The side hustle is becoming a popular saying and now there are books out about it but when talking to people I’m not seeing that many people actually embracing the strategy. On one hand I totally get it. A side hustle means you are doing it on the side of whatever else you are already doing so it is cutting into play time. The flip side to that is depending on your goals the side hustle can be a big help in reaching them. The side hustle can start at any age and is on the side of whatever your “job” is. The lemonade stand to me is the classic side hustle. As kids our job was school but why not make a little coin from a thirsty neighbor. Growing up in a rural area a lemonade stand was not a very viable option at about two cars an hour going by. For me it was sunglasses. I would take orders for Foakley’s, fake Oakley’s, before our family trips to Mexico. Down there I would haggle until the cows came home and then resell them when I got home. I can’t say this resulted in a large financial windfall, but I did learn some valuable skills while putting a little money in my pocket.
I have basically had at least one side hustle going on at a time for most of my life and I continue to do so. For me it has led to extra money, so I can use 100% of it for investing. It has also allowed me to do jobs, gain experience, and learn skills that I otherwise would not have. It has been invaluable for me and by doing things on the side I can jump in without feeling the financial burden of stopping what is paying the bills.
I recently answered a question on LinkedIn from a young man asking how to maximize his return on the MBA he is going to get. The short version of my answer to him was to find a side hustle whether it be just getting a job or starting some sort of business. To me that is what the side hustle is perfect for. It allows you to try a job that you may or may not like and make a little extra money. Maybe you love it and make it your full-time gig, maybe you find you don’t like it and can walk away without a major impact on your life. It can also be a perfect way to start a new business. So many stories of entrepreneurship start with quitting your job and taking on a bunch of debt. That is certainly an option, but I am here to tell you that it is not the only option. To start a business small, and inexpensively can give you the opportunity test the market, see if you enjoy it, and build a foundation before taking the plunge.
One of my side hustles was Highway 9 Design which was a screen printing business. It took very little to start up and my friends and I were making some extra money from day one. This was right before Harper was born so I stepped out of the business fairly quickly to be at home more, but my friends still run it and it is a great side hustle for them.
My recommendation is find a way to use a side hustle to get you financially ahead, gain some extra experience, and have fun with whatever it is!