The idea of a side hustle is growing in popularity. It is estimated that 35 percent of Millennials in the United States are currently involved in a side business to earn a little extra money during their extra hours.
However, many have not joined in on this trend due to a lack of confidence or fear of being seen as “distracted” or “unfocused.”
The idea of a side hustle is a simple one: It is “a tiny, independent venture you do during your free time when you’re not at your full-time job.” Side hustles come in many shapes and sizes. They could be anything: business venture, startup, app, part-time job or even tinkering with a blog.
Side hustles are a form of career insurance that provide supplemental income or serve as a useful fallback in case of a layoff. But, a side hustle can also serve as a career accelerator that allows a person to build skills, form important relationships and develop new business ideas.
Here are the six main benefits from having a side hustle:
1. You become a time-management champion.
With a full-time job and side hustle, you will begin to look at 24 hours strategically. You spend your time much more wisely and always carefully weigh whether or not something is or isn’t worth your time.
2. You make many connections.
Being a blogger has enabled me to network with people who own businesses in different industries, like prominent civil society activists, people in PR and other bloggers, too. It has been a truly remarkable, inspiring, humbling experience.
If all you do is hang out at one job or in school, the number of people you know and experiences you have become very limited. So, step out of your comfort zone to access these wonderful opportunities that may change your life.
3. You are only in your 20s once.
As 20-somethings, many of us are single and without kids. With a flexible schedule and few commitments, it is the perfect decade to experiment with projects and find things we enjoy and are also good at doing.
If your side hustle fails, move on and try another. The loss is small because even when you do lose, you win in terms of new skills and lessons. In a sense, this is an upgrade.
A side hustle can diversify your income stream. From it, you can save expenses, gain extra income, or with a bit of luck and lots of hard work, turn it into a ful- time career. Even if it doesn’t turn into a full-time career, an extra hundred dollars each month can go a long way.
For some countries, like Singapore, homes can be really expensive and thus, having a side income helps a lot.
5. Your side hustle will make you better at your real job.
Contrary to what people assume, rather than compete for your attention at your full-time job, side hustles actually make you a better employee.
You often own the means of production and reap the full reward of your side hustle. If you succeed, the money is all yours.
This can be a huge motivating factor that will push you to do better in all modes of your work because you will feel less beaten down by day job monotony. Side hustles will invigorate your work ethic.
Also, dabbling in the things you love can lift your mood, making you happier and more productive. According to Sandy Thompson of Y&R Advertising agency, “Multiple interests are how you create a happy life.
Employers see how [multi-careerism] makes their employees more productive and happier. And happy employers in the long run benefit”
Furthermore, the skills you pick up are transferable. In fact, all skills are transferable. If your side hustle requires you to serve demanding clients in a high stress environment without losing your temper, being able to do so will serve you well as an employee, and in every other aspect of life.
I have learned a lot from being exposed to the real world while pursuing a challenging full-time undergraduate degree.
You can also parlay your network contacts from your side hustle to benefit you at a current day job. One hand feeds the other and no time is wasted — even if your side hustle doesn’t pay well.
6. You will keep your mind active.
When you spend time on a side hustle, your mind is so much more active. Very often, a full-time job (even one that requires 50 or 60 hours of work per week) doesn’t teach us everything. We’re more concerned about the company’s mission and bottom line than our own personal growth.
A side hustle makes you more inquisitive and more capable.
The more you train your mind, the sharper it becomes.
While you are getting started on your side hustle, remember these wise tips from Susan Gramm:
Determine if your side hustle violates your employment contract or policies.
If you need to gain approval or believe that what you’re doing will eventually become public, articulate the benefits to your employer or consider if it’s possible to eliminate the conflict of interest by providing services at no cost, at least in the early stages.
Treat your side hustle like a business from the start with an eye toward eventually monetizing your services.
You don’t want to be a few years down the road wishing that you had invested in branding and an Internet presence, for example.
Prepare to run a “marathon and not a sprint” by investing two to three years working on both your day job and your side hustle.
Working two jobs means long hours and a lot of sacrifices. One idea, says former attorney Laurie Gay, is to switch “to a less demanding job” as “a more regular schedule [will permit you] to do more to get the ball rolling” sooner.