This is a guest post written by Tom from ThisOnlineWorld.com! Be sure to check out his blog for more posts on making money, personal finance, and other tips.
I think there is a relatively ‘cookie-cutter’ path that many young adults are expected to follow in this day and age: go to school, get great grades, get a solid job, and build a career.
However, I also think that times are starting to change. After all, a 2018 Bankrate report found that nearly 38% of Americans have a second job or side hustle, and a Deloitte survey revealed that 62% of millennials regard the gig economy as an alternative to regular employment.
The point is that we live in a world where technology has made it easier than ever before to start a side hustle or to work multiple jobs.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I went to college, and I think education or taking a more traditional path has a lot of value.
However, I also believe that the trend of having a side hustle is extremely valuable, especially for young adults. It doesn’t matter if you’re a student, trying to pay off debt, or are already working full-time. Side hustling has a variety of benefits that go beyond the bank account.
So, if you’re looking for a way to improve your finances, skill set, career progress, and even quality of life, be sure to read this one until the end!
Time to examine the 5 main reasons to start a side hustle, as well as some ideas to get the ball rolling!
The Number One Reason to Start A Side Hustle – Skill Development
I recently made the switch to full-time freelance writing and blogging and left my previous 9-5 job behind. Now, don’t get me wrong, working a 9-5 job has many benefits. Steady and reliable income, possible benefits, and establishing roots in a company aren’t perks to be scoffed at.
However, what irked me most about finishing school and starting an office job was the sharp and sudden lack of learning that I was suddenly faced with.
Entry level jobs are, well, entry level. Even if you land a job with higher-than-average responsibilities and a steep learning curve, every job has a ceiling in regards to learning. If you aren’t careful, this can mean you spend several years becoming proficient in a narrow set of tasks without really expanding your skill set.
Side hustles almost always fix this problem.
It doesn’t matter if you start your own blog, turn to freelancing, or pick up a random job using some popular gig apps or various remote job websites: starting a new side hustle will force you to try something new and to continuously learn. From learning how to deal with clients to simply becoming better with customer service or dealing with people, side hustles regularly take you out of your comfort zone and force you to think on your feet.
Plus, developing new hard and soft skills from a second job can have a direct and positive impact on your current job or future employment. Ultimately, by taking on a new challenge, you can continue to learn outside of your regular job and broaden your skill toolbox for use down the line.
Reason #2 – Earn More Monthly Income
Okay, I admittedly said that this post would tackle some of the benefits of starting a side hustle that go beyond the bank account.
But, when you consider that media income for millennials with a side hustle was $200 a month in 2019 (not too shabby), I think it’s worth breaking down the pure financials here.
I mean, just imagine how powerful a few extra hundred dollars of monthly income could be?
Some uses for the money that come to mind include:
- Paying off debt faster.
- Starting a modest investment portfolio.
- Handling gifts and emergency expenses for the year.
- Taking care of all your monthly bills – stop living paycheck to paycheck.
- Investing into the start of a new business (maybe you need to purchase a type of tool, materials, or inventory for a new entrepreneurial pursuit!)
- Taking a cool trip somewhere.
The point is, taking an active step to improve your finances doesn’t have to consume your life. With just a few shifts of a gig economy job, a modest blog, or a single freelance client, you could easily boost your monthly income by a few hundred dollars. What you do with the money is up to you, but the opportunities are endless!
Reason #3 – Expand Your Network
When I was in college, I made a LinkedIn account and started going to some ‘Business Workshop’ events on campus because I thought that was how I was supposed to network.
Well, let me tell you, starting a blog and getting into freelance writing has expanded my professional network more than any job fair or event ever could.
The thing about freelancing or side hustling is that it exposes you to an incredible amount of people and industries within a very rapid period. For me, freelance writing got me in touch with dozens of other bloggers, writers, editors, and entrepreneurs, but any job will do this (as long as you are forced to deal with people).
Even if your side hustle is walking dogs for Rover or renting out a spare room on Airbnb, you will cross paths with more people that you otherwise would have. By making a basic effort to understand your clients and to find some common ground, you’d be shocked at how fast your network will grow.
Reason #4 – Sheer Enjoyment
Progressing towards our goals actually makes us happier, according to psychology. Procrastination, in contrast, undermines our happiness. Already, I’m sure you can see the implications this has for starting a side hustle or side business and the impact on overall quality of life.
Side hustles are great because they provide a new type of challenge that also yields tangible results (i.e. more income, new clients, completing projects). For anyone with a dull 9-5 job, this can be an absolute lifesaver in terms of overall quality of life and happiness.
Plus, there’s something deeply satisfying about being fully responsible for the work you produce or the outcome of a new business venture.
Reason #5 – Potentially Life Changing?
I’ve met plenty of business owners or full-time freelancers over the past years who all have a similar story…they worked on a side hustle outside of their normal job, and after some time, were able to scale their side project into a full-time business or income stream.
There’s no other way around it. Starting a side hustle is a catalyst for getting more opportunities.
It doesn’t matter if you blog, YouTube, or clean barbeques for people in your spare time (I legitimately know someone from school who started a BBQ cleaning business out of his side hustle), you never know where your efforts will take you.
All of the late nights or extra work outside of a normal job might seem draining, and at times, the extra work certainly is. However, if you want to make a positive change in your life and spend more time doing what you love, I think making the sacrifice and putting in the time is worth it. Plus, there are ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle while working a tonne, provided you know some key tips.
Finding The Right Side Hustle
If I had to give advice for someone looking to boost their monthly income by starting a side hustle, it would be these three tips.
Define A Goal – This is the most important thing to do before starting out. Do you desperately need more monthly income to pay down bills? Or, are you itching to make a career change and want to learn new skills that will help land a better job?
Take time to define your goals, and make sure they are measurable (I.e. ‘I need to make an extra $500 per month,’ or ‘I want to learn how to program in Java so I can find a job so I’m going to complete this specific course.’)
Select A Timeframe – If you need money immediately, you unfortunately don’t have the luxury to spend much time planning. However, if you can define a timeframe in relation to the goals you just set, you should do so.
Setting a timeframe in relation to measurable goals will help keep you on track and accountable. Record your weekly progress towards your long-term goal, and reflect on your progress every month or so.
Play To Your Strengths – Don’t chase a side hustle (or even a job, for that matter) just because it sounds good on paper or the pay is great. When picking a side job or business to launch, you need to play to your strengths.
For one, this will let you hit the ground running, and avoiding steep learning curves will help ensure you don’t burnout early on or give up. Secondly, if you want to deliver a great product/service and excel at what you do, sticking with what you know makes sense.
Final Thoughts + My Favorite Resources
At the end of the day, starting a side hustle isn’t the perfect idea for everyone. However, I argue that for young adults, the benefits of taking on a side project/business are too great to pass up.
After all extra monthly income, skill and career development, and the potential to change your entire life are some pretty significant perks.
If you want to start a side hustle today but aren’t sure where to start, here are some of my favorite resources and guides:
- Reddit – Various Reddit forums are a wealth of information when it comes to side hustling or entrepreneurship. My favorite communities include r/juststart and r/sidehustle, but if you search for your specific side hustle idea, you’ll probably find a community of passionate people already in the field.
- Facebook Groups – Same idea as Reddit here. Join niche Facebook groups that relate to your side hustle to get ideas, inspiration, and possible job opportunities. The freelance writing and blogging groups I have joined have been great for this.
- Side Hustle Nation – a pretty solid website for finding specific resources and tips for pretty much any side gig you could think of.
- Leila’s YouTube Channel – I was lucky to find Leila’s blog from Pinterest, and I quickly became a fan of both her blogging content and YouTube channel. If you want to learn more about productivity, discipline, goal setting, and health, you absolutely need to subscribe.
That’s all for now! I hope you have enjoyed reading. Best of luck in whatever side hustle you decide to take on. If you stick with it, I bet you’ll be surprised at how much you grow in a shockingly short period of time.
Author Bio: Tom is a freelance writer and blogger at This Online World. In his spare time, Tom enjoys spending time outdoors and traveling to new countries.