Half of millennials have a side hustle, and a quarter of baby boomers do too. It’s not just for the underemployed, either. There are plenty of good reasons to start a side hustle outside of making more money. You might be surprised, but everything job isn’t all about paying the bills. Even if you aren’t living paycheck to paycheck, starting a side hustle might be the best decision you make for your personal and professional growth.
Side note: Even with job security and a stable emergency fund, relying on one source of income is dangerous. In the keep up or get out of the way society surrounding employment, with failing companies and widespread automation (RIP Toys ‘R’ Us), creating supplemental income isn’t just trendy – it’s wise.
I know what you’re thinking… “I don’t have time for a ‘side hustle’ and I don’t need the money, so why would I take the time?” It sounds crazy to consider adding one more thing to your plate unless it is absolutely necessary. I felt the same way. But even with an education, job security, and enough money, I started to see exactly how valuable a side job really is. I’m hoping these points help you see it too.
Cushion a Career Change
This won’t apply to you if you are excited about working in the same field for the next 50 years. But for those of us with interest in eventually pursuing different career paths, a side hustle can supplement lost wages while you build a new career. Whether you need to go back to school or wait for sales to come in.
For example: Real Estate. I. love. real estate! I’ve been swiping those free “Homes for Sale” catalogs from the grocery store since I was 5 years old. But working in real estate is a different story. It’s my dream job, except it’s entirely commission based and there could be months without a “paycheck”. I’d like to have the freedom to pursue my dream job without worrying about paying my bills. That’s where a side hustle comes in.
Don’t let yourself put off your ideal job just because you’re current one is keeping your budget alive.
Curb Bad Habits
I love a good Netflix binge as much as the next girl, but there are more productive ways to spend our free time. Starting a side hustle might be the motivation you need to get off the couch and put your potential to work. After all, you have a lot more to share with the world than your opinions on Stranger Things.
And better yet, imagine replacing all of those hours of online shopping and (emptying your cart) with a money-making hobby. We’re already online as it is, and we never end up buying all of that stuff anyway! It’s so hard to avoid the internet, but turning it into a workspace is easy.
RELATED: Turn a Hobby into a Side Hustle
Pursue your Passion
It’s easy to lose sight of what you love when it doesn’t pay the bills. Which is why a side hustle is a stress-less route for you to follow your dreams without the pressure of making a living from them.
If you haven’t read it yet, I strongly suggest you grab a copy of Big Magic. In it, you’ll learn the power of freeing your passions from the pressure to perform. The author, Elizabeth Gilbert, mentions friends of hers who told themselves things like “If I don’t make a living writing in the next 3 months, then I’m giving up for good”, and those are the people who gave up for good.
Keeping your passion on the side is the best of both worlds. It gives your day job a purpose and it allows you to hone the skills you enjoy using. Get a copy of Big Magic here for less than $10.
Enhance your skill set
If your employer doesn’t offer professional development in-house, then your best bet is to find it elsewhere. Measurable professional and even personal skills are incredibly valuable when you’re in the market for a raise, a promotion, or a new job.
Finding a side job or offering a service in your spare time is a chance to learn the ropes of a skill that interests you. Taking courses or reading every bit of material on the internet isn’t going to teach you nearly as much as real world experience will. And offering your skills to others will expose you to new challenges aka opportunities for growth!
Whether you’re looking for a raise, a promotion, or a new job, the best negotiation tactic comes from your value. But it’s hard to claim you have the skills you studied without measurable performance in the trade.
There’s no better way to hone those skills than to put them to work.
Making extra money is an obvious benefit of a side hustle, but I said I wouldn’t mention that. So, in other words, scrape up some pocket change for literally anything you want. You thought you lost most of your frivolous spending when you fine-tuned your budget but guess again.
It’s the perfect excuse to get a facial, massage, or a regular blowout at the salon. And brunch never tasted so good 😉
I know the idea of “working a second job” never sounded glamorous, but times are changing. The benefits go so much further than doing it just to maintain a lifestyle. Side hustling is the perfect solution to the scary thought of changing careers or ruining your budget, and the productive alternative to getting lost online while you online-shop your days away. We owe it to ourselves to utilize the skills we’ve been so lucky to be given and refine the ones that we’d like to master.
Don’t think of it as a gig for the less fortunate. Instead, think of it as the chance to share your passions and grow into the impressive person your social media feed thinks you are!
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