I am guest-posting this week for my friend Charissa over at Cook with a Shoe. She is running a whole series on the side hustle and she asked me to write about my experiences with side hustles. Here is my post about Fiverr and I’m working on another one about being a Pinterest VA (Virtual Assistant).
This got me thinking about the whole side hustle phenomenon and why I think they are so important. By the way, in case you are wondering a side hustle, isn’t something illegal, though I guess it sounds kind of shady. But really it’s any type of a side business, hobby, or other opportunities where you can earn extra money. Sometimes it’s a little bit, but sometimes it’s a LOT. It all depends on what you choose, how hard you work at it, and sometimes how lucky you are.
ONE – A Side Hustle Gives You Financial Peace
I talk to my friends and most of the time, they are stressed about money. I’m really not in that boat at all. Not that I’m making tons of money at this, but I’ve seen it in action and I know there are some amazing possibilities.
I had one friend say to me – I’ve made $75,000 on a special promotion this week, and it’s only THURSDAY. What do you do information like that? I literally couldn’t wrap my mind around it. Another good friend is making $10,000 a month as a social media manager. That’s pretty crazy. And lots of my friends are making regular small incomes from blogs, selling products, or doing consulting.
Just having that little bit of extra income just gives you a little bit of breathing room between paychecks or when an unexpected bill comes up. Mine is helping me put my son through college and do some much-needed updates on our house. But the nice thing is that I’m not sweating it until the next payday like most of my friends.
TWO – A Side Hustle Gives You Flexibility
I work a full-time job in addition to running my blog and the other things I do. But even if you are a stay at home Mom, most side hustles are things you can do whenever you want to work on them. That gives you the flexibility to tailor your schedule to care for your children, work at a day job, or just have time to enjoy yourself. Most 9 to 5 jobs don’t offer much in the way of flexibility like that.
Plus, you don’t always have much control when you are working at a traditional job. A company can go out of business, you can get laid off, you could be transferred to a really horrible boss, or you could be fired. With a side hustle, it’s not always a bed of roses, but you have a lot more control. If Plan A isn’t working out, you have the flexibility to try Plan B, C, D, into infinity….
THREE – Side Hustles are Easy to Start
Even better, for most side hustles, you don’t need a lot of qualifications. You don’t need a diploma or a job interview or someone’s approval in most cases. A lot of my friends are working full-time, raising a family AND trying to go back to school. That way lies CRAZY-TOWN in my opinion. Work, school, or kids – pick any two. Pick all three and you are in for a bumpy ride!You don't need a diploma or a job interview or someone's approval for a side hustle
With a side hustle, you just pick your course of action and get going on it. Now, the flip side of that is that you have no guarantee of success whatsoever. That can be a bit scary, especially if you are depending on it for your main income, but it’s also a great motivator. I’ll be honest – some of my early side-hustles didn’t work out at all. I not only didn’t make money, but in some cases I got myself into debt by making some poor choices.
Especially in MLM companies – like Pampered Chef, DoTerra, Tupperware, etc. it’s very easy to be your own best customer. And that’s where I went astray. I wracked up a couple of thousands in debt when I worked for a stamping and scrapbooking company because I kept buying stuff with the idea that I could use it to create more sales. Nope! And most of it is still sitting down in my basement gathering dust.
But, if you’re smart and disciplined and strategic, you can do quite nicely. And for many side hustles, you can start with them for a very small outlay, most times under $500. My Mom had a very entrepreneurial spirit, but back in the day, you had to have a brick and mortar store with a bunch of inventory to run a side business.
When I first became an Ebay seller, back when my kids were little, my Mom was my biggest cheerleader. She thought it was amazing that I could make money with my computer. And she happily donated all the supplies from her failed craft business that was taking up space in HER basement for me to sell.
FOUR – Side Hustles Give You Variety and Creativity
Especially if you have a boring day job, or have a life that isn’t very interesting, a side hustle can offer you the ability to learn new skills, meet new people, dust off old hobbies, and just break out of your shell. I think about all the wonderful people I’ve met through my blog and all the fabulous experiences I’ve had. Read my article Why Blogging is the BEST Hobby. Even if you don’t end up making $75,000 in a week, you might end up making new friends, learning new skills, and gaining more confidence. That beats sitting on the couch binge-watching Netflix or playing Candy Crush on your phone.
FIVE – A Side Hustle Lets You Help Others
One of the most rewarding things about working a side hustle is that you are able to help other people. I used to do complaint letters and crowdfunding campaigns on Fiverr. It was time-consuming, and got a little crazy sometimes (you wouldn’t believe what some people try to crowdfund!) but it definitely was a way to help others. I used to teach a monthly card-making and stamping class – that gave Moms a night out and some fun. Now I help people with Pinterest – that’s fun and interesting to me, as well as a good source of income.
I used to do a LOT of volunteer work. I mean, a whole lot. I’ve been named a Volunteer of the Year at work for five years running. It’s a good thing, but I was spending a lot of my time and energy doing all that stuff. I decided if I was going to take that much time away from my family, I needed to be making some money out of it. And really, it was filling a need – for connection and variety and helping people. Now, I can do that and get PAID for it. Win-win!
So – do YOU have a side hustle? Are you thinking about starting one? You’ll want to check out Charissa’s whole side hustle series for some great ideas on how to get started with several different ones.