Why you should start a side hustle?
The very purpose of looking for side jobs for earning extra money is brought out by the pandemic with the harsh reality of being employed to being out of business to the millions of people around the world. For over two years people and businesses bore the brunt of the deadly impact of staring at slow death.
Dreams, plans, and wishes all went haywire. Even those households with two earning members did not go unscathed. Side hustle in addition to the conventional source of earning can be the lifeline to go for.
It has also brought to light how unprepared we are at not being able to maintain our basic lifestyle. Fortunate are those who have managed to survive this wave of multipronged destruction by remaining employed or remain in business.
This was also a wake-up call for many of us who realized that creating a substantial contingency reserve has become an absolute necessity. This has particularly hit those who were in the middle or in the last half-decade of their service life. Not only cash. If the retirement corpus is big enough, good. But as I pointed out, those in their mid or end-career phases without a sustainable kitty have been the worst hit.
You would surely agree that it is always better to fly with a double-engine aircraft on a long journey than on a single-engine one. The chances of survival increase multifold. One way is to find side jobs for earning some extra money.
Why consider side jobs for earning extra money?
The prevailing tension of being out of a job can escalate the lifestyle diseases and easily snowball by quickly dipping into this reserve. It does help a lot when we have another earning source. Many people have a substantial income from dividends, interest or even rental income. Most of us do not have this luxury. An alternate source of income or side hustle as it is commonly known is one that keeps the show running and gives us peace of mind, confidence, and the time to search for another job or take this job to the next level.
What is a side hustle?
Hustle is described in Merriam-Webster dictionary as “to obtain by energetic activity”. Coupled with “side” means in addition to your regular job. It becomes clear that we need energy, a lot of it, in fact, to build this side job for decent returns. The truth is a side job, like any other business, needs to be nurtured with lots of patience, perseverance and tenacity to replace one’s primary source of income. In short, it is additional income generated by providing services or products in exchange for money to customers. It is difficult to go ahead with two part-time jobs. However, with the expanding internet universe, the scope of reaching out to the global clientele has become a very affordable reality.
Boon of the Internet
It makes sense to look for online side jobs as it offers the flexibility of time and place. Virtual estates like an e-commerce site do not require any establishment. And there are lots of ways to avoid legal tangles with our present employer. Bit by bit working through weekends or nights we can build our niche and create a community to serve and to earn.
Another advantage of working online is the scope to focus on our niche only. There are many digital marketing agencies that take up a big project and get parts done by subject matter experts before submitting the same. They work as system integrators. Thus we only need to work on our area of expertise and not get overwhelmed with the varied demands of a complex project. Obviously, if we are to work beyond our fixed working hours a separate part-time job may be draining.
Conventional side jobs like taking tuition may be ok for some, yet they may not be able to take place of our primary income. One reason is the limited reach. After all the more value we add by serving more people the higher will be our returns. Both in terms of revenue and growth. So it makes sense to create a sustainable income source from a side job working from home. If you share a similar interest with your partner, who may be a homemaker, it will be an added advantage as they can push through the day.
How to start a side hustle?
All said and done starting and maintaining a business (because that is exactly how a side hustle should be considered) is full of uncertainties. We have to be ready to take this pain of planting the seed and nurturing the plant before enjoying the fruits of labour.
A host of online platforms have evolved to become a bridge between the demand and supply of the online market.
Many startups and solopreneurs are more than happy to outsource their non-primary work so that they can focus on their core strengths. For example, a graphic designer can outsource his or her website design and maintenance to someone else as he or she focuses on the content of graphic design and creating a customer base.
And the answer resides in the why. So why should we take the pain of extra burden to work and create a business even while employed?
Once we have pinpointed the why the how becomes clear. A strong why force us to explore all the different opportunities of how to achieve our goal. It will not just fall in our laps. But the more we search and experiment with different options the higher the probability of finding our road.
However, it is important to remember two things. Number one, treat each roadblock and failure as a challenge to expand our capabilities. And number two, keep our focus and persevere once we have fixed our goals. So, start a side hustle only after committing to it fully. The best food needs to be cooked with patience.
Rubbing Shoulders with Competition
The pandemic was an eye-opener. Many people chose the entrepreneur way against a salaried job.
Won’t there be a huge competition when everyone is jumping to start their business?
Research shows that even with this huge influx, the volume of solopreneurs measures only up to 15-20% of the total group. And about 10% give up within the first five years. Relentless drive and perseverance are required to get through the initial years and then continuously feeling the pulse of the customer and adapting to the changing demands are needed for continued growth.
This is beautifully brought out in the book “Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson. I quote one guiding principle for anyone willing to succeed and remain successful – “noticing small changes early helps you adapt to bigger changes that are to come”. That’s how businesses and people survive and flourish.
Advantages of a parallel income
As clarified above any business, full time or part-time will take a decent time and huge energy to take root. It is quite an advantage to explore how to make extra income while working full-time and finalize the same before diving all in. It gives us the opportunity to make those trials and errors, experiment with different ideas to check which clicks for us.
Just imagine that we get the pink slip and then try to find a way to a sustainable income. It is difficult for a mid-career person to get another job immediately. And a lot of compromise looms its ugly head. Time and resources become huge constraints. The fear and the desperation can lead us to jump at an opportunity that may not suit us at all further sending us into a downward spiral. And to top it all, the side job does come with a host of benefits when coupled with a 9-5 job.
We can use it to pay off our debt, plan for great vacations or high-end purchases, and become a more diversified investors. One sterling character trait that develops while running a business whether full time or on the side is the ability to take risks – calculated, well-defined risks and play the game.
The world of freelancing
Now, what is freelancing? It is working and providing value-added services to clients for money. Specifically multiple clients. Just like a company gets orders from many clients.
The digital age has opened up the whole world as a global market for us to offer our services. Once we find our niche clients and serve them with satisfaction it does open up a great many options to grow and prosper.
Even if we decide to play out our service tenure of 58 to 60 years and keep building our reputation and customer base in our selected field we can go full in once we retire from service and become unretired. Properly utilized it provides an ocean of opportunities. An active brain also has awesome health benefits as well.
Once we have convinced ourselves of the advantages of a side income, we now need to narrow down to what side hustle we can do. For most of us programmed into a service mentality taking and obeying orders, it is scary or rather confusing to find our area of expertise. Some of us doing mundane clerical 9-9 job wagon can find it difficult to pinpoint our niche. Knowing what we are passionate about can help, provided we can monetize the same.
Many people have found their way in quite different fields than what they worked at daily and have done exceptionally well. A hobby became a life-transforming way to serve and earn. Opportunities are there for the teacher, coach, trainer, designer, consultants and affiliates for those who are willing to search and take smart risks. Risk has to be taken. Calculated ones, as different from emotional gambling. Life demands a fair price for the success in form of time and perseverance.
Some selected and time tested niches.
Now let us explore what are the highest paying side jobs that can work for most people. Creative and innovative solution providers can always find a gap in the demand and fill the same to generate revenue.
Here is a list and variations and combinations of the same are always possible. Not all can be fully online. Sometimes a face to face interaction can evolve into a greater benefit monetarily and also forge a strong professional relationship.
Thus we may consider exploring the following:
- Graphic designer
- Video creator / editor
- Content creator / Blogger
- Author / Reviewer
- App developer
Let us understand that there will always be competition in any field. Isn’t it there in our day jobs? It is healthy, it is motivating and it is inspiring. It pushes us to excel in ourselves. Provide a unique solution to an existing problem and effectively become thought leaders and market leaders. Think of Jio which disrupted the whole telecom sector in India.
One rider comes in. We always get paid to the level of service we can provide, to the level of expertise we bring to our offering and convert a satisfied customer to a delighted customer who not only keeps returning to us with more business but also refers us and helps us grow our business.
All of the above lists are also applicable to side hustle ideas in India. Globalization with the spread of the internet has made this possible and within reach of all. If we want to serve clients in our locality, meaning city, state and country we can very well do so. Helping local businesses get more clients, setting up their website or online systems, accounting and invoicing, partnering with a builder for interior designing are all welcome. However, we must always feel the pulse of the market. The cheese can be moved at any time and we must be prepared to start hunting again.
Being the best is important, but being best known is more so. The more people know what services we offer the more is our chance of growth.
A side job gives a direction to our lives. The primary requirement of the side job is to build the backup to tide over lean periods. The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune will always keep hitting us.
It is better to be battle-ready, always.
A life with a vision, mission, and goal is so fulfilling that the rewards are sometimes beyond our imagination.