There is a joke that every Kenyan has a side hustle, so this article is probably moot but I will write it nonetheless. In this age of passion, we are told that we should discover what we are passionate about and should we single-mindedly pursue that passion, we shall not only find financial success but personal fulfilment.
Life is not that perfect though. Some people do follow this path and it works for them, but for most, personal fulfilment and financial freedom do not come together. This is where side hustles come in.
How do you define a side hustle?
In his book Side Hustle from Idea to Income in 27 Days, author Chris Guillebeau defines a side hustle as:
A moneymaking project you start on the side, usually while still working a day job. In other words, it is a way to create additional income without taking on the risks of going full throttle into the world of working for yourself.
Side hustles serve a number of purposes. The most common reason we get into side hustles is to make a little income on the side but side hustles serve a number of additional purposes
- They can help us get better at our day jobs. I chose to start with this because I am a living example of a side hustle that has helped my day job. When I started this blog (which was more of a passion project at first), I did not care much for writing but I loved (and still love) personal finance. My job involved a lot of written communication, from emails to documentation such as business plans and information memoranda for investors. The blog has contributed greatly to eliminating my dread for words, and while 7 years ago it would take me days to write a 3-page document, today I do it in minutes.
- Side hustles help us channel our creative energies in ways that help other people, and earn us some money. We do not all get jobs that align with our passions or tap into our creativity, and this does not mean we should quit. It is possible to be great at a job you are not passionate about, despite what motivational speakers say.This does not mean that you let your passions die. You may even find that that pursuing passion projects on the side makes the day job more bearable and even enjoyable.
- Side hustles can evolve to full-time hustles. Many people who are entrepreneurs today started out as side hustlers. Starting as a side hustler can be a good way to test the market and gauge demand before going all in. The beauty of this is that your salary then funds the startup and your bills until it can stand on its own and take care of you.
- Side hustles increase your self-confidence. There is something about creating a product that meets a need and getting paid for it that feels great, especially if you do not consider yourself an entrepreneurial type. This grows your personal confidence to try out different projects.
Side hustles are different from startups, and the method suggested in Side Hustle From Idea to Income in 27 Days demonstrates this well. Side hustles the Lean principle to the tee, plus a hint of not taking yourself too seriously. The beauty of going from idea to product in 27 days is that it demands your focus for a short time and if the project is failing, you can change course or abandon the mission without wasting too much time.
The book is a must-read if you would like to start a side hustle, or would like to get better at your side hustling game. It is a quick read which also serves as a guide to keep you accountable, get it from Amazon using the link below.
Over to you, what is your side hustle right now? Have you ever failed at side hustling, and what lessons did you learn? Do share in the comments section below, or hit me up on Twitter for a discussion!