I’m a firm believer that everyone should have a side hustle. Being creative and taking ownership of a business outside of work develops character and skills that you would not have otherwise. Don’t believe me? Let me share my journey to becoming a Side Hustle Pro.
I graduated from college with a really cool opportunity to work for MTV Networks. At the time, MTV was like the Google and Snapchat of our day—the it place to work. Still, as a lowly recent graduate working as a department assistant, I didn’t exactly have a thrilling job. On most days, I was responsible for arranging the team meetings or taking notes or something equally invigorating.
By age 23, I realized I needed a side hustle to give life more meaning. So I tried to start a boutique public relations agency on the side. NicailaK PR was going to be the sh*t, ya’ll. Alas, trying to acquire clients and figure out how to get them press made me realize that I was not as enthusiastic about the field of public relations as I initially thought. Then, when I quit my job in PR and started working for a random realty firm, I moved on to my second side hustle: freelance writing.
Freelance writing would lead me to consider going to journalism school (exed that off the list though) and even becoming a full-time writer (ultimately nixed that as well). But what it taught me is that I loved having my own little corner of the internet to share my world views and get to interview people. Sadly, I abandoned writing for two years in business school. When I graduated, I realized I had neglected something that made me deeply happy and fulfilled and it was time to revisit it. To make a long story even longer, my old blog took on a life of its own when I started interviewing women side hustlers and entrepreneurs who I admired. And Side Hustle Pro was born. I now feel closer to my purpose than I ever have. All because I made it a point to side hustle. Don’t believe me? Let me explain why everyone should have a side hustle:
You get to call the shots
When you work for someone else, you often have to wait for three or four stakeholders to weigh in before you can move forward with a decision. With my side hustle, I get to move fast. I can make as many mistakes as I need to, learn quickly and make progress. I am a Social Media and Digital Marketer by day and I have been able to learn a lot on my own simply by testing out social platforms and products myself. Before my company jumps onto a new platform, we need to know the business case for it and who is going to manage it. As a side hustler, I can start testing out the business implications of that new platform or platform update immediately.
You can hone a skill set outside of work
Most of us have more than one thing that we are passionate about. Usually getting a job means going with a dominant skill and ignoring all other passions. But it does not have to be that way. So what if you are an accountant by day? Does that mean you shouldn’t explore your passion for photography and do some freelance gigs? Absolutely not. Keep spending time on your passions and you will expand your options. If you decide one day that you no longer want to be an accountant for the rest of your life, you can always explore photography (even if it’s not what you want to do long term, it can bring in income while you look for your next opportunity). And if your side hustle is relevant to your industry, you can build a portfolio of even more impressive projects accomplished outside of work.
It moves you closer to financial freedom
No matter how much we make, most of us feel like we could use a little extra cash. Whether it’s to pay down more of our loans or save for that dream trip, having more disposable income is on most of our wish lists. Having a side hustle allows you to earn money outside of your day job. And no, you will not always make money right away, but if you keep at it, investing in your side hustle means creating multiple streams of income.
Be even more marketable
I once heard an executive remark, “Don’t get your ass confused with your chair.” He was cautioning that no one is immune to being fired. So do yourself a favor, and don’t get too comfortable hiding behind your title or someone else’s brand. Those can be taken from you at any minute. Figure out who you are beyond your resume bullets. The best way to keep your skills sharp? Nurture your interests outside of work as a side hustle. Keep your skills sharp and you will always be confident in the value you bring to the table.
So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and start planting the seeds for your side hustle. And if you already dabble on the side, now is the time to up the ante.