Money Match-Up: Is Having a Side Hustle Good or Bad?

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Here’s the latest post in the Rockstar Finance Money Match-Up series where two money bloggers argue opposite sides of an issue.

Today’s issue features another interesting debate — whether having a side hustle is good or bad.

We’ll begin with the Millionaire Mob who loves side hustles…

Why a Side Hustle is Good

The debate is on. Side hustles are thing of the past, present and future. Multiple highly-effective side hustles should be a staple in everyone’s personal financial planning. I’ll break down why.

But before we get into why a side hustle is good, how do we define a side hustle? A side hustle is anything outside of your core day job that helps you increase your income. A side hustle is meant to be broad and include passive income strategies, an hourly job or a ‘gig’.

With the age of digitalization upon us, there are plenty of online jobs without investment that can help you build your side hustle income. Thus, leading to endless possibilities for you to increase your income.

By increasing your income, you have the financial flexibility to execute several different personal finance strategies such as paying down debt faster, investing more or use side hustle income to create a new side hustle!

There are four key reasons on why a side hustle is good and should be a key point of focus for anyone trying to achieve financial freedom and/or better their financial future.

Let’s get into it…

Reason #1: Side Hustles Create Relationships

A side hustle (or five) will open the door to new relationships. I am a firm believer that relationships can open more doors to financial freedom. Nearly every side hustle involves creating a relationship to complete the hustle.

Here’s why relationships are important in personal finance:

  1. Relationships create opportunities for your side hustles and/or your current day job career.
  2. If you maintain a strong work ethic and a quality work product, your relationships will be a driving force in taking your side hustles to new levels.
  3. Your network is there in times of need.

“Your network is the people who want to help you, and you want to help them, and that’s really powerful.” – Reid Hoffman

Relationships go a long way in increasing your income. You know the saying: it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Reason #2: Side Hustles Diversify Your Income

Side hustles are a great way to diversify your income. By focusing on becoming EXTREMELY good at a few side hustles (about 2 to 4), you enable yourself to build income that is defensible in case of a downside situation.

If you have several side hustles that are meaningful, you are in a great situation of a potential doomsday scenario… Being laid off. No one ever wants to be laid off, but it is always a scenario in any economic cycle. You must have a backup plan because an emergency savings fund is not enough. By having meaningful side hustles, you can still live a somewhat ordinary life even if you were laid off.

Reason #3: You Can Use Side Hustles to Accelerate Your Personal Finance Goals and Unlock Financial Flexibility

Okay, this is basically two reasons wrapped into one. I will admit that. However, I believe these two considerations fall under one category, achieving financial freedom. By having a few side hustles, you can continue to pour more money into investments, real estate or other income producing assets at a faster rate.

This is the opposite of a doomsday scenario. Imagine if everything goes well, you pay off your debt using day job income and side hustle income to invest. This leads to less expenses and more savings. More savings means more income. Rinse and repeat.

This can become a highly effective way to build wealth and achieve your goals of financial freedom. Millionaires use simple steps to build wealth. So, why not follow them?

Reason #4: By Using Side Hustles, You Learn Every Single Day

Learning never exhausts the mind. By learning, you enable yourself to open a new door of possibilities. The possibilities are endless. I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve learned something new from a side hustle. By learning more, you can leverage this into your day job to get ahead and potentially get promoted. Let’s not forget the core way to achieve financial freedom. It’s your day job and career. But, by learning from your hustles, you will learn real life situations that can be applied to your day job.

For example, I’ve helped a few small business plan for venture capital raising. When making a pitch deck and working with the founders, I always get a chance to hear their vision and how they plan to address a market. This has helped me think outside the box and be more entrepreneurial.

This type of learning is invaluable. You cannot put a price tag on it. Not only that, you get paid to learn!

Why a Side Hustle Is Not Good…. It’s Truly Amazing

Side hustles have no limits. They can unlock your financial future and ultimately make you a better person through relationships, learning, self-motivation and personal growth. What step will you take to secure your first side hustle? Start with something that you are extremely passionate about. With the digital age, the world is your oyster to start something at the click of a button. Or, go the conventional route by building something through direct communication with your existing network.

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Now let’s hear from Mrs AR from Adventure Rich who thinks side hustles aren’t a slam dunk…

Why Everyone Does Not Need a Side Hustle

We’ve all seen the headlines and heard the chatter, side hustles are in. They are the perfect way to stack extra cash and fill your non-working hours. And in many ways, I agree! A side hustle can be an excellent way to supplement income, enhance skillsets or pursue hobbies. It’s no wonder side hustles are so popular today!

Despite the blaring mantras in the headlines today, however, side hustles are not the right move for every situation. On the contrary, side hustles could actually deter from one’s true personal or financial goals. So while you may think that side hustles are a “must have” in your life or a necessary component to success, I’d like to mention a few of the downsides to the side hustle craze.

Too Much of the Same

Sit all day at a computer for a day job only to come home and sit all evening at a computer to hustle the night away? Or does your main hustle and your side hustle both include physical labor?

Maintaining a side hustle that is similar to your main gig is not automatically be a poison pill. But I’d encourage anyone to think about the consequences of doing “too much of the same”. Even if you love what you are doing, repeating it day, night and weekend may lead to burn out, frustration, or even compromised health.

Detracts From or Negatively Impacts Career

Hustling day and night can sound so noble… it is indicative of success and hard work. But what happens when the side hustle starts to eat into your main hustle? Whether it is competing deadlines, urgent requests or simply the mental exhaustion of doubling down in the evenings, a side hustle that negatively impacts a career is a red flag.

Now, this may not always be the case, but typically your career provides more money and stability than a side hustle. Your main income is just that… your primary mode of earning money plus any benefits that come along with the job. Until a side hustle is lucrative enough to provide a replacement to your career (if that is feasible and your goal), I would be wary of jeopardizing your primary income for a side hustle.

Inhibits Salary/Career Growth

If you have a job you enjoy and could see growing in, but are looking for a bit more income to pay down debt, invest, save for a goal, or simply to keep the household afloat, a side hustle might sound like the perfect solution! But let me propose another option.

Instead of dedicating time and energy to a secondary (and sometimes very distinct) hustle that requires new skills and a new area of expertise… why not try going deeper in your main job? Why not invest your time and energy in your career, working to fast track the next pay raise?

Working to grow your primary income will not work for everyone (for example: if your job does not allow for salary growth, you are unhappy at your job, or you do not want the role a promotion may bring). But it is worth exploring the payoff that could come from doubling down on your main hustle before diverging into a side hustle.

Distracts from Priorities

Priorities come in all shapes and sizes. Family, financial stability, personal goals, hobbies, community activities and volunteering to name a few. And each priority has a varying degree of importance. For example, a personal goal like training for a marathon may be prioritized with greater importance than a hobby like cultivating a vegetable garden. Therefore, someone may choose to embark on training runs rather than tending a garden during a training cycle.

When it comes to side hustles, it is worth considering whether the satisfaction derived from the hustle (the financial boost, the creative outlet, the additional skillset) is worth sacrificing other priorities. If so, you may have a great hustle situation! But if you are finding your side hustle cuts into priorities with greater importance (such as family time or time with a pet, time spent volunteering, or time dedicated to personal goals), it is worth reconsidering your side hustle situation.

Undue Time Constraints

We only have 24 hours in a day. There are many days I wish I could change that fact, but I just can’t. We are all limited by the amount of time we have and are subsequently required to choose how to spend our time each and every day (sorry, no saving extra minutes today for tomorrow!).

With limited time constraints and piggy backing on the previous item (“Distraction from Priorities”), it is up to each of us to allocate the precious commodity we have, our time, accordingly. When one chooses to pursue a side hustle, there are other doors being closed. That may be perfectly fine! It is, however, very valuable to consider the trade-offs and whether choosing a side hustle over other activities or pursuits is correct for you.

“All Work- No Play” or No Time for Self

Side hustles are certainly a trending topic in the media today… but another popular focus is “self-care”. And it is an important topic to focus on! Life is often busy. Regardless of your stage in life, there are many demands on our time, focus, and energy. It can be so easy to fill your days with your job and commute, family activities and commitments, necessities like sleeping and eating, and side hustles and personal goals… all while completely forgetting to attentively care for the one thing that underlies all of these tasks… yourself!

Personally, I find great comfort in being “busy” and achieving tasks because it is so easy to just keep going, moving on to the next thing without addressing the areas of my life that I need to work on. It is when I slow down and take time out of my day for a walk or run without music, time to sit on my couch and daydream, think or pray, time to cuddle up with a book or a glass of wine, or time to just do whatever I fancy in the moment that I begin to unravel the knots in my life or simply refresh from my busy schedule.

Finding time to care for ourselves can be hard enough in our daily lives without a side hustle. So if an optional side hustle is denying you time to yourself or for yourself, it is worth considering the true cost of the hustle. Do the benefits of the side hustle really outweigh the decreased time to adequately care for yourself?

Bottom Line: Approach Side Hustles Wisely

Now clearly, if a side hustle provides a creative outlet, has the potential to develop into a full time job that marries your passion and your career, generates necessary or very helpful side income, or just makes your life better in some other way… I am not opposed. But it is worth considering the impact a side hustle may have on your time, your priorities, your career and your experience of life overall.

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So, those are the two sides of the issue. What do you think?

3 thoughts on “Money Match-Up: Is Having a Side Hustle Good or Bad?”

  1. My side hustle— buying profitable physical goods ecommerce websites— is something that is fascinating to me. It’s also a five figure monthly earnings stream that will support us nicely when I retire in a couple of years.

    I’ve counseled families who have sold their businesses for three dozen years. Most don’t have a plan for their free time after the sale. Their business defines their persona.

    I think the topic of what comes after retirement is not discussed enough. I’m looking forward to spending more time in all things ecommerce and accelerating into retirement excited about new challenges.

  2. Starting a blog can be a great side hustle if you have something of value to share with the world. I never thought my blog would produce any income but suddenly it looks like I will be able to live on the income from the blog alone in the future.

    To me, the bottom line is: If you have a passion about something you should definitely go for the side hustle. “Reason #1: Side Hustles Create Relationships” has a huge value, not only money-wise but also intellectually. Interacting with like-minded people raises your overall joy of life.

    You can also use the side hustle to keep active after ‘FIRE’ if you wish to do so. What’s not to like?

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