Why So Many Millennials Have a Side-Gig

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Millennials hustle hard. You may have heard that 4 million American currently have a side-gig. So what exactly is a side-gig? A smaller job that you do in addition to your main job to make a little extra cash.

Millennials are known for being the generation with side hustles. That’s because the people most likely to have side hustles are thos aged 18 to 26, and some of them are making upwards of $500 a month.

Right now, about half of all Millennials have a side-gig. So now that I’ve shown you the numbers, you know that side-gigs are a big deal for us. When I was in college I had a small internship as a side-gig where I’d run social media campaigns for local businesses. I also have friends who have side-gigs like dogsitting, housesitting, babysitting, and driving for Uber.

“I started driving for Uber when I heard from a friend that they made about $200 more during the week just driving after work... I only drive on weekends and holidays but it gives me that extra cash to save for a vacation at the end of summer..” - Jane, 28, Salt Lake City, Utah

That means a lot of people are using their free time to make more money. So, why have millennials latched on to this trend while baby boomers and Gen Xers continue to live on one paycheck?

We know how to use our phones to make money.

Smart phones have changed the game for working millennials. We have potential income at our fingertips, and can make money through a list of apps like Poshmark, TaskRabbit, Rover, Fiverr and iPoll.

Not only are the opportunities easily available, but they’re convenient. Translation: you don’t even have to leave your house! As long as you have a strong internet connection, and you’re always contactable, you can work from the couch or while lounging by the pool. Having a side-gig means having a flexible, convenient, easy way of bringing in more income for yourself.

Basically, you can use your phone to make up to $500 a month on the side. Not bad.

The top side-gigs for millennials are selling items online, clothing and accessories, cleaning, marketing, and cooking and baking. And what are we using our side-gigs for? Millennials are experience-seekers after all...oh, and living is getting more expensive!

In some cities, the cost of living has increased drastically in the last few years. On top of that, Millennials have been name the “wanderlust” generation because they love to travel so much. In order to afford all that travel, as well as pay upwards of $1,000 in rent in some major cities, it’s no wonder Millennials are taking up side-gigs. Millennials also love local products, and top-tier technology. These things don’t come cheap!

If you’re a millennial looking for extra cash, consider taking up a side-gig. Create a budget, pick a savings goal (a week in Hawaii, maybe?) and figure out what you’re passionate about. It’s time to turn that passion into a paycheck!

Do you have a side hustle? Tell us about it!

I took a hit for Millennials, so you don’t have to.

There are two — maybe three — sides to every story. If you’re fully invested in the virality of a recent scandalous article circulating the internet that talks about my alleged “search for Instagram fame,” here’s my side of the story. Straight from the source. 

Who Wants to be Instagram Famous 

Let’s start with something very basic. Why do you think every mention of this supposed “need” or “search” for “Instagram fame” was an article title and not a direct quote? Because who in their logical left-side of the brain a) actually believes they can be Instagram famous and b) who would ever admit that? Add in a c) why would that be something for me to achieve?

For more than 5 years now, I’ve worked hard to pursue my career in Public Relations and Marketing. One that I’ve excelled in and continue to be praised for by peers, colleagues and industry friends — heck yeah for self-confidence! In recent years, the word influencer has popped on and off my desk and with the social media visibility I already had, I’ve become quite the inner-circle guru on all things influencer and digital marketing. Doesn’t hurt that I’ve built up an audience of my own over the years. 

As the story tells, I came to NYC in 2013 for a dream internship. Those days, nothing was paid so I was living in NYC, fully paying for the rent and exaggerated Lifestyle, on $100 per month and a handful of plastic. Flash-forward to my post-college full-time entry job at industry standards of about $35,000 annually where I was still using those handy dandy plastics to help curate my Instagram-worthy Lifestyle. This meant constant online shopping for a big closet (yes, I developed a thing for personal style), endless Açaí bowls and brunches (I never cooked a day in my life post-grad), and at around 2016 a need to feed my newly acquired travel bug (thanks for that one, ex-boyfriend). Of course, over the course of my career I quickly started to build on my personal wealth, but without any sense of financial literacy I was merely adhering to paying a minimum payment on time and disproportionally continuing to spend on a lifestyle that could not catch up with my means. 

Let’s Talk About Debt, Baby

I want to make something clear if this is as far down as you’ll read. I have no credit card “debt” as I write this, except for the $50-$200 on one of my cards becase I usually put a thing or two on it  each month just to keep it alive (hits “send payment” as we speak). Most U.S. based news already told you this if you read the whole article, and most International news omitted this piece to scandalize how irresponsible Americans are about their money. 

It’s funny to me that everyone’s so enamoured with the $10,000 number. In my interview to NY Post I was asked “about how much credit card debt do you feel you accumulated over time,” and my casual response was “I have no idea, maybe $10k?” To me, that was well under the average of $16,000 (look it up) and probably accurate given I had $1,000 here, $2,000 there and a little residual balance everywhere. By the start of 2017, I had already chipped off about a third of that which I realized after sending verification documents to Business Insider — the only publication that actually fact-checked and crunched the numbers. This was natural, as by this point I was making about double the salary I had as an entry-level PR gal. Lifestyle creep, ya’ll. 

By the start of 2018, I was clear on my credit card debt entirely, and clear of the dirty habits that got me there. And this was only achieved by being transparent with myself about my finances and making repayment the priority. The wake up call came when I was planning my move to New York City over summer 2016 and I tallied up how much I’d actually accumulated. “Shoot, am I really going to enjoy NYC if I’m spending money each month to pay off this lousy debt,” I thought to myself. Because of this, I planned to live my first year or so in NYC by living well under my means in order to quickly eliminate the credit card bills that were haunting me. I took the under $1,000 apartment in Manhattan’s North Pole, went out with friends just about a handful of times each month, and learned how to cook (what a concept) so I could do more groceries and less spending on dining out. I also kicked the online shopping addiction in the butt and made use of the closet I’d already built with services like Rent the Runway. The one thing I did continue - and kicked into overdrive - was my traveling. However, this time I was doing it well under my budget with the hacks, miles, and about $1,500 of Delta credit, I’d accumulated through jet-setting the previous years. There was a nice pay-off for something.

Thankfully, my finances were never in such a dire place that I was bankrupt or in a dangerous situation because of icky credit card debt. Plus, I was lucky to continue to earn more money through a strong focus on my offline career, paid partnerships with brands who wanted my Instagram audience’s attention, and a little bit of luck in the crypto craze. I’m very thankful it was “easy” for me, as I know this is not the norm or reality for many Americans struggling daily with debt. In all this, I also became rather obsessed with my personal finances. I made a “financial health” document to help friends become transparent about their finances, developed an endless list of life hacks and shortcuts to doing things I loved on a dime, and even gave myself “dates with my bank account” where I cracked open wine and played with my numbers to decrease debt and increase investments.

My next step is to work with a professional to help me continue to build on these habits and chip away at student loan debt so I can truly be debt-free. I recently stumbled on The Financial Gym — financial advisors that don’t intimidate you and share my common belief that talking about personal finances shouldn’t be taboo. I recommend everyone taps a professional as there’s so much to learn. And as I generate nuggets of knowledge, I promise I’ll continue to share with all of you. 

Get A Real Job

There’s something else we need to address here, and it’s “being an influencer.” This entire scenario should not demonize full-time Influencers who’ve built careers off their page. From the marketing side, I can tell you we need your audiences.  

The reason why I’ve only worked with a handful of major brands, and not made some career out of an online presence, is because these things take time. In order to stream a regular flow of content, you have to dedicate time to create it. That also involves the cost of hiring professionals to do it because “asking your friend to snap a pic” here and there doesn’t cut it in the long run.  

And think about how much influencers get paid: a minimum of $100 per post for the small folks and upwards of $15,000 per post if they’ve got more than 1 million followers. Many of these major influencers can easily make more than me and you combined, plus they’re getting most things for free so have very minimal expenses. There are also influencers like Sincerely Jules or Something Navy who’ve taken their online stardom to create offline businesses like clothing lines. A huge cheers to these entrepreneurs, and those who are yet to come, for making “being an influencer” a real job.

So, What’s This Whole Thing Really About

This NY Post story would be nowhere without Daily Mail. If not for this tabloid picking up the headline and exaggerating it by 3, no one would care about “the Instagram girl who had debt and paid it off within a year.” The real importance of this story is the thought that our obsession with Instagram has gotten so bad, it’s ruining people’s lives and putting them in debt. 

We are all so obsessed with proving that social media is a bad place. And we’re all guilty of making it so. 

We’ve developed habits of using social media for the wrong reasons, so much so that we’re starting to talk things like “social media detox” and “giving up social media for lent” in order to “make more connections with real people.” News flash: those connections with real people are what Instagram — and all these other social platforms — are seeking to achieve.

Before social media, how else were you able to look up real people at travel destinations on your bucket list? Or, connect with someone halfway across the world who shared similar aesthetic? Or, if you have a unique passion or hobby, where else do you have access at the touch of a button to find a community that shares the same passion or hobby? Social media is not the enemy. We are just its biggest downfall. The way we use social media has developed into a dark place of judgment, dangerous “now” mindset, and huge disconnect. I mean, if you started reading this because you thought I was an “Instagram star wannabe who is bankrupt,” then you’re guilty of scrolling past a lavish headline and making your opinion of me before being thorough. 

We’ve also lost this sense of authenticity online, something that we so crave to achieve offline. We’ve run into habits of trying to one-up each other — whether you have 100 followers or 10,000 — that we’re posting content for the sake of content and doing things for the sake of taking pictures of them. Hey, I have to check myself every day for this. On top of reminding myself to continue to live responsibly, I have to stop myself from trying to emulate the things I see online and recreating them for the sake of “catching up.” Am I actually doing this for the pure joy of this moment? Or am I a doing this because I want to show it off to my followers? Point proven as a feed curated by “stuff” (Lissette of the past) brought only a fraction of the audience I now have after “speaking my truth.”

Theres still enough time to change it.  

If we all commit to changing a habit or two, we can continue to make social media a thriving place. It truly starts with all of us because social media cannot exist without us. 

  1. Be authentic. We grow up being told that the secret to life and success is to “be yourself,” so much that we are convinced it’s a made-up mantra. But it’s our most powerful weapon. Developing a sense of self-confidence and being that person offline and online is such a sigh of relief. That means not always portraying a picture-perfect lifestyle, but admitting that sometimes it’s farthest from. It means living at your means - whatever they are - so that we can get a more realistical portrait of your life. And having more conversations about what it means to be “authentic,” because we’re all still learning about this every day. 
  2. Make connections. Stop the habit of only endless scrolling and tapping, and throw in a comment or two. Tell the girl her avocado toast looks AMAZING because she probably stood on top of a chair at a crowded restaurant to get the perfect lighting of her brunch plate. Tell that guy “thanks for sharing” when he posts about his cool experience of a place to visit in your city. And tell that other friend they “look so happy” the next time they post a smiling selfie of their friends. If we just commit to having more dialogue online, those social media “detoxes” won’t be necessary because we will live more balanced lives from the connections we build using places like Instagram as tools. 
  3. Don’t do it for the ‘gram, do it for you. Along with being authentic and building connections, make sure what you’re putting out is for the joy of yourself. If you want to take that selfie instead of “taking in the moment,” do it because you want to have something to remember that moment with and not because you can’t wait to show it to your followers. Life is so much more fulfilling when we are doing things for ourselves instead of in a quest to prove ourselves to others. I learned this the hard way and work to better myself every day, challenge yourself to do the same.

What’s Next

Well, this entire thing was entirely unexpected. One day I’m building up people to be “Marketable Millennials” and the next I’m the prime example for why my generation sucks. For that, I’m sorry. I don’t have a speaking tour or game plan in mind for how I’m going to leverage this new platform I’ve been given, but for now I’m just going to take it all in. I’m listening to what people have to say — good or bad — and learning about the state of my generation from it. 

A very immediate ask that I have for all of you, if you’re still reading this, is to go here to make a donation here to a cause that is — as you can imagine — dear to my heart. The mission of Dress for Success® is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. (How perfect is that?)

I’d also like to challenge all of us to make steps toward becoming better versions of ourselves online and offline in order to continue to make social media a better place.  

It starts with all of us, and I am really optimistic about the direction we’re headed.  

I’m an open book, always open to discussion, and can’t wait to continue diving into and uncovering this important topic. Let’s chat. 

Lissette Calveiro Instagram Star

Making My Way Below 14th Street

One of the greatest cities in the world (don't @ me) is also one of the hardest to navigate when it comes to finding housing. A few months ago, I shared a quick guide to "moving to NYC" and now's the time I had to follow my own advice.

If you know my NYC journey, you know I've kept it uptown since I first moved here. From Inwood to the same Upper West Side zip code I had when I first moved here years ago, I found comfort in being "away" from the hustle and bustle. The problem is, I was hustling and bustling every time I was getting out of the apartment because I was always working against a minimum 20-minute delay.

Getting to work when the subway works: 25 minutes

Getting to work when the subway doesn't work, which is usually always because #MTA: 45-70 minutes

I began to hate that I had little control on being late. If I left early to make up for potential mishaps, I found myself "too early" 9/10 times. My next goal: move walking distance to work. 

Well, easier said than done when you work in Tribeca -- one of the more expensive parts of Manhattan. I spent a few weeks on the apartment search finding things within or only slightly above my budget, but knowing that this time I would be sacrificing greatly on space (remember: price, size, location). This grueling process really helped me get down to thinking about what exactly I couldn't sacrifice: separate kitchen from living room, windows (can't believe I have to ask for this), and my own closet.

The apartment search finally came to a happy close when I matched with someone via Gypsy Housing on a dream SoHo apartment. If you know me offline, this has always been my favorite downtown neighborhood and I'm often pinching myself to remind myself that I get to live here while staying within a millennial-friendly budget.

I got the apartment, I signed the dotted line, but now my third time moving in the city meant I was going to have much more to lug around when moving day came. This was my biggest stressor. From Miami to NYC I boxed up and UPS-mailed all my things, and from Inwood to Upper West Side I used a "man with a van" (IRL name: Jerry). The difference this time, however, was the fact that I wasn't just a "scrappy Millennial" moving to a new pad. I made small upgrades in my life as I grew into the city and my career and I truly valued the things I had earned and placed in my apartment. I needed to give myself this necessary upgrade and do things the safe, reliable and correct way.

I connected with Roadway Moving after doing some research across review websites and other credible platforms, given that they had some of the highest reviews. What's the hype all about? I mean, it's a moving company, aren't we supposed to dislike them as much as we dislike moving? Well, the difference is this company is putting happiness first to not only make a move as seamless as possible, but as pleasant as possible.

Upfront, I was really excited to be working with a company that provided insurances I'd heard about during this process. If someone is going to be handling your hard earned valuables, you need them to protect them and have a backup plan if they ding something. Roadway not only has the paperwork to cover an accident, but they carefully wrapped (not deconstructed) all my furniture with safety blankets so that nothing returned damaged. 

I was able to chat with their CEO, Ross Sapir, where we talked about the importance of this layer of protection. "Millennials are now making more money, have more things, and 'going the DIY or cheap' way isn't always the smartest route," he said. "You need to find services that are going to protect the things you worked hard to earn."

When it came to thinking about physically moving things around, my "PTSD" of having to help "the man with a van" down my 5th floor walk up kicked in. I kid you not when I say I almost teared up seeing how quickly they grabbed everything, took it down safely, and brought it right back up to my new apartment in the blink of an eye. I also had a few miscellaneous items that didn't fit in boxes, which they had supplies for that I could use on moving day. 

Past the nitty gritty of the moving process, the most important thing is that working with Roadway made my move such a pleasant experience. It didn't feel like you were burdening a friend, or someone that hates their job, with your burden of having to move. I had to remind myself that I didn't know these people, because I swear we could've been neighbors in a past life. They were cheerful, polite, kind, and were excited to talk about things like Spanish soccer.

When all was said and done, I sighed a breath of fresh air. I unpacked my goods, ordered a few missing pieces to the apartment, and got to making this new place feel like home. Moving isn't only stressful because of the logistics of getting your stuff moved halfway across the city, it takes a toll on you mentally as you prepare to start a new chapter of your life in a new neighborhood. New coffee shop, new groceries, new parks, new mindset. Start yours off positive!

Scroll down for a few of my favorite spaces in the apartment:

Moving yourself? Visit Roadway Moving online for a quote, and mention "LISSETTE" for 10% your entire move.

The Art of the Handwritten Letter, Simplified

We all know the feeling of excitement, appreciation and kindness we feel when we receive a handwritten card. Be it a thank you note, birthday card, congratulations note or just to say hello, a small gesture can go a long way.

Here's another feeling we all know: the pain in the ass it is to buy the card (*10 hours at Papyrus later*), write the card (where's my pen?), find a stamp (is it 2003?) and drop it off at the Post Office (omg what's your address, again?). It makes the task of sending a thoughtful handwritten note as arduous as doing your taxes. 

Of course, millennials love a good shortcut. It makes room for us to focus on the other 1 million things we're trying to achieve and get done during the day. Cue in: the holidays. One of the busiest times of the year, where we're truly in need for as many hacks as we can find. Inspired by this time of year, and my need to carry on the tradition of sending out Christmas cards, I sought out to find something that would simplify the task for me while still feeling authentic to me.

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Good news. There is a solution.

About a year ago, I got introduced to PostableThis services bills itself as the platform that takes away "the pain in the ass" of sending letters. They're making sending snail mail as easy as sending an e-mail, text or DM. With the click of a few buttons, you've got a hiqh-quality printed and virtually-handwritten card en route to a special someone. Here's how it works:

1. Build your address book

Postable makes it incredibly easy to collect, save and update contact information from those you need it from. They provide users with a custom URL (www.postable.com/name) which they could send out to their contacts with a personal request for mailing information. Recipients click the link, fill out a form, and later the complete address book can be downloaded in helpful formats, including Excel. You can also upload existing sheets (looking at you future brides)! Then, you're able to periodically ping your contacts to update their information or add life milestones like anniversaries.

If you're reading this, here's your chance to get on my list.

2. Pick a card, designed by real people.

What truly sets Postable apart for me is their card collection. You can search from hundreds of cards for every occasion all designed by indie artists. The company has said they offer a revenue share that's rather competitive, which makes you feel a little better knowing you're supporting those digital artists. Also love that all cards are made of 100% recycled material.

You can browse through all the artists by name and location here.

3. Write your message, personalize it.

Shamelessly admitting I'm that person that has scratched words off the page or started over and over because I've changed my mind on the message. This is where Postable comes in hot with the save. You can pick from fonts that mimic handwriting (won't judge you if you pick the "As If Your Kid Wrote It"), Martha Stewart-approved fancies, or simple sans serif ones you already use in the digital space.

Aside from the thoughtful note, you can also now add gift cards for an added treat.

4. Press send: they do all the important stuff for you!

You're done customizing, you're done pouring out your feelings, and now it's time to hit send.  This is what you came for after all. No more trips to the post office, no more hunting for stamps throughout your apartment, because with the click of a button your cards are en route to that special person. Once all is said and done, it'll set you back $2-4 with postage included. That's a steal for all this extra time, if you ask me.

During the holidays, they have an even larger selection of cards for every style and occasion (Christmahanakwanzika anyone?), while also giving you the option to completely personalize templates with your own images -- like the monumental "family Christmas card photo."

But don't limit yourself to the holidays. It's such an easy-to-use service that I find myself sending a few out every month. There's always a birthday to celebrate, a thank you to share or someone that just needs to hear that you're thinking of them. 

Are you a fan of sending snail mail? Have you tried this service or any others? Would love to hear about your experience. Here's a promo code for a $5 credit off $20: MREADTI2.
      

Disclaimer: Product provided at the courtesy of Postable. All opinions and statements are my own.

Palm Trees to Skyscrapers: Moving to New York City

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me for advice on moving to NYC, I could upgrade myself to a one-bedroom apartment in the city (a joke only hustling millennials of the city will understand). The United State's largest city, with 8.5 million people and counting, is also one of the most expensive and difficult to live in. With a little flexibility, perseverance, and insider knowledge, moving to the greatest city in the world can be easier than you imagined (#werk).

It's been a year and a half since I moved to New York City "for good," but let's not forget my first stint in the city back in 2013. I'll save you the trip to my blog archives and take you down memory lane: I packed my bags, moved up North, lived in two apartments and one hotel, and then decided it was way too expensive for a fresh-out-of-college gal to handle on her own so decided Florida was the best post-grad step for me.

The decision to move to New York City the second time around was easy. It wasn't a matter of if, but when. I had a vision of continuing my personal and professional journey in a place that would empower me and, also, endlessly tease my desire for discovery. New York City was it.

Landing the Job

First thing's first. I recommend making a responsible move to New York City. This doesn't mean you have to land a job on Wall Street with a six-figure salary. Anything from internship, freelance work, entry-level job, position upgrade, etc., works. So long as you're moving here with purpose and passion, everything will fall into place.

You're not coming here with a job transfer? LinkedIn Jobs can be your saving grace for the traditional money maker. You can browse online or download their handy app, but this has been one of the most seamless ways to find the plethora of opportunities available in the big city. Especially for those in the communications or advertising field, where NYC serves as the mecca, this platform provides a streamlined way to maximize your opportunities. 

Have your sights set on freelancing within your field? Start by branding yourself with social channels and a website and start to, truly, hustle. You can even try unconventional routes like posting your service offerings on NYC Craigslist or a website like Fiverr, where you can post unique services from consulting to laborious tasks starting at $5.

So you're the cool kid on the block offered to move for a new job or transfer to the Big Apple? One of the most common questions NYC newbies will ask is: how much more money should I ask for? While the important topic of "how to negotiate your salary or die trying" will come from me another time, the short answer is about 15 to 20% of what you're currently making. In my case, I moved from Florida where I remained away from city and state taxes. The shocker of having a third of my paycheck going to "the people" was tough to swallow. If you can swing it, try negotiating things like subsidized monthly metro cards, a hefty moving allowance or a signing bonus (example: after a six-month review, give me $3,000).

You're going to be living in one of the most expensive cities in the United States, make sure the paycheck or side hustles are up to par. 

Price, Size, Location

That's my NYC rule. I can't tell you when or why I made it up, but I can tell you I'd bet a lot of money on it being a law of life. When you're apartment hunting in the city, you won't get all three: price, size and location.

What I mean is, you might get an apartment within a conservative budget, but it might be small and it might be a 40-minute commute to work. What if you value your space? You might be able to find something at a nice distance with a roomy feel, but you're going to shell a lot more money for it. When I first moved to the city, I knew I'd have trouble down sizing and I couldn't stomach paying more than $1,000 for rent. I ended up living in deep uptown Manhattan's Washington Heights in a huge (I mean this, huge) bedroom for a total bargain, and was happy while it lasted. Figure out what your priorities are within these three spaces before apartment hunting and you're going to find it much easier.

If price is a priority, you're going to have to search outside the central Manhattan walls. Having a small budget when you first move to the city is totally normal and, if you ask me, totally recommended. It's likely that your first apartment won't be totally what you're looking for since it's found mostly out of need. And remember the affordability rule: your salary should be at least 40 times your slice of the rent. In fact, most landlords and rental companies require it. Less expensive neighborhoods at a reasonable distance from the city center include Washington Heights (Manhattan), Bushwick (Brooklyn), Astoria (Queens) and even some gems in New Jersey near the trains.

If size is a priority, you're going to have to find your way outside of downtown. While it's certainly possible to find large spaces below 34th street, it's either at a hefty price tag or totally outside of the norm. Neighborhoods like Upper East or West Side have some great spaces for reasonable prices. Another option is to get yourself out of Manhattan, period, and you'll find the square footage increases by the block. But, don't limit yourself to only thinking "big," size can mean comfort for you. My personal rule: I need a kitchen that's separate from the living room. It's a non-negotiable for me if my couch is touching the fridge. My room, however, is only for sleeping so coziness doesn't bother me here.

If location is a priority, you might find yourself giving up the luxuries of some of the space parameters or low budget monthly rent to get yourself near the things you want be by. Perhaps it's work or play, but you're within your right to want to find a place that suits your daily routine. Chances are, millennial, that downtown is where all the magic is happening for you. If you can't find something that meets your budget and standards in a hot spot like East Village, SoHo or Tribeca, get a little creative and venture out, but stay near a train to get you there faster. For example, Hell's Kitchen (Manhattan) or Williamsburg (Brooklyn) are great neighborhoods near speedy train lines and reasonable taxi prices to get you to downtown in a New York Minute. 

Actually Doing It

You set a budget and some checklist items for a new home in the city, you narrowed down the neighborhoods, and you're ready to put in work. Great resources for actually finding your place include:

  • Gypsy Housing: While unconventional, I've had the most luck here. This is a "members only" forum for New Yorkers and New Yorkers to-be where people share open spaces or room search announcements. Anything from, "I have a room opening up" to "I am interested in finding XYZ with a room mate," this is an easy place to find gems. Tip: Set notifications for specific key words to the neighborhood, price or size you're looking for.
  • SpareRoom: If you're looking to save some time finding something new yourself and just want in on a good deal or existing unit, this is the place to go. The website, and app, help connect you with people who are already a part of a lease - or are in the process of starting one - and, well, have a spare room. Play around with their filters to save you the most time while you hunt.
  • StreetEasy: One of the most popular apartment finder sites. This is a good option if you're looking for a credible and reliable apartment with a group of friends or on your own. They also make one of the best NYC apartment transition guides on the web! Alert: the good ones likely have a broker's fee.
  • NYC Craigslist: If you're brave enough to overlook the negative stigma that comes with this platform, then this is the method for you. Craigslist, by far, has some of the most gems. I've had friends find solo apartments in incredible neighborhoods for a great price. The trick here is to make sure you're playing with the filters available, such as "distance from," price and other amenities buttons. The safest way is also to "search by date." If something's been listed for far too long, it is likely for a reason.

Make a few appointments, and be prepared for some of them to be virtual, and get ready for an adventure of apartment hunting. You should set aside at least three months' worth of rent for the places that ask you for first month, last month and a security deposit. The good news is you get a lot of that back when it's time to move again. If you're looking to save some time and get legitimate help, set aside a Broker's Fee which may come in handy for securing a lucky find. Here's a helpful guide on how to safely secure your apartment with "red flagged" descriptions, how to spot a scam, etc.

Once you've signed on the dotted line, it's time to hire a moving service. You can opt for someone to do it all for you without having moved a personal muscle, or hire handymen through friend recommendations that are usually cheaper but have no official business in this space. Alternatively, you can pack it all up yourself and grab a group of friends and a U-Haul van to help move you around. Here's a helpful guide for all that jazz. 

Next step: book the one-way ticket.

The Paperwork Piece

You finally moved and you're sitting on your couch (or floor) the first night in your new apartment over a warm bowl of something you ordered on Seamless. Look at you, you learn so fast! Now you have to take some time to make sure all the necessary transition documents are in order. The longer you stall this, the more problematic it becomes in the future.

  1. Officially change your address: Use USPS's handy moving tool to officially change your address to your new one. This will make sure that the move becomes official-ish and your mail is sent to the right location. And, guess what? This comes with moving coupons from popular sites like Bed, Bath & Beyond, Wayfair and Amazon. 
  2. Change your billing addresses: Often overlooked, don't forget to change that address attached to your bank accounts, credit cards and other important and ongoing memberships. You'll thank yourself later when you're punching in your zip code at your nearest retailer.
  3. Make an appointment with the DMV: If you're already a registered driver, you must obtain a New York State driver's license and surrender your out-of-state license within 30 days of establishing residency. Read more about that here, set an appointment and get your shiny new piece of plastic.
  4. No need for driving? Identify yourself with an IDNYC: As a government-issued photo identification card, IDNYC secures the peace of mind and access to City services that come from having recognized identification. IDNYC also provides a dynamic series of benefits to cardholders, including a free one-year membership at many of the City's leading museums, zoos, concert halls, and botanical gardens. Get one here.
  5. Register to vote! Don't be left behind when it's your turn to exercise your constitutional right to make a change in this country. Unless you'd benefit the greater good by keeping your old city on file (*erm, Floridians*), then make the switch upon moving. In New York state, you can get all that and so much more done via their electronic voter registration platform.
  6. Protect your valuables with renter's insurance: Living in a big city sometimes comes with risks. For as little as $5 per month you can protect yourself against these dangers - and so much more. Companies like Lemonade have incredible quick and easy-to-use platforms for securing your goods, while also providing a really friendly user experience. What's even better is this specific apartment/home insurance company has a giveback program where the "extra" money goes right back to local charities. Sign me up!

Building Your New Life

That's it...for now. You've mastered the job and apartment search, you signed the paperwork and filed your important matters, now it's time to sit back (ever so slightly) and enjoy the fruits of your labor

You will get homesick from time to time, it will take you months to find your go-to coffee shops and dives, you might need to friend-flirt for some time before finding your gal/guy gang, you will struggle, you will grow, you will laugh, you will cry, but you just accomplished what many millennial dreamers wish for:

moving to New York, New York.