Should You Start a Side Hustle?

It seems like everyone has a side hustle these days. The opportunity to bring in extra income, have a business, and feel less dependent on a paycheck may have you wondering if a side hustle would be right for you too.

But how do you know if it’s a good fit in your life right now? If you’re curious and want to explore your options before you jump in, we’ve got you covered!

4 steps to help you decide if you should start a side hustle:

  1. Determine your motivation
  2. Make sure a side hustle is right for you
  3. Evaluate if you are in the right season of life to start a side hustle
  4. Review the pros and cons of starting a side hustle

1) Determine your motivation 

Your motivation for starting a side hustle is all about what it will allow you to do now or in the future. Do any of these motivations sound familiar to you?

  • Everyone is talking about it, and you don’t want to miss out. You are experiencing serious side hustle FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out.
  • Is inflation putting a black hole in your checking account, and you need to earn extra spending money?
  • Do you need more income  to reach financial goals like paying off debt or purchasing a home?
  • Have you been dreaming of owning your own business and see the side hustle as a start?
  • Are you passionate about a hobby that you want to take to the next level?

All are great reasons to explore side hustles. 

2) Make sure a side hustle is right for you

Taking time to clarify your motivation helps make sure there isn’t a better alternative to starting a side hustle.

Ask yourself if there are easier ways to achieve your goal without starting a side hustle. 

If your desire is to earn extra money, is there an option to get overtime or ask for a raise at your current job? 

Would it be better or easier to change jobs within your field to make more money?

If you’re looking to start a business in a new field, should you consider changing jobs with a company that is closely aligned with the type of business you want? For instance, if you’re interested in real estate, work for a realtor.

3) Evaluate if you are in the right season of life to start a side hustle

Once you’ve decided you want to explore starting a side hustle, think through the timing. This timing is called your season of life. 

A healthy work/life balance is important, and different seasons of life require different commitments from you.  Maybe you’re in a season of life where the emotional, financial, and time commitments of your life don’t leave space for a side hustle.  

Side hustles require a significant commitment, and you need even more time to take your side hustle to the next level. 

As you think of the season you’re in, ask yourself if you can sacrifice the following for a side hustle:

  1. Your time. Do you have the time to start and maintain a side hustle? If you can barely find time to take a shower, it may be tough to find the time to explore and start a side hustle.
  2. Money. Don’t be fooled. There will be some upfront capital involved with a side hustle. Even Instacart shoppers have to spend more money on gas. There will be some cost to your side hustle. Are you willing and able to pay for it? Also, this means additional tax filing which could be an additional cost.
  3. Your emotional energy. Can you find the mental energy to handle the learning curve and stress involved in starting a side hustle? 
  4. Your Family. Will your family be OK with the time you need to dedicate to your side hustle?  If you have to work away from home, who will take care of your kids, and how much will it cost? Learn more about getting  family buy-in for your business idea in this article. 

4) If the timing is right to start a side hustle, review the pros and cons 

Pros of having a side hustle

  1. Another source of income, so you’re not solely dependent on your job
  2. Great way to “test drive” a business idea without a lot of money
  3. Opportunity to monetize something you love to do
  4. Ability to build and grow into a full-time business
  5. Easier to quit if you don’t like it, compared to dissolving a business 
  6. Lower upfront commitment than starting a business
  7. Get paid to learn a new skill

Cons of having a side hustle

  1. The employee contract you signed with your primary employer (you signed one whether you realized it or not) may prevent or limit your ability to have a side hustle.
  2. Even if it’s not as much as starting a business, side hustles require upfront investments
  3. Side hustles take up your “free-time”
  4. You may spend less time with your family
  5. It may take longer than you think to earn money from a side hustle
  6. Adds a layer of complexity to filing taxes
  7. It may affect your primary job performance

A side hustle for the right person is an amazing opportunity to generate new income, and it can allow you to “test drive” a possible career change or business idea. However, a side hustle will be stressful, time-consuming, and even costly for the wrong person. There is no right or wrong decision, only the decision that best fits your life right now and your future goals. 

If you’re ready to start your side hustle, check out our one-stop guide with more tips and tricks for how to get started as well as how to expand a side hustle into a small business.