The quirky cool girl you always see knitting on the train? Her side hustle is selling on Etsy. The tech support guy you sometimes sit with at lunch? He does his own freelance web design. And that chatty stranger who stopped you in the street to take an Instagram photo of your outfit? She’s hustling, too, with her commercialised blog.
Everyone is at it. The side hustle in all its forms is a distinctly Millennial concept. With more options than ever, you might be tempted. Here are five unexpected reasons why you should get hustling today.
1. Compound Interest
One of the main draws to starting a side hustle is the option to bring in some extra cash. Which is great if you have a handbag habit or exotic vacation to fund. But where this gets really, ahem, interesting, is interest — compound interest, to be precise.
Money earned and invested while you’re young is worth more to you than money earned when you’re further down your career path. Simply by saving the income from a single high school summer job, you could use compound interest to beat the average American pension pot.
But the early years are precisely when we are least inclined to cut our costs to pay off student debt or start investing in a 401K. That’s where the side hustle comes in. Prop up your earnings, and use the extra to invest. You won’t regret it.
2. Unemployment Insurance
When the robots come to take over your job, do you have a plan B?
Your side hustle might be your perfect insurance against unemployment in a world where organizational change and layoffs are all too familiar. Pick a field where you can develop marketable skills, and even if the worst should happen, you can fall back on them to earn your keep.
Tech-based side hustles are particularly useful in this respect, as you learn the skills that will be really in demand in the next few years. But don’t forget the more traditional practical skills people seek out, like hairdressing, beauty services, and skilled trades.
3. Increased Confidence
If you’re not sure what your side hustle could be, then pick something that takes you out of your comfort zone. Learning a new skill and pushing your own boundaries will do wonders for your confidence, as well as building a business.
Try building on a skill you’re already confident in, but in a way that stretches your boundaries. For example, if you play a musical instrument well, offer lessons to improve your teaching technique, or design an interactive web course to share your knowledge with other learners.
Technology makes it easier than ever to find creative ways to connect with people who might be interested in your knowledge, products, or skills. Treat it as a challenge to increase your own experience level while earning on the side.
4. Creating New Passions
Turning something that’s currently a hobby, into an income generator is a sure way to make sure you dedicate more time to it. Rather than feeling a slightly guilty twinge when you “waste time” on your passion, you’re investing in your business and yourself.
Even better, you might discover new passions and interests along the way. These can help keep you fresh and interested, and give breadth outside the usual industry silos we get trapped in.
5. Professional Development
Even if you have no expectation that you will change your career course, your side hustle can add value to the day job. Most of us need to practice continued professional development, and the side hustle can be a good way to do that while profiting from your efforts.
For the best results, choose a route that allows you to develop skills to complement the work you do on a daily basis. If you work in an area that values vocational skills, you could become a trainer or assessor for the relevant qualifications. In a large team environment or in a corporate setting, think about training as a coach or mentor, to add value in your day job as well as build your freelance business. If you’re a skilled writer or public speaker, deepen your knowledge of a niche area related to your job and write for industry magazines, or pitch to present at conferences. These are all ways to bring in additional income, while also improving your prospects in your main employment.
It’s easy to see why more and more of us are seeking out a side hustle to add some variety to our working life. From offering a creative outlet and allowing for further personal and professional development, the benefits go far beyond the immediate cash boost you can get from taking on some extra work.
Do you have a side hustle that changed your life? Let us know in the comments!