The Not-So-Glamorous Truth About Side Hustles
Shanna Fujii is a writer at online brand-building resource Bloguettes, freelancing extraordinare, and general smartie-pants.
Recently, it seems like everyone and their grandma has a side hustle. Whether you’re a full-time news anchor but have a crafting blog on the side or you’re a history teacher during the day and a jewelry designer at night, side hustles are a great way to do what you love when your day job mandates otherwise.
Besides the obvious benefits of fulfilling a passion or making a little extra cash, there are some things most people don’t talk about when it comes to their freelance gig. We’re dishing out the not-so-glamorous truths about side hustles and the real expectations you need to have.
Your Free Time Becomes Work Time
Gone are the nights when you come home from work, rip off your business attire, and veg on the couch watching Stranger Things. When you have a side hustle, your free time becomes your work time. Having a steady 9-5 is great when it comes to stability and a consistent flow of cash, but if you want your side job to be more than a cool idea, you’re going to have to work at it. That means any free time you have should be dedicated to researching domains for your freelance landing page, perfecting your lavender cake recipe, or shooting events for free to build your photography portfolio.
You Won’t Make Money
Chances are, you started this side hustle in order to beef up your piggy bank. But something you should know is: with great hustle, comes little money—at least, in the beginning. Unless you’re doing something like Uber or Postmates and can make money right then and there, starting a business/blog/freelance job is going to take time. Only after you set yourself up correctly can you find your audience or clients and then start to slowly bring in profit. Don’t expect to be throwing bills in the air and rolling around in gold coins within the first two weeks you launch. Assuming your side hustle will make money right away is unrealistic, and unrealistic goals are a sure-fire way to stunt your growth and determination.
In Fact, You’ll Spend Money
There’s a flip side to the money coin. Starting a side job may require you to spend more money upfront. Most things have starting costs. If you want to have a cake decorating business, for example, you need supplies—lots of them. All that kitchen gear, ingredients, and increased usage in your kitchen will take a good chunk out of your paycheck and your electricity bill.
Starting a side job may require you to spend more money upfront.
To avoid serious money woes, you’ll have to do your due diligence. See what startup costs look like in whatever field you’re going after. Then, set realistic expectations for yourself. When it comes to making that moola, create small goals you think you can hit after your launch date. When it comes to handing over money in the beginning, think of it as an investment rather than a loss, and always make sure to budget your expenses.
You Still Have Your Day Job
If you’re running after a passion or proofing a concept that could turn full-time, remember: you still have your day job. Even though you may be excited to rush home and work on your side project, you can’t let your newfound hobby overthrow your focus at your current job. Don’t work on your side biz when you’re supposed to be creating an income report, and don’t come in to work so exhausted and disheveled that it cues your bosses to ask why you’ve been so distracted. One of the benefits of starting a side job is having the cushion of your day job—don’t lose your financial stability in the process.
Simply stated, having a side hustle is hard. It’s a lot of work, time, and energy. Before you even think of starting something, you have to be okay with the work that comes alongside it. Success comes when it wants, not when we plan for it. But if you keep at it, one day, you’ll be able to look back and congratulate yourself on how far you’ve come—hindsight is always 20/20. Until then, shoot for the moon.
Do you have a side project? What's the best and worst part of your side hustle? Tell us in the comments!