Side Hustle or Focus On Job: Is One Better For You?

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When it comes to making more money, you can take two main paths: focus on your job or start a side hustle. Both have pros and cons and which is better depends on your situation.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the tradeoff between having a side hustle, growing wealth, and earning power through your job. We’ll help you decide which option is best for you!

What is a side hustle, and why should you consider one?

Is a side hustle the right fit for you?

A side hustle is a way to make extra money outside of your full-time job or other responsibilities, like childcare or eldercare. Many women have side hustles because they’re passionate about something and want to make some extra cash, but others do it to earn more. Some women cobble together many side gigs into high income.

Examples of side hustles include:

  • Being a virtual assistant or social media manager
  • Blogging and freelance writing
  • Direct sales (through companies like Stella and Dot or a virtual call center, a la PizzaHut)
  • Instacart, Food Delivery, Lyft, and Other on-demand services
  • Part-time work in retail or food service

If you have ever been good at something, you can turn it into a side hustle.

How do you choose a side hustle?

Many side hustles have an entrepreneurial element, but some are more steady, so it’s essential to ask yourself, “How comfortable am I with risk?” Doordash and Instacart don’t pay great ($15-20 per hour), but both are a lot more lucrative initially than your new YouTube channel. Your vlog may earn more two years from now, but that won’t be built in a week.

The Pros of Having a Side Hustle

The pros of having a side hustle are vast!

There is a mindset needed for success when it comes to side hustles. It’s not just about having a plan and executing it but also being able to shift your focus from one task to another to accomplish all your current responsibilities and side hustle goals simultaneously. But there are some upsides!

Additional income: A side hustle can provide you with an additional stream of revenue, which can help you achieve your financial goals, such as getting out of debt.

Income diversity: A side hustle can help you to build a more diverse income stream, which can help to reduce your financial risk.

Flexibility: A side hustle can allow you to work around your other commitments, such as childcare or eldercare.

Career exploration: A side hustle can be a great way to explore a new career or build your skills in an area you’re interested in.

Socialization: Jobs get you out of the house, which is particularly attractive if you care for young children. Some side hustles have excellent social networks built-in or bring you face-to-face with people daily.

Generational Wealth: A side hustle can help you to build generational wealth by getting you past “making ends meet” and helping you start building assets to pass down to your children or other family members.

Passion: If you have a passion for something, a side hustle can be a great way to pursue it while still earning an income.

The Cons of Having a Side Hustle

Though there are plenty of benefits to having a side hustle, the cons are great as well.

Side hustles aren’t always worth it. They also have some downsides you should consider before starting one up because starting will take effort if not money.

Time commitment: A side hustle can take up much of your time, especially at the beginning, which could interfere with other obligations, such as your job or family.

Financial risk: Some side hustles can be financial, significantly if you’re investing money.

Stress: A side hustle can be stressful, even if it’s going well. It adds complexity to your life.

Tax complexity: A side hustle can complicate your taxes, especially if it counts as self-employment income, like much gig work. If you’re uncomfortable with the tax side of personal finance, you will need to level up.

What to Consider Before Starting a Side Hustle

Before beginning your new side hustle, you have a lot to consider!

There are a few things to consider before taking on a side job.

First, think about your goal. Do you want to supplement your income quickly, gain new skills, or pivot into something new? These are all great reasons to start a side hustle.

Being clear about what you want to achieve will help you make other important decisions, like what opportunity to pursue, how much of your attention or personal time to sacrifice, how long you’re willing to go before your side hustle is profitable, and how you will know it’s a fit.

A clear goal helps answer these questions. It’s not the same for everyone.

If you are considering starting a side hustle, then something else to consider is how you will be paid for your jobs and activities. You might be wondering which payment options to offer and accept.

There are plenty to choose from, including bank transfers and Paypal. Using these apps is pretty straightforward to pay and receive money. You can thank Elon Musk for the start of Paypal. Elon Musk’s net worth is now $198 Billion because of all his business ventures. 

When to focus on your day job/career instead

How should you (realistically) split up your day between your side hustle and day job?

There are only two reasons it makes sense to stay at a company economically.

First, if your main job helps you build skills you can leverage in your next appointment (and pay negotiation), it might pay off to invest now to earn more later.

Second, if you are at a company that offers a promotion path that will move you into a higher salary bracket, and you have support from your boss (and their boss) to pursue that path, stick around. (If it’s something you want to do).

If you don’t have a clear path to promotion, or if your boss is not supporting you in getting promoted, it is time to start looking for a new job or focus on expanding your income and experience with a side hustle.

Fortunately, looking for new opportunities is relatively easy and something everyone can do with the right approach. Starting with resume templates for Word, you can quickly build a CV that talks about your skills, experience, and what you can offer the firm. You could even include stories from your side hustle and how it’s helped you build more well-rounded skills, even if it didn’t lead you anywhere in the end. 

You can also start putting out feelers to see whether anyone in your network would be willing to hire you for a better position or connect you with someone who will. These in-person word-of-mouth liaisons can be highly effective, particularly in smaller industries with fewer people. 

How to make the most of your time if you decide to focus on your job

If you’ve decided to focus on your career, there are a few things you can do  to make the most of your time:

Update your resume and LinkedIn profile: Make sure your overview is up-to-date and tailored to the types of jobs you’re interested in. Your LinkedIn profile should also reflect your current position and any relevant side projects.

Network: Get connected with people in your field, attend events, and join relevant LinkedIn groups.

Learn new things: Take on new assignments at work, volunteer for committees or projects, and look for opportunities to learn new skills.

Make your growth intentions known and get buy-in:  Talk to your boss about your long-term goals and get their feedback on how you can best contribute to the company. Write it into your performance review and bring it up regularly enough to not seem like you hate your job.

Final Thoughts

Having a side hustle can be great  but it is hard work.

I worked through college and grad school. Then, I worked second jobs early in my career simply because I needed to make rent. I worked at non-profits as a volunteer later in my career to give back, meet people, and build skills and reputation.

They were all exhausting. And I always felt like I was doing a terrible job at my side hustle. But I met great people, learned new skills, developed a hustle mindset, and, most importantly, had a roof over my tired head while building wealth.

The bottom line is this: focus on your job if it’s helping you build skills or grow your income but don’t be afraid to look for other opportunities if it’s not. A side hustle can be a great way to supplement your income, gain new skills, or even pivot into something new. Just be clear about your goals and be willing to put in the work.

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