Meet Katie

She is a 21 year old assistant manager at a local mental health charity head office during her weekdays; in the mornings, she takes her 4 year old twin siblings to school, assuming the role of their late mother, subsequently heading to her job in which she thereafter returns to her siblings’ school to take them back home. On her weekday evenings and Saturdays, Katie busies herself with her lash extensions appointments, almost matching up her income of her side hustle to her regular salary. Katie knew that she will have to look after her siblings for many more years to come, and certainly needed to take the pressure off herself. Katie wanted to be able to take them to school and give them the future she envisioned for them. She worked on her self-management, marketing and got herself an accountant. After 2 years, Katie had saved enough to open her own salon. Katie was able to move closer to their school, take them to holidays and afford their extra curricular activities. Katie successfully lifted the pressure off herself.

Katie is one of many millennial that are either inspired to, or compelled to start a side hustle.

A side hustle is an extra job or a small scale business, which allows individuals to earn an extra stream of income. Side hustles, as trendy as it may seem in the social media era, have become a necessary means of survival for the average working person.

In reality, Most people pick up side hustles because that helps them make ends meet. Nearly 70% of those with side hustles are doing so for financial reasons, according to a report by Betterment. The survey also found that a shortage of retirement savings is what leads 1 in 3 to look for extra income opportunities. It is almost being forced on people, as majority just do not get enough of an income at one job. To make the common situation even sadder, 87% of Americans lack passion for their jobs. To elaborate on that point, we spend 90,000 hours of our lives at work.

However, a side hustle does not necessarily mean a second job. It also does not mean it has to be a linear stream of income. A side hustle is most useful to those whose income is passive. That is when a lot of the burden is lifted and less time is being sacrificed.

Why you need to get yourself a side hustle

1. The added security it provides

Companies, at times, need to lay people off in order to stay afloat. With the economy constantly changing, and a possibility of a Market Crash similar to that that had happened in 2008, it has become dangerous to be at peace with a single linear stream of income. Whenever you need emergency cash, you will also know that you are at peace and prepared for a rainy day. Besides cases of emergency, having extra money can make things happen faster; instead of having to save for a holiday for a long time, or for an outfit or other materials, you can have money sooner or available immediately.

2. Helps to diversify skills 

When you have a side hustle you can pick up new skills such as marketing, branding, networking, writing, communication, web developing and so much more. Whilst you are diversifying your skills, you are doing so in a rewarding manner (by being paid for it).

3. Opportunity to test the waters

You may not know if a particular field is for you until you try it. Trying it on the side helps you release whether it is for you before fully committing to it. Try before you buy, and test the idea in a low risk manner.  It helps you figure out whether your career is something you actually want to do.

4.  Anyone can do it

Creating and starting a side hustle is something not limited to a specific group of people. There are side hustles that are free to start, and there are side hustles that are at least cheap to start. Side hustles do not discriminate. Despite living in a “Forbes 30 under 30” era, a side hustle can be started anytime. It is all based down on individual’s work ethic, passion and drive.

5.  You can do it pretty much whenever you like

Although it is usually for the better to spend as much time for it especially if you are looking to quit your job eventually, having a side hustle allows you to be the boss and choose your own working hours. It is often thought that you need to quit your job and give it your all in order to succeed in your business, which is not true. In fact, those who had a business besides working a full time job, were 33% more successful with their business than those that do not have a job. Hence having a day job is not an obstacle, but a facilitator to success.

6. It could turn into your full time job

When you see a better work-life balance and income from your side hustle, it makes it safe to quit your full time job. Some side hustles may beg to have all your attention eventually. Starting off working on a spare-time basis helps to make sure you do not have to go without an income stream at all in order to work on your business.

7.  They can make you happier

Knowing you are financially secure, and having a purpose can ease a lot of stress and boost joy. If you are in a side hustle that aligns with your dream, knowing that you are working towards it helps to feed your dreams.  Being happy, can help you be a better employee; a study conducted by the University of Warwick found that happy employees were 12% more productive. Having a side hustle can hence benefit your career.

8. You can pay off debts

70% of people with side hustles use it in order to pay off their debts. Student loan and tuition debts are debt that takes most people the longest to pay it off, and a single average income will prolong it. Having an extra income on the side can help to finish paying it off faster.

9. It is nicer to retire early

Depending on where you live, the age to retire can be anywhere in the age range of 62-67.  This may seem seem scary, if we continuously work for majority of our lives and have little time for our lives after retiring. Retiring late can also be a health risk; a Harvard study found that amongst 5,422 people,  those who had retired were 40% more likely to have a heart attack or a stroke than those who are still working.
I once worked with someone who had worked in the same company for an impressive 30 years. He was one of the most hard-working individuals I have ever crossed, he had not once taken a sick day off and he barely ever used any of his annual leave. He was told by the company he would need to retire, which he hesitated, as he was not used to such a change in circumstances. Two weeks into retiring, he unfortunately had a heart attack and passed away. The anxiety of having nothing to work for so suddenly had really taken a toll on him.
Side hustles are becoming more and more common, for this simple reason; it is necessary. Wages are not changing, prices are increasing and the economy is unlikely going to get any better.  You also have more time than you think. The average person spends 2 hours per day on social media. That gives you plenty of time to work on your side gig. The sooner you start… the better.

I would suggest that you check with your employer’s HR policies, as some places forbid moonlighting.