• Eve Arnold

Why Side Hustles Aren’t For Everyone — And That’s Okay

Side hustles aren’t for everyone and that’s okay.

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Photo by Júnior Ferreira on Unsplash

Work 9–5 and then get home, take off your shoes (or keep them on) and work till 11.

If you’re tuned into Gary Vaynerchuk, it’s more like work 9pm-2am.

Side hustles have become the new buzz word. You should, if you’re smart, we are told, have something to fall back on. You should be working when you’re not working.

At the very least, you should be working on gaining skills. If you can gain enough skills you can turn them into a side hustle.

So it’s either work outside of work or work on skills outside of work to eventually turn into a side hustle.

Side Hustles

This got me thinking. Firstly, should we all have a side hustle? Is it conceivable that everyone walking, talking, breathing person should have a side hustle. Sense tells me no. Not everyone wants to have a side hustle. Thus not everyone should. To be honest, the vast majority of people won’t even think about about working outside of work. They are just not programmed that way, it’s not bad, it’s just not in their minds.

Whoever they are, they have absolutely no interest in doing anything over and above their day job. They won’t even think about the fact that they might not have long term job security or that they need to work on cultivating skills because well, they won’t care.

Likewise those folk are probably not reading articles on side hustles.

No, this is for those folks that feel like they should have a side hustle and feel bad that they don’t. Whilst they love the idea of having a side hustle, it’s the idea they love, not the practice. The truth is you’d rather watch Netflix and chill than work on your side hustle. You’d rather watch Greys Anatomy or scroll through Instagram or read an article like this.

Not having a ‘side hustle’ because you don’t want to is a brilliant reason not to have one. Admitting that you like the idea of it but you actually can’t be bothered is great.

There are two things to note here:

  1. Being self-aware enough to realise whether you do or don’t want a side hustle. For you, not for anyone else.

  2. You can do whatever you want it’s your life, live it in the way that makes you happiest.

If you don’t want to work a side hustle then don’t. In fact, get off this right now and go back to working on you Netflix and chilling. I’m not being sarcastic in the slightest. If Netflixing, Instagramming or whatever makes you happy… that’s great. That’s all anyone is searching for.

There is a weird paradox in this world that if you’re not hustling you’re not winning. I think if you’re not happy you need to taste some stuff. If you are happy continue to do exactly what you are doing. You’ve found the formula.

If you’re happy

When/ if you are totally happy with where you are at, you carry on doing exactly what you are doing. If anything, a side hustle is a fast track to make you miserable. Side hustles are not for everyone and that’s okay.

We are all striving to be happy. That’s the end game. We all want to wake up feeling full, feeling like we are spending our time doing what we want, with the people we love and the warmth of being content with life. In fact, some people don’t even think about the fact they are waking up doing something they love. They wake up thinking about how much they adore looking after their children or being with their friends. For some people, a job, is just a job. We are all different, that is the beauty of this world.

If you are happy with your working life. Pay, career prospects, plans etc. Then you don’t need a side hustle. My personal opinion is that if you are content in life, you have found the winning formula to optimise your happiness.

Don’t listen to anyone else, do what you were doing.

If you think you do but actually it’s because everyone else is

Side hustles are work and they are not for everyone. 5–9 is graft. 4 extra hours on top of a day at work is hard. It’s hard to commit to and hard to visualise the results. In the early days you will be working extra hours for no financial benefit. It’s not glamour. For the past 3 years I’ve had a side hustle of some sort. Some of them I hated. I spent more money than I care to worry about, more hours making things, designing things than I want to remember and the majority of them came to nothing.

They amounted to a loss.

That is just the reality of the market.

Whatever people say about side hustles, I’ve tried a good bunch of them and my experience is that it is a lot of hard work and you won’t get much back in the beginning. If you think about it logically, you are spending a couple of hours a night working on something that other people are spending their full days mastering. They might be putting 12 hours in to your 4 hours.

It is hard work and not something you should do just because everyone else is.

It will only work if you put the time in

Writing is the only ‘side hustle’ that has ever worked for me. I’ve tried reselling on eBay, starting a sweet company, starting a sock business (I’ve got loads of socks under my bed if anyone is interested), starting a dog harness business, selling phone cases, selling laptop cases, debated making candles, started a prints business. The list goes on. I’d be surprised if there was a week in the last 4 years where I haven’t been working on some sort of scheme.

Now, there is a lesson here. I think you need to try a lot of things to find your thing. Not only does it give you perspective but it gives you confidence when you’ve found it. How could you possibly know if this is for you, if you’ve only ever tried the one thing?

By trying different things you will build confidence in the things you like. You’ll be more sure when you’ve found it or if you are just settling.

However, you’ve only got so many hours in a day. If you’re spending most of your time on your actual job it’ll mean you can conservatively spend circa 4 hours a night on your side gig. Now, basic maths tells us that you will be able to do a typical weeks work in 2 weeks.

That means where you get in your ‘day job in’ a year, will take you two in your side hustle.

My point here is that a side hustle takes work. You will be tired from work, you will have dinner to make, dogs to walk, partners to give your attention to. If you don’t love what you are doing it won’t work.

You need to be pretty passionate about something to give up your down time.

So don’t just do it because you think you need to. You don’t need to. Do you. However, if you want to, find something you love by testing a lot of things.

The realistic view

A side hustle i.e doing something in your spare time to generate some extra cash and to potentially diversify your income is a great thing to do. It makes total sense, gives you more security, pumps up the income a tad and it helps you CV a little.

However, life isn’t all about earning more, looking good to employers and create a plan B,C and D. Life, at least in my head, is all about finding joy in what you spend your life doing.

If you don’t want a side hustle great, don’t waste anymore time. Crack on with whatever makes you happy. Likewise if you do want to start a side hustle heres some ideas:

  1. Buy from eBay and resell on eBay

  2. Buy from eBay and resell on Amazon

  3. Start a prints business on Etsy

  4. Vlogging or blogging

  5. Start an affiliate marketing website

  6. Start a digital marketing company

The punchline

The reality is you should do exactly what you want to do. Side hustles aren’t for everyone and that’s okay. If you are passionate about doing something in your spare time, you should absolutely do it and above are some good places to start. However, if you’re not, if you love the life you have and you don’t want to spend anymore time working, then don’t.

It’s your life. Do you.

#Growth #Startup #Self #Work #Entrepreneurship

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