Side Hustles are the Sh*t

Which day is the best day? Payday!

We all love getting paid, but employment is about more than money.  For lucky people, their career is their passion. For many of us, work is a responsibility.  We all dedicate years – sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars – to become specialized in a field.  Work permeates our lives, our identities, and our egos. Rightly or wrongly, to some, our job is fundamentally who we are.

But career work is shifting.  The traditional 9-5-er is more fluid, with people holding positions for fewer years on average.  Telecommuting and self-employment are increasingly mainstream, partially out of necessity, and especially in younger age brackets.  More Americans are left paying for their own benefits and overhead than in previous generations.

Modern living is expensive, and to cover ever-increasing costs, people are hustling.  They are more and more taking on what Millennials call, “side hustles.”

A side hustle is a service or product provided outside of primary employment to bring in extra income.  It could be a monetized hobby, a craft, or something that requires certification or special qualifications.  The great news is that side hustles can be really fun!

A friend of mine designs t-shirts.  Another is a freelance writer.  One owns a wine bar, while another coaches runners.  I re-house my clothes and teach English.

To start-up, side hustles typically have low barriers to entry, but don’t kid yourself, work is still work.  Side hustles require elbow grease, dedication, and capital, just like any job, so choose an endeavor you genuinely enjoy.  Moreover, if you hope to get paid, get organized.  Invoicing, shipping, vendor and customer relations will become the everyday, but if working outside of work sounds appealing, a side hustle is probably for you.

Tempted?  Here are some popular ways to moonlight: 

Professional services – This one’s a no brainer.  Technology support, editing, translation, tutoring, graphics design, catering – the list is endless.  Every one of you is great at something, and you may not be getting paid (enough) for it.  Start selling these much needed services and turn your skills into revenue.

Child/pet/home care – For most of us, our first job was as a babysitter.  If you enjoy kids and have the time, there are countless families looking for a helping hand.  Same goes for animal lovers willing to check-in on housebound pets.  Caretakers typically walk away, cash-in-hand.

Make your own… – Frank Zappa said, “Art is making something out of nothing, and selling it.”  Whether it’s art or music, clothes or food, some of us just have to express ourselves, man.  Luckily, online selling makes it possible to reach customers.  Will you make money?  Maybe.  Not all of us are Warhols, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be fulfilled.

Traditional second gigs – Calling all lifeguards, bartenders, and Uber drivers!  Taking on a part-time job is more popular than ever.  One of the coolest things Millennials can teach us is not to judge the hustle.  If you take joy in it and it pads your pockets, proceed!

Franchises – We tend to be apprehensive of pursuits where you lay out money upfront, and especially skeptical of any venture categorized as multi-level marketing, however, these opportunities abound.  Your friends may be leveraging their social media feeds to pitch nutrition brands, sell skin care solutions, or promote their merch.  Aficionados of this hustle are drawn to the community and the promise of incentives.  As a buyer or seller, be very careful.  Don’t gamble more than you can afford.

Whatever the hustle, the risks are worth the rewards.  The payoffs of starting and managing a cottage business are awesome, and the experience will inevitably spill over into your day job.  You may find a new purpose AND make some mad money!  Side hustles are the sh*t.