Friday, November 11, 2016

Should I Do the (Side) Hustle?

"Do the Hustle..."If you are of a certain age, that phrase brings back memories of disco balls and leisure suits and dancing with your friends at your favorite college bar.  Today, the term "side hustle" refers to a job you perform, usually as an independent contractor, outside of your usual job.  So, should you have a side hustle?

Do You Need the Money?

That's the first question.  Can you pay the bills every month, save for retirement, pay off any debts you have incurred and save for major expenses that you know you will be incurring in the near future on what you make at your regular job?  If the answer to that question is yes, then you don't need a side hustle, so you can decide if you want one.  If the answer to that question is no, if an unexpected expense has you paying interest on a credit card to pay for it,  then you either need a new full time job or a side hustle. 

Can You Meet Your Family Obligations?

As you have no doubt heard before, people don't lay on their deathbed wishing they had spent more time at work.  If you don't need a side hustle to make ends meet, you need to consider family time before taking one.  If your side hustle means that you regularly do not see your children when they are awake, you need to reconsider whether the side hustle is a good thing in your life.  If your spouse is complaining that s/he never sees you, the side hustle may cost you your marriage.  Just because you can have a side hustle doesn't mean you should have one.

Do You Like Your Side Hustle?

Maybe you have a side hustle that is more like a hobby that  work--one that pretty much functions to pay for your hobby.  Maybe you make quilts and sell them, making enough to pay for the materials for the next quilt and put a (very) few dollars in your pocket. Maybe you blog for review copies of books and a couple of dollars a week from AdSense.  Perhaps you love animals and pick up some extra cash walking the neighbor's dog.  Side hustles that you enjoy, and would consider doing even if they didn't pay, can be a great part of your life.  On the other hand, if you groan when your side hustle email box shows a new message, it could be time to pull the plug on it, or redirect your side hustle to another path.  

Are You Gaining a Skill You Can Apply to Your Career?

A side hustle can give you the chance to acquire and practise skills that can be valuable to your career, even if your side hustle is in a totally different area.  You learn to sell yourself, deal with clients, and perform the job tasks without a direct supervisor.  Those are skills it never hurts to put on a resume, and if you need them to move up at work, then sacrificing evenings and weekends to obtain them may be worth it.  On the other hand, if your side hustle isn't teaching you anything, then it is time to consider if you have one of the other reasons for keeping it.  

Are You Trying Out a New Career Path?

Some people start a side hustle in a field they are considering for a new full time job.  You may want to be writer, but not a starving artist.  If you can build up a freelance clientele by working evenings and weekends, then quiting your job to be a freelance writer isn't so scary.  Walking the neighbor's dog could grow into a pet care business.  While working full time and building a freelance business can mean some long hours, if you give yourself a deadline --I'll be making enough to quit my day job by (date) or I'll quit (or cut back on) the side hustle.

So, Should You Have a Side Hustle?

If you don't need one, then you should have a side hustle only if you want one, or have a good reason to have one.  You should regularly re-evaluate whether the side hustle is meeting your needs and the needs of your family (including the need for free time) and keep hustling only if it is good for you and your family.  
*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich. *


  1. Everywhere you turn, people are encouraging side hustles. While I think multiple streams of income is important, often people don't weigh the true costs to your life and family when you're struggling hard with a side hustle.

  2. Jamie beat me to it, but I was going to say that another reason could be diversifying your income. But you make an important point about being able to balance your side hustle with your family & free time. If you need more money but don't have additional time to dedicate to a side hustle, it's time to re-evaluate your main income source.

  3. I believe that everyone should have some kind of side hustle. I've been able to eliminate debt and travel because of mine. I understand the argument about re-evaluating your main income source, but it's not that simple for everyone to just change jobs.

  4. Weighing all the reasons why you are considering a side hustle is important. Life is not all about work. Your point is well taken if you don't need a side hustle don't take one. Sometimes the more you make the more you feel free to spend.

  5. This is exactly why I stopped spending so much time on my blog. I was making so little money for the time I spent on it. I haven't given up on it completely, but I have to make my main job, husband and family a priority over my blog. The nice part about blogging is you don't really have to spend anything to get started and you can blog from home.