I believe everyone needs a side hustle. Something you do outside your job to keep life interesting, keep your mind sharp, and maybe even earn some extra income.
My First Side Hustle
After college, I moved across the country and initially didn’t know very many people in my new city. To keep myself busy, I decided I could put those after-work hours to use by trying to build an online business.
It took quite a bit of work because I didn’t know what I was doing, but eventually my little project grew into a fun and profitable little operation.
Within the first year, I was able to cover the full amount of my rent just with proceeds from the business.
All virtual and all in my spare time. I was ecstatic.
Why Side Hustle?
There are a ton of distinct benefits to using your non-work hours more productively. This is your chance to get excited and make something happen.
Exercise your brain and explore your passions!
It’s science: filling your days with meaningful activities is the path to long-term happiness.
1. Build Skills
A small side project is the perfect place to learn and master new skills, because you have little risk of failure.
For instance, your workplace may value technical skills when considering who to promote, but you may not always have the opportunity to hone and improve those skills on the job.
Building a skillset outside of work proves your initiative to your boss, and those skills are also portable — meaning you can take them with you to your next job or use them on your side hustle.
- Some of the skills I’ve learned outside of my jobs include:
- Contract negotiation
- Pay-per-click marketing management and strategy
- Search engine optimization
- Email marketing
- Social media
- Managing remote employees
- Online videos
- And more…
In a large company, you may not get the chance to exercise your mind and learn new skills which is why it’s so crucial to continue your education away from the office.
In a side hustle, you’ll get to learn and experiment with new concepts and strategies in real time, and that real-life application can be extremely valuable.
“Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” –Henry Ford
2. Build Security
Pam Slim, author of Escape from Cubicle Nation, calls your side hustle “career insurance,” and she’s 100% right.
If you rely solely on one source of income, you’re pretty much screwed when that source of income stops. That’s why so many people were hurt so badly during this recent recession, and why there’s been such an increased interest in micro-businesses and entrepreneurship.
Your boss doesn’t care about you. Well he might, but to his boss’s boss, you’re probably fully expendable and replaceable. Just a cog in a system. You are not some indispensable linchpin; you’re a cost center.
In today’s world, there’s no such thing as job security. In investing, we’re told to maintain a diversified portfolio. Why? Because having all your eggs in one basket is inherently risky.
The same is true with our income.
It’s dangerous to rely on one company or one paycheck, no matter how lucrative it may be at the moment. When you become your own boss–even if just on the side to start–you build a new sense of security.
And even if your side hustle makes very little or no money, who do you think is more attractive on the job market? The person who spent their spare time watching TV or the person who spent their spare time learning and applying new skills in the real world?
“Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure. You have no security unless you can live bravely, excitingly, imaginatively; unless you can choose a challenge instead of competence.” –Elanor Roosevelt
3. Build Income
The chance to supplement their income is what draws most people to side hustling. And that’s fine.
But know this is no get-rich-quick-scheme. The secret to earning an income from your side hustle is to create real value for customers.
And real value usually takes real work.
This site will explore some of the amazing financial success stories that people just like you have had with their side businesses. All around the world, entrepreneurs are being born and lives are being transformed.
The income I’m talking about is not instant-millionaire-stock-options-IPO kind of money, but rather a realistic and attainable profit that can fund the founder’s lifestyle on their own terms.
4. Build Freedom
Ultimately, side hustles are about freedom. It was a side hustle that got me out of the rat race.
If you can earn a living on the side from what you do for a living, you’re suddenly no longer tied to that job you hate.
And even if you like your job, odds are it takes up a lot of your time. Do you like it enough that there’s literally nothing you’d rather be doing all day?
If your side hustle is virtual, you’re suddenly no longer tied to the city where you live. You can work from anywhere!
And even if you like where you live, wouldn’t it be nice to at least have the opportunity to go elsewhere?
Yes, the pursuit of this sweet, sweet freedom is what this site is all about. Who’s with me?
Why do you side hustle? Let me know in the comments below.