Why You Should Always Have a Side Hustle, Regardless of Your Financial Situation

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Last Updated on March 4, 2021

Take even the briefest look into the world of entrepreneurship, and you will find suggestions from every corner to start a “side hustle.”

A side hustle is a colloquial term for a small business or professional venture, that you undertake “on the side” – as in, that you do in your “free time”, and not as a feature of your day job. The idea of the side hustle differs from the idea of creating a start-up, in the conventionally understood sense, in a couple of important ways. For one thing, there is no expectation that you will – or should – immediately quit your job upon starting up a side hustle.

Indeed, a side hustle is meant to be exactly that – on the side – until such a time as it may or may not become a viable full-time career, and something that can pay your bills in its own right.

The specific nature of a side hustle can vary dramatically, depending on your particular interests, and skill set. If horticulture is a major fascination for you, you might decide to create a floristry side hustle, with the aim of rivalling established players in the field such as Soapnpetals. If, on the other hand, you always want to be a cartoonist, you can begin a webcomic as a side hustle – or could compile comic books, with the aim of selling them to interested publishers.

In fact, speaking of cartoonists, Scott Adams – cartoonist behind the Dilbert comics – has had a lot to say about the benefits of always having a side hustle active. He advises this regardless of whatever else you might be doing in your career at any given time, and he is by no means the only successful person who argues that everyone should always have at least one side hustle going.

Here are a few reasons why it might be worth your time having a side hustle active at any given time, regardless of your financial or career circumstances.

A Side Hustle Can Give You Hope

Let’s face it. Work isn’t always fun, life isn’t always easy, and sometimes, things don’t work out the way we would like them to.

If you feel that you can relate to these frustrations, it’s worth realizing that one of the major benefits of having a side hustle, is that it can give you hope when times are tough, when work is unfulfilling, and when a better future seems difficult to envision.

Every side hustle you engage in is the equivalent of buying a career lottery ticket – better than a lottery ticket, really, because with a side hustle, the hard work you put in will influence your outcomes, whereas a lottery ticket is just a pure, distant chance.

In any case, the point is that each side hustle you engage in will open the door to new possibilities. It might be that – in the tradition of entrepreneurs throughout the ages – you will have plenty of failed businesses ventures to your name before you find one that you can make a success of.

But the possibility is always there that any given side hustle will allow you to “make it big.” And even if you don’t “make it big”, you might nonetheless make “something,” which is better than nothing.

Side hustles keep life interesting. They keep the possibility alive that you will find a better avenue to walk down in your professional life – and they also make the journey that much more interesting, as well.

Having a side hustle that you care about will make you more resilient in other areas of your life

While a side hustle can make you more resilient in the sense of giving you more hope for your professional life, it can also make you more resilient in other areas of your life in general. This is because a side hustle itself represents something meaningful, uplifting, and engaging, that helps to offset the irritations and mundanity that you might experience on an everyday basis.

Often, in life, when we find it difficult – if not impossible – to stay on an upbeat and productive track, it will be because we are experiencing a certain sense of unfulfillment, dread, and anxiety, about the ways in which we are living our life.

It’s very difficult to weather the storms that life throws at you, and to keep pushing on through the daily grind, if it all seems as though it’s for nothing. When you have a good side hustle to preoccupy yourself with, however, you will have something to focus your attention on, be motivated by, and treat as worthwhile.

Apart from simply making you feel better, and increasing the chances that you might make an independent income, running a side hustle can actually make you more resilient across the board. Not only will that increase your “staying power”, and make it more likely that you will succeed in whichever endeavours you apply yourself to, but it will also mean that your confidence, and social relationships are likely to benefit, as well.

A side hustle will teach you valuable skills, and increase the odds that you will find success in some area

In his book, “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big”, Scott Adams makes the point that side hustles don’t just increase your hope, and your odds of succeeding at that particular endeavour, they also have a cumulative effect in that they help to teach you valuable skills, which compound over time.

For example, if you decided to create a side hustle focused around an online business model, you might know very little if anything about such topics as “e-commerce”, WordPress website design, and blogging at the outset.

After having spent a while building and refining your online business, however, you will gain significant understanding in all these areas – even if the particular business venture that you’ve been dedicating your time and energy to does not necessarily work out in and of itself.

Any side hustle you engage in should be the kind of thing where – even if the business itself doesn’t become successful in that particular iteration – there is nonetheless the potential for you to learn interesting and useful skills, and deepen your professional prospects.

Side hustles teach you to be disciplined with your time

Pursuing a side hustle with any seriousness of intent, naturally requires you to be pretty disciplined and organised with your time. After all, if you’re working a day job, attending to your personal and social obligations, and simultaneously trying to run a little venture on the side, you’re going to find that “strapped for time” is an ever-present default state of being.

A quote attributed to Warren Buffett states that the “difference between successful people and really successful people, is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

One of the basic implications of this line, and many other, similar lines from among the ranks of the ultra-successful, is that time management is absolutely crucial for success in any given endeavour. This makes sense when you consider one fundamental reality – everyone on earth only ever has the same 24 hours in the day to work with, and there are no special breaks in the programme for people who want to run successful side hustles.

The degree to which are successful in your life as a whole is likely to be quite closely related to the degree to which you are able to be disciplined in your time management. Of course, this applies to side hustles and conventional work, but it also applies to hobbies, personal goals and targets, maintaining social obligations, and all the rest.

Since side hustles can work wonders for your ability to manage your time, it goes to follow that having a side hustle can also significantly boost your ability to be effective in all the other dimensions of your life, too.

A side hustle can often allow you to develop yourself, entrepreneurially, on a tight budget

The traditional image of the “entrepreneur” that we all have in mind involves someone in a suit, with a lot of venture capital to throw around, embarking on an ambitious business project that features enterprising new technologies, big deals with big players in the industry, and so on.

By contrast, a side hustle is typically the kind of entrepreneurial venture that all the rest of us can manage, on a tight budget.

One of the beauties of a side hustle is that it is, in principle, the kind of thing that can be started small, and expanded incrementally over time. What’s more, many of the most popular side hustle models – such as things like affiliate marketing, or freelance blogging or graphic design – have essentially no start-up costs at all.

If you have dreams of creating a successful arts and crafts company, that pays all the bills, and allows you to ship your creative products internationally, you don’t have to attempt to start “at the top.” You can begin by selling a few trinkets of yours on Etsy, and go from there.

My Life, I Guess

My Life, I Guess is a personal finance and career blog by Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and older millennial from Ontario, Canada that strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.

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