No Side Hustle? No Problem.
Words by Victoria Bevilacqua | Photos by: Spring Morris
The side hustle hype is very real. Any millennial’s newsfeed is filled with inspirational quotes like “Do what you love and you’ll never have a problem with Monday.” Thanks in large part to advances in technology, the gig economy is more accessible than ever. Gallup estimates that approximately 36% of U.S. workers are involved in the Gig Economy – that’s about 57 million people. So, if it seems like everyone and their dog has a side hustle – it’s because most of them do and they want to tell you all about it on their Insta Stories.
Instagram vs. Reality: The Side Hustle Edition
Chances are, they make it sound pretty good. You get the sense that starting a side hustle is step one on the yellow brick road to Oz where all of your dreams come true. You can’t help but want in on it all; the good vibes, extra income and personal fulfillment. But, what’s it really like? Are these side hustle devotees sort of like that couple that posts a smiling selfie but actually spent the whole day fighting? The short answer is, there’s definitely a good chance.
The side hustle life is not for everyone. As someone who is about a year and a half into the freelance journey I can tell you that I’ve heard the word ‘no’ about ten times as often as I’ve heard the word ‘yes’. I’ve also struggled to pay my rent, worked seven days a week for several months in a row and sent dozens of e-mails to clients regarding overdue invoices. On the other hand, I get to avoid the rush hour commute, schedule workouts for 10 AM, hang out with my dog and work from wherever I want. What I’m trying to say is, nothing is perfect. There are pros and cons to just about every situation you find yourself in – that’s just life.
To Side Hustle Or Not to Side Hustle. That Is The Question.
Since we’re sure you’ve heard about all the upsides to the side hustle life on your Instagram feed, let’s talk about some of the behind-the-scenes realities so you can make the decision that’s right for you.
Let’s start with perhaps one of the most pervasive problems for side hustlers everywhere: burnout. The research behind burnout in entrepreneurs is very interesting. According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, entrepreneurs who were most motivated by money or social acceptance were more likely to report feeling frustrated and drained by their work. So, before you begin your journey into the gig economy get clear on what is motivating you. The best way to avoid burnout is to find something you’re truly passionate about. This will help you be more resilient in the face of setbacks and rejection.
How do You Really Feel About Your 9 to 5?
This may be the most important question you need to ask yourself. When you’re bombarded with messaging around the benefits of being your own boss, finding your passion and working from wherever you want, it can be difficult to drown out the noise. But, introspection is key. Think long and hard about what works for you. Maybe you actually love your 9 to 5 or maybe you know that work-life balance is crucial to your well-being and a side hustle would make it difficult to maintain. Or, maybe you’re a caregiver juggling more than enough responsibility.
Don’t Forget: It’s Your Life.
Whatever the case may be, it’s important to ensure that you don’t get caught up in the side hustle hype and forget what you’re actually signing up for. Take time for self-reflection and self-discovery. Get in tune with what works best for your life and your career. This has always and will always be the first step towards a fulfilling life and career – whatever that may look like for you!
If you’re working hard on figuring out what the next best step is for you and your career, join us for the next edition of The Exchange. Meet other like-minded millennials and get inspired by our panelists as they share their experiences and learnings!