Whether you’re uninspired, underpaid, or just downright unhappy, having a job you don’t love is incredibly disheartening. Luckily, a side hustle offers relief from the dullness of your day job and can be a catalyst for changing your career.
Any entrepreneur will admit that maintaining a side project is challenging. They’ll also agree that the benefits far outweigh the struggles. One of the greatest benefits of a side hustle is that it prepares you for unexpected career changes. Think of your side hustle like an emergency savings account for your career. Imagine you’ve suddenly been booted from your well-paying, comfortable corporate job. Most people have some savings prepared for situations like this. But if you have a side hustle and savings, you’ve got the embers of your own small business just waiting to be ignited. Instead of waiting around to find another similar job while your unemployment funds wear thin, you can turn your side hustle into a full-time gig.
A well-maintained side hustle also gives you the guts to take a leap and make a change in your career. It’s your path to finding more fulfillment; to earning the experience you need to find work in an industry you adore. It’s your one-way ticket out of a job that renders you a cynical, sorry soul. Your side hustle gives you the freedom to change your mind about your career down the road, and this you owe to yourself.
In addition to a sense of job security and flexibility, side hustles also give you the core entrepreneurship skills you need to be your own boss. If you’re ready to take a leap towards a more fulfilling life, here are some personal and professional rewards a passion project can offer, and how you can get started.
The first and arguably most important skill earned during a side hustle is networking. The people who buy your creative work or pay for your services are your own inherent network of references and referrals. They can offer you constructive criticism, boost your personal brand, and verify you and your work to future clients. It’s important that you communicate well and work hard, because who knows — the people you work with during your side-hustle days now could become your potential business partners.
Marketing & Sales
Now let’s talk about marketing and sales. While things like uploading your art onto an e-commerce site or selling your jam at a roadside stand may not seem profoundly entrepreneurial, they teach you essential skills that no entrepreneur can succeed without. Because if you’ve managed to turn even a small profit, you’ve figured out how to price, market, and sell your services. If you’re selling in-person, you’ve mastered all these skills plus effective communication and negotiation.
The third most important skill you’ll gain from side hustling is budgeting. From a financial perspective, self-employed individuals need to be aware of tax credits and reimbursements they can get on the expenses incurred by their side projects. In terms of time management, pursuing a side-hustle teaches you how to prioritize your own projects and hold yourself accountable. With both financial and time budgeting skills, you’ll be hyper aware of how to set long term financial goals and stick to a tight schedule that helps you get there.
If by now you’re keen on the idea of a side hustle but don’t know where to start, remember that your side hustle is completely defined by your personal passions and goals. You can choose something that’s extremely unconventional, different, and unexpected. You can also choose something in the exact same field as your day job.
The only advice I can really give about what your side-hustle should be is this: choose something you love profoundly. Having two jobs you despise isn’t the point here; this is your passion project and it should motivate you endlessly. It must behold the power to get you out of bed at 5am and keep you working deep into the night. It should be something you can make sacrifices for. It should make it easy to say no when your friends invite you out on a Saturday night. You make the rules about when, where, and how your side hustle comes to life. It can be anything from teaching guitar lessons to fixing computers to selling graphic tees. You can start it when you’re 15 or when you’re 30 or when you’re 60.
Most people daydream about the fulfillment and purpose they’d gain from pursuing a side hustle, but few have the grit and determination to make it happen. What will you do?