustle and offers a safety feature in case one job expires.

Generations Differ in Ideologies

“When employee activism occurs, the public relations and human resources is stuck in a reactive position.” [12:09]

Dr. Michael explains how Generation X and older believe in the separation of their personal life, culture, beliefs, and ideologies to their workplace whereas younger generations believe that their employers should react based on how their employees feel. This becomes a turning point for either the public relations or human resources to create a communication strategy to keep their employees and customers satisfied while sustaining their brand image holistically.

What New Normal Looks Like

“There will be joy, happiness, and excitement but it will be elastic. With it comes fear, anxiety, and uncertainty.” [19:26]

Even though the virus will be controlled in the future, maintaining COVID-related policies is still a must to have the perception of safety. It would only apply to workplaces but also to social events. With anxiety and uncertainty permeating the populace since the inception of the pandemic, preventive measures to ensure their safety while keeping them happy is a no-brainer.

The Future of Networking and Trade Fairs

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” [34:06]

Michael shared his experiences with the two innovative virtual networking and event platforms, Hopin and Hyperfair. Hopin is a platform where the system pairs you randomly with someone to explore the potential to do business. It’s speed dating for business networking. Each meet-up is limited to three minutes. Hyperfair on the other hand is a platform that mimics a real-life trade show where you can “walk” around like in a real trade show except all done virtually. Both these technologies are worth looking into as it is likely more and more events will be online or hybrid.


The Geeks, Geezers & Googlization TV Show is live every Wednesday at 1 PM ET on Facebook, YouTube, Talk 4 TV, and broadcast on W4CY Radio, part of Talk 4 Radio on the Talk 4 Media Network.  The podcast is also available on Talk 4 Podcasting.

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