Side Hustling While Female: My Experience as a Rideshare Driver

riding in an uber

Finding a side hustle when you’re a woman can be scary.

Frankly, when thinking about ways to make money, there are considerations those who identify as women have to keep in mind that men don’t. Living in the age of technology, there are endless ways to make money, including gigs like Lyft and Uber. But when you’re a woman, searching for car insurance as a rideshare driver is only one of many considerations.

From college to travel funds and even motherhood, making extra cash never hurts, but here is some advice and precautionary tales from a serial side hustler.

How to Be Safe as a Rideshare Driver: My Mistakes

I became a rideshare driver as a way to start life after college and begin saving money to pay back student loans. 

Starting so young, I was just excited to make easy money and talk to people in the new city I had recently moved to. 

After driving for a few years, I can now look back at some of my mistakes and give other women proper warnings.

Why I Stopped Driving Late-Night

I was saving for my first international trip, and in my over-excitement, I overlooked taking extra safety precautions. 

The day began as usual when I turned on the app, but because it was a weekend, I was making good money on rides; I decided to keep driving past 11 p.m. I had only done this a few times before (because most late-night weekend rides are annoying drunk people), but I wanted the money for the trip.

This night led to one of my most awkward encounters I endured in my rideshare career as I drove until the early hours of the morning. By this time, it was getting late, and I had been on the road for about 12 hours, but I decided to accept one more ride.

I accepted the ride without checking the destination and picked up a man outside of a bar. He seemed polite enough despite his level of intoxication and got in my passenger seat instead of the back.

His destination was roughly 45 minutes away from the bar, making the ride longer than usual. But I was dedicated to getting the most out of this shift. He made conversation for about 15 minutes, but then things took an uncomfortable turn.

He shifted the conversation to my physical appearance and suddenly asked if he could see my feet. Wanting to stop that energy and not feed any kind of consent he thought he would get, I remained calm and pointed out that I can’t keep driving without my foot on the gas.

The passenger continued to make inappropriate remarks and references to his past “successful” rideshare driver advances. I declined multiple invites to go inside his home or exchange information. 

Needless to say, that was the last time I drove late-night. Though the experience was unpleasant, to say the least, there are other women drivers whose stories don’t end just going home.

Is being a rideshare driver safe for women?

Unfortunately, the reality of the rideshare hustle comes up extremely short of the commercial image when it comes to whether rideshare driving is safe for women. 

Thankfully, neither I nor my property (my car) was ever attacked or physically harmed. But that didn’t stop my mental health from taking a few punches. Driving for rideshare isn’t all bad. However, there isn’t much mystery behind why there aren’t more women drivers between the societal hierarchy of the sexes and stories like mine.

As these issues arise, rideshare app developers need to be putting more effort into keeping women drivers and passengers safe. According to Statista, the rate for who becomes rideshare drivers is unproportionately male. 

Having women representation in the rideshare community is essential to protect the safety of women within these apps. Although women shouldn’t shy away from the rideshare hustle, they need to be prepared to have more control while making money.

My top warnings for all of those who identify as a woman looking to begin ridesharing include:

  • Keep items for self-defense hidden but in reach.
  • Don’t talk about where you live or places you frequent.
  • Never give out your personal information to anyone.
  • If you have to give back a lost item, mail it or take multiple people with you.
  • Don’t drive past midnight.
  • Always cross-check the destination to get a visual of where you’re going.
  • Continually share your location with friends and family, not just while you drive.
  • Don’t be afraid to decline passengers who make you uncomfortable.

Though women should take these warnings seriously, and the dangers presented for being a woman are factual, nothing should stop you from growing your side business. Taking preventive measures is simply for protection and emergencies. 

I had some extraordinarily beautiful encounters driving for rideshare, but the bad ones kept me on my toes. 

What is a good side hustle job?

If you’ve been searching for a way to supplement your income but feel like you’re getting the short end of the stick, you’re not delusional. The secret to finding a good side hustle is checking off requirement boxes before deciding to commit. 

A list of questions you should use to evaluate the potential quality of any side hustle is: 

  • What’s the income potential? What you put in won’t exceed what you’re getting out.
  • Who’s the boss? You want to be in control of your fate, especially if you already have a boss during your full-time income. 
  • When are you earning? Does the hustle have the potential to be passive income, or can you earn while doing things you already do? You already work hard, so make your money work and come to you.
  • How much will you enjoy it? Don’t dread your side hustle. If all your side gig does is bring you stress, no amount of money is worth it. Have fun or be done.

Whether you’re looking to support another part of your life or ease some remote work burnout, your side hustle should promote, inspire, and empower you. There isn’t a shortage of possibilities or ways to make your vision possible. 

All you have to do is go out and get it.

Danielle Beck-Hunter writes for the car insurance site, Danielle drove rideshare for roughly four years for primary and supplemental income. She is an advocate for trans rights and supports efforts to stop violence against women of color.

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