Finding a job, as a millennial, is no easy feat – and it's often hindered by limited experience and high competition, particularly for recent graduates. While a fortunate few are able to get jobs that align with their career goals, a vast majority of people are forced to take up jobs that they don’t particularly like or want “just to get by for the time being”.
However, regardless of what side of the job demographic you fall under, having a side hustle is absolutely essential for your personal and career development. A ‘Side Hustle’ refers to any role you work at, outside your full-time job, that provides an avenue to make money (now or in the future), and you need a side hustle for the following reason:
(1) To build up your skills
A side hustle provides the perfect opportunity to develop your skills outside of a traditional job setting, making you a more marketable and employable prospect. This is especially important if you’re currently working at a job “just to get by”.
A typical 9-5 job will provide you with some level of security and experience; and while it's important to become an expert in your field, having a side hustle often affords you the luxury to challenge yourself and do more with your time by learning new skills and exploring the full extent of your capabilities.
Throughout my life, I have used side hustles as a way to build myself and test the things I have learnt in reality. Some have been successful while others haven’t, but those side ventures have given me valuable experiences which have benefitted me immeasurably and even led to the birth of DailyKobo.
(2) To diversify your income
There is nothing like the security of having more than one source of income and a side hustle is an avenue to make some additional money in any way you please. With a side hustle, you can creatively channel your talents and interests into serious money makers.
Even if you absolutely love your full-time job and you feel its secure, situations can change. You could be on the wrong end of a job cut or you could find yourself going to work one day and thinking “I don’t really want to do this anymore.”
If you start a side hustle prior to this, you will be much better positioned to look for other employment opportunities or even take the necessary steps to turn your side hustle into a full-time job.
(3) To find a career that offers fulfilment
Given the current employment climate (especially in Nigeria), the concept of ‘fulfilment’ and employment have never seemed farther apart. The side hustle premise recognises that the things you do for money and the things you do for fulfilment aren’t always the same.
Starting a side hustle is a way for you to dabble in another space in search of fulfilment without quitting your current job. Ken Jeong is the perfect example of someone who had a good full time job but explored his talents until he got his dream job.
The 47-year-old “Hangover” star graduated high school early, got a great education through Duke and North Carolina University and eventually became a licensed physician.
But throughout his years working to become a doctor, Ken never gave up the dream of acting and comedy. Ken worked 90 hours a week but no matter how stressful things got, he would always set time apart to do shows and build up his performance skills.
This habit continued even after he began life as a well-paid physician until he eventually auditioned for a role in the movie “Knocked Up”. After successfully getting the role, he decided to pursue acting full-time and the rest, they say, is history.
A side hustle not only enables you explore the various talents and interests you have but also minimizes the possibility of future regret arising from you not having tried at all.
But... how do I find my side hustle?
Highlighting the various benefits of a side hustle is all well and good, but I've noticed that quite a few people struggle to figure out what their side hustles could be.
This happens because what a lot of people are 'good at' is done with such natural ease that said people don’t realize that they are skills that can be used to make money. Well, these are some steps that have helped me in the past and will hopefully help you find your side hustle:
Step 1: List out your options
Take 10 minutes to write down everything you love doing, everything you’re good at and any skill you want to develop. These could be creative skills, things that peak your interest, anything you’d love to learn more about or even things you do in your full-time job. It could be anything, just write it down.
Step 2: Narrow your list down to ONE
After listing out your various options, the next step is to narrow that list down to one thing you can see yourself doing and doing well. There are four critical questions to ask yourself that will help you single out your side hustle:
- What is my motivation for wanting this side hustle?
- How much time can I dedicate to this side hustle (per day or week)?
- How much money could I potentially make from this side hustle?
- (Fast-forward to when you're 80) Which side hustle would I regret not pursuing the most?
The first question is the most important part of this entire process because it determines what your side hustle will be and how you'll go about doing it.
For instance, I co-founded TheRichFab Websites, a website building platform, mainly because I wanted to make money. However, DailyKobo was founded mainly because I wanted to help people improve personally and financially. These are two very distinct motivations which influenced what side hustles I chose and how much time I dedicated to them.
Your motivation could be to get quick cash, to help people, to practice your entrepreneurial skills or due lack of job satisfaction, but identifying your motivation is the first point of call to narrowing down what your side hustle will be.
For each of these questions, please clearly write out your answers and use them as a road map to pick one side hustle that makes sense for your current situation. You can also check here, if you need inspiration for side hustle options that may apply to you.
Our lives are filled with obstacles, noise and distractions telling us what we should and shouldn’t be doing. It’s so easy to get caught up in the rat race but a side hustle presents the opportunity to gain some control over your career and your finances.
On a parting note, I’ll leave you with three motivational tweets that will hopefully inspire you to take action and get a side hustle today:
The conditions will never be perfect. Start where you are, work with what you have, make the dream your reality.
Be bold enough this week.
— Esmé (@EsmeAraresa) May 14, 2017
Learnt a long time ago that it’s really not about what you deserve but about what you can prove you deserve.
— Wale Lawal (@WalleLawal) May 9, 2017
Don't underestimate how likely people are to pay for what you know
— Fab (@Femi_fabio) May 10, 2017
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