Side Hustle or Career? Secret Tips to Choose Your Path
A side hustle can be an excellent way to increase your income. For some people, side hustles have become their main source of income. They’ve said farewell to the regular 9-5 to earn their living through smaller jobs. For others, it’s a great way to supplement income and pad their savings or have a little extra spending money. Having a side gig or two is a great option for money to earn more without needing to finding a second job. Many of these positions allow you to work your own hours, take time off at whim, and even build your own business. However, not all gigs are created equal.
Truly, it’s important to note that not all side hustles are lucrative. Furthermore, some opportunities do not work the same way for everyone. Take a look at your skills, the gigs available, and your goals. Additionally, consider other factors such as your desired schedule. Then, decide what you want to do.
Once you’ve come up with a plan, then it’s time to start building your side hustle.
Tips to Find a Good Side Hustle
There are some side hustles where you need to spend some money upfront to earn money. You might have to buy some tools, equipment, and training materials to start your side business. However, this is not the case with all the side hustles. Some of them may not need any investment.
Mainly, if you’re working for another company, such as a food delivery service, you will have no to minimal costs at the start. These companies often provide you with everything you need to get started.
On the other hand, if you’re starting your own business, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll need to buy supplies. Before you start buying, calculate all of your costs and know what to expect. Always include extra funds in your budget in case you missed a cost or there is an emergency, such as needing to buy enough supplies for a big order. Once your budget is organized, compare it to your savings. How does everything balance out? If you’re looking at serious debt, reconsider your plan. Is everything on your list a necessity?
If you’ve cut out the fat and still find yourself in the negative, you may need to reconsider. Not all ideas can be followed, especially if you’re struggling financially.
Learn New Skills
Not all the side hustles will require the same skills. For example, you may choose the creative route and create paintings, sculptures, or functional tools. Or, you may start your own cleaning or detailing business. As a delivery driver, you can learn shortcuts and improve your driving skills. Regardless, every venture requires skill in a different field. Yet, there are a few abilities that every successful side hustler shares.
When you’re starting your own business, you need to know how to talk to people. This includes marketing, customer service, and general communication skills. Truly, no one will want to buy what you’re selling if you can’t explain what it is. However, these abilities don’t appear overnight.
First, sit and jot down the skills you already have. What field would you excel in? Where does your passion lie? Then, consider the possibilities. Do you want to sell a service or an item? What does each option require from you? Write down the skills each possibility would require. Next, compare and contrast the two lists. Is anything missing? If so, consider investing in yourself next.
While degrees and certificates are ideal for building new skills, they’re not always affordable or accessible. Thus, consider seeking help from websites, blogs, and books. There are thousands of self-help books out there for just about every skill. Start filling in those gaps to prepare for your new side hustle.
Choose an Interesting Side Hustle
A side hustle can be enjoyable if you can find the right opportunity for yourself. If you plan to spend your free time working, the work needs to be interesting. Otherwise, you may get bored and even wind up giving it up.
Truly, it’s difficult to get home from a 9-5 or other full-time job just to start working again. If you’re not relying on your side hustle, it can be easy to fall out of routine and forget about it altogether. Taking a day off may lead to a week, a month, and then forever. As such, you need to take care of your needs and develop a realistic schedule.
Side hustle burnout is real. But, you will not need to spend 8+ hours each day on these side projects. If you do what you love, you can come home and work an hour or two on something you love each day. Alternatively, you can dedicate a few hours each weekend to maintain your side business. However, always be careful about turning hobbies into businesses.
Creative sorts sometimes find that when they start selling their work, they no longer enjoy making it. Truly, doing what you love and getting paid for it sounds wonderful. Yet, you need to consider that you’ll be on a deadline, critics will harshly review your products, and clients will request changes that you don’t enjoy making. Some creatives have realized they no longer enjoy their hobbies after selling their services. Instead, what was once fun now feels like work, whether they’re creating for a client or themselves.
In the end, make sure to find a balance between your interests and your job. Find what you love, but make sure to leave space for yourself to relax.
Evaluate Your Potential Income
As we mentioned before, the income opportunities for all the side hustles are not the same. If you are looking for a side income to pay off your debts or increase your emergency savings, you will have to look for a side hustle that will bring in enough money.
When you’re starting your own business, sometimes the costs outweigh your income, but balance out as time goes on. For example, if you need to buy a lot of supplies upfront, this creates a large initial debt. As you get more clients, you’ll need to buy more supplies. After you’ve paid off the initial debt and have regular customers, you’ll then see higher income.
On the other hand, you may start a business that requires you to drive more. This wear-and-tear on your car can result in it needing costly repairs and maintenance. Thus, you may have higher income upfront, but after so many months on the road, you’ll need to pay a substantial amount to get your car fixed up.
Consider your current financial situation versus all of the possible costs of each job.
Consider the Time Commitment
Side hustles sometimes take up so much time that they feel like full-time jobs, especially for those who start their own business. Thus, when thinking of starting a side hustle, you need decide how much time you want to dedicate and set hard barriers. If you let your side hustle take over your life, you may find yourself burnt out.
Thus, know how much time every position will require. This can often be found through research. Even if you have a unique idea, you’ll be able to find similar business models out there to see what to expect.
Additionally, if you only want to spend three or four hours every week on your side hustle, know how that will impact your business. Don’t expect it to grow without attention. The more time you spend developing your gig, creating products, and finding clients, the more successful you’ll be. You need to answer clients, create products or complete services, and keep your webpage up-to-date. But, it won’t mean disaster if you’re only available at certain times. It’ll just mean slower growth.
On the topic of time, be sure to write clear expectations on your page for clients. If you only respond in the evenings or on weekends, make sure it’s clear to anyone who might inquire.
Should You Pick a Side Hustle Over a Career?
For some lucky entrepreneurs, a side hustle can become a career. Truly, an amazing benefit of a successful side business is that you can become your own boss. What started out as a way to make money on the side is now a thriving business bringing in more money than your 9-5. Yet, this isn’t reality for everyone, nor is it what everyone wants.
Many people don’t want to run their own business. It can be insanely stressful. Honestly, when you’re in charge of every aspect, it can feel like the world is resting on your shoulders.
Thus, even if you’re getting started, you should consider how far you want your side hustle to go. Should you stay fully on the side, or do you want it to replace your career one day? Do you have what it takes to run your own business? If the answer is no, you’re not alone.
In the end, the beauty of a side hustle is that you can take it as far as you want to go. You’re your own boss and if you want to scale back, you can. Just consider your limits beforehand.
Downsides to Keeping a Day Job and a Side Hustle
There are many upsides to having two incomes, but it’s important to look at both sides when considering your future. Holding two or more jobs can be stressful. Explicitly, it can be exhausting to come home from work just to get back to work. Picture finishing your commute, taking off your shoes, and sitting down just to pick up your laptop and answer 50 email inquiries that came in while you were in the office. By the time you answer everyone, you find you haven’t had dinner and, also, it’s time for bed.
This is the reality for many gig workers across the world. However, it’s not how things need to be. Even if you get those 50 emails, you don’t need to answer them all at once. Rather, schedule your side hustle time. As with any job, boundaries are important. There are options out there that only require one hour of work per week.
What Should You Do First?
Having a full-time job is important. You get benefits such as healthcare and get a guaranteed paycheck. Thus, you should first ensure that you have a regular income before starting your side hustle. Most people use side gigs to increase their revenue first. Then, once their business takes off, they consider leaving their career behind.
Truly, running your own business can be risky. It’s always better to have a safety net. Often, your career will be the more stable option. Use the dual-income to build up savings and buy supplies and create padding in case something goes wrong. Then, once you’ve figured out the ins-and-outs of running a successful business, you can consider leaving your 9-5 behind to be your own boss.