Side hustle. Seems like everyone’s got one these days.
From selling unwanted stuff on eBay to driving for Uber to getting freelance gigs to starting your own blog (ahem), the possibilities are virtually endless when it comes to side hustling.
As long as you can find the extra time and mental bandwidth to take on extra responsibilities, you should totally consider getting a side hustle to beef up your wallet and your self-esteem.
I’m breaking down my top reasons for recommending side hustling below (hint: it’s more than extra pocket money).
Captain Obvious, I know. I just have to include this one on here.
Earning extra cash is probably the most common reason people have side hustles. As a personal finance blogger who values making money slightly more than saving (you can only save a portion of your income, but your earning potential is technically limitless), I totally endorse that.
It’s no chump change either. Side hustles can definitely bring in some serious moolah once you become more established and experienced, especially if you have specialized skills. Grant Sabatier from Millennial Money reportedly made $1 million in 5 years, thanks to his aggressive side hustling efforts.
Even if your side hustle only brings in a modest amount of money, wouldn’t it be nice to top off your emergency fund or make extra mortgage payments with it?
Developing New Skills
Taking on side gigs probably makes you a better employee at your day job.
With side gigs, you’re constantly exposed to new challenges that you wouldn’t normally face at work that require out-of-the-box solutions.
I would argue that, as you’re exposed to more and different kinds of challenges and figure out ways to solve them, you become better prepared to deal with any surprises at work, learning new skills and sharpening them along the way.
If your side hustle requires you to promote something (perhaps your own products or services), one skillset you’re likely to pick up is digital marketing, whether it’s SEO, social media, email marketing, content marketing, web analytics or more. These are very in-demand skills to have right now.
Offering virtual assistant or blog writing services (two very popular side hustles) allows you to further improve your research and writing abilities.
Some soft skills you could gain from the whole side hustling experience include: time management, ability to juggle multiple projects at once without breaking a sweat, organization and communications.
You might be saying, this all sounds good and well, but how can you learn anything as an Uber driver (another popular side hustle)?
Actually, driving for Uber delivers plenty of opportunities to learn, if you approach it with the right attitude.
Sitting in a car with a random slew of strangers for extended periods of time compels you to be a better communicator and up your emotional intelligence.
Getting a side hustle lets you learn and sharpen skills such as digital marketing, writing, communications, just to name a few.
Also, as the saying goes, everyone is a teacher. Having meaningful conversations with strangers helps us break out of our confirmation bias and opens up our minds to new ways of thinking and living. This can spark innovative ideas to ponder.
Of course, not everyone appreciates a chatty driver (and it’s the driver’s job to figure that out early on – here’s that EQ coming into play again), but if you could gain at least one slice of wisdom or knowledge from each passenger who loves to talk, imagine how much you would grow as a person over time.
More Financial Security
You can’t be 100% content unless you feel financially secure, however you define that.
To me, financial security is being able to save 20% of our income after all expenses are paid and having an emergency fund that covers 6 months of expenses.
Knowing that you will be able to pay your bills on time, put food on the table and still be able to afford that occasional splurge is a wonderful feeling.
That’s where side hustling comes into play.
Side hustle provides an extra source of income independent of your main career, giving you some peace of mind that you’ll make enough to stay financially afloat for a little while should the next round of unexpected layoff comes around.
If you love your job, congratulations! You’re among the lucky 13% who likes going to work.
For the remaining 87%, there is still hope!
You might not find satisfaction at work, but you can still pursue your lifelong passion through side hustling.
As Denis Waitley, the legendary writer and speaker, eloquently puts it, “it is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfillment, it is in the happiness of pursuit.”
Maybe you secretly aspire to become a professional singer, but you realize that it’s an incredibly tough field to break into. Side hustle option? Upload your song covers on YouTube and create a following. This is not a bad alternative at all. I mean, it’s how Justin Bieber got discovered. #micdrop
Becoming a full-time travel writer might be hard, but starting your own travel blog is not.
Professional gamer wanna-be? Create a Twitch account and start streaming.
Into jewelry making? Sell your creations on Etsy.
Whatever it is that fulfills you, I bet there’s a side hustle for that (it’s the new “there’s an app for that”).
Test Drive a New Career
If you’re REALLY unhappy at work, so much that you’re potentially looking to make a career switch, I hear ya.
My advice: before you give your 2 weeks notice cold turkey, try out your new career as a side hustle.
The benefits are three-fold:
- Get industry-specific experience
- Make new connections
- Make sure it’s the right fit before committing to a major career change
It’s all about taking calculated risks.
If, for whatever reason the new career didn’t pan out the way you wanted it to, you’re free to try something else all the while earning a steady salary from your main gig.
Bootstrap Your Startup
The idea of quitting your job and starting your own company sure sounds romantic.
Realistically speaking though, you probably got kids to feed, or a mortgage to pay, or a shoe addiction that won’t go away, so it’s not always feasible to financially justify a sudden entrepreneurial pursuit.
The safer road? Try your innovative business idea as a side hustle first to test the waters, and only quit your job once your startup is sufficiently profitable.
Not gonna lie. It’s not going to be easy juggling two jobs at once. There’s the whole not-enough-hours-in-a-day aspect, but the other important component that often gets ignored is: you’re fully pumped to devote 110% of your energy into your new company and dive in head first, but you have to also stay in a job that you’re disengaged from. Going through the motions is easier said than done.
Unless you have secured enough startup funding to make quitting your job financially doable, you’ll be happier not putting all your eggs in one basket right from the start.
The reason why so many people jump on the side hustle bandwagon is because there are practically no downsides for trying.
If you think your side hustle idea is silly, that you have no time, that your side hustle wouldn’t succeed, you probably just haven’t found the right project.
I have contemplated starting a side project for a good three years before the digital birth of Casual Money Talk. During those 3 years, I launched a podcast review blog that didn’t work out because of waning interest on my part, an e-commerce store for my art, among other things.
I know it sounds cliché, but when I stumbled upon the idea of starting a personal finance blog, it didn’t take long before I became fully convinced that this is the one. This blog doesn’t make any money right now, but putting my writing out there and connecting with the personal finance online community brings me so much joy every single day.
I hope this article gave you the pep talk you need to kickstart your own side hustle journey.