Side hustle. Side gig. Moonlighting. Freelancing. Whatever you call it, you know people who are doing it and you might be asking yourself if it’s something you should be dabbling in, too. As millennials, it is more common than ever to foster or pursue outside opportunities in addition to a 9-5 job. Seemingly everyone is a blogger or budding photographer or Etsy seller these days. How do you know if you are ready to turn one of your passions or hobbies into a small business?
You might be ready for a side hustle if . . .
• Your current work does not fulfill or inspire you
• You want to use your free time more wisely
• You are itching for a creative outlet
• You need extra cash flow but don’t want to get another job
• You want to build your resume with business and management skills
• You’re ready to take your blog or creative projects more seriously
• You have ambitions to work for yourself in the future
• You want to test something before jumping all in
• You already have a great deal of knowledge/skills about a particular topic
• Your investment in this venture—in time and money– has been greater than in other hobbies
If one or more of these statements resonates with you, perhaps you are ready to take on a new and exciting venture. But before you go off to register a domain name or update your LinkedIn profile with your new side business, be sure to consider the following questions:
Should this hobby become a business?
Not all hobbies are meant to be business ventures, big or small. Just because you’re good at something or knowledgeable about a particular topic doesn’t mean you should turn it into enterprise. For example, I’m really into swing dancing and I would be lying to you if I hadn’t thought of ways to make this passion into a business, but I know that it would likely become something that is no longer just for fun and perhaps I should leave it to the experts.
If you find that it’s something that challenges and excites you, it’s an investment you’re willing to make, and it can give you an opportunity to build new skills, it might be worth pursuing.
Does this hobby provide value for other people?
Plain and simple, if others aren’t benefitting from it, no need to treat it as a business.
Will I get bored of this easily?
If this project is something you don’t want to still be working on six months down-the-road, it’s probably not going to be a successful business venture for you. Sure, the project will likely change and take different forms moving forward, but be sure you will enjoy talking about it, researching it, and doing the necessary work for it.
Yes, it’s like that daunting senior capstone project that you have to live with for months or even years. You must love it and continually see value in it for it to be worth your time.
Would I do this even if I didn’t get paid for it?
I ask this for two reasons:
1. If the answer is yes, then that means you must be passionate about it and there is an alternative reason to pursue it.
2. If the answer is no, you’re not going into it for the right reasons.
Sure, side hustles can indeed supplement your income, but unless they are full-time businesses or you are selling high-value products regularly, they will not take care of your bills and give you extra spending cash each month. Additionally, side businesses and especially blogs are not sustainable without the intrinsic benefits that are far more important than any extra spending money you can make.
Am I willing to take time away from something else to pursue this?
Most millennials have these great ideas about how to do something fun and make a little bit of money on it, but very few people are willing to make sacrifices to turn ideas into reality. Because this is not a full-fledged business, you have flexibility and control over the time and effort you put into the side hustle, but all projects—big and small—require a level of commitment to be successful.
Map out everything you do in a given week and measure how much time you devote to every activity. Are you willing to give up some quality time with Netflix to create a rewarding side career? Can you find ways to be more productive or organized? Do you see this side hustle as an investment in your future? How can I leverage what I already do in my day-to-day life and expand upon it to provide value to readers or customers? Considering these questions will expose whether you are in a place to make necessary sacrifices to welcome opportunity.
Here’s a pin to revisit these questions later:
If you said yes to these questions, you’re ready. Tackle those big dreams of yours and let us know what you have cooking in the comments below. For additional resources, check out some tips for launching a side hustle like a rock star and even how to take your side hustle to the next level.