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First: don’t get it confused. I did NOT say everyone needs side action. Ahem.

Side hustle. Totally different (please pass this message along to the men of the online dating world).

What’s a side hustle? Simply put, it’s a way to make money aside from your full-time job, business, whatever. Bringing in extra cash.

And while I typically loathe “the dictionary defines blah blah blah as blah blah blah,” in this case, here’s some interesting info from a Merriam-Webster “Words We’re Watching” blog post:

‘Side hustle’ appears to have entered our language in the 1950s, when it was used to describe both scams and legitimate jobs.

Who knew? And here I thought it was recent jargon related to 21st-century job angst.

One thing that hasn’t changed: a hustle can still be either a scam or legitimate. Thankfully, there are more legitimate hustles available than ever before. Here’s a starter list of side hustles you can start right away. A lot of them are true work-from-home gigs. Some will bring in basic spending money, while others can help you create a lifestyle.

Funny enough, side hustles are not just supplementary but the primary source of income for a lot of people, myself included. I’ve been know to stammer when asked what I do because, well, there’s isn’t one solitary thing. So I call myself a side hustle addict.

And why not? In today’s world, doesn’t it make sense to try to find a handful of hustles that total $10,000 a month rather than one job that does the same? Maybe five hustles at $2,000 each. Or several hustles at a few hundred bucks, one hustle at $5,000, another hustle at $1,000, and one at $2,500.

You get the picture. It’s all about figuring out your number — what do I want to make per month — and then figuring out the hustles that will make that number a reality for you.

You’ll work your ass off. But I’ve found that working my ass off for my own side hustle is soooo much more fulfilling and energizing than doing it for someone else.

Isn’t that what it’s about? We weren’t meant to live our lives in misery, counting the days until the weekend and complaining. We were meant to reach for our potential, live our lives in pursuit of our greatest selves, and help others.

Which brings me to 2 reasons why everyone needs a side hustle (or 4):


1. Security is in Diversification

Something that perplexes me to no end is how anyone would still think a job is the safest way to proceed in today’s world. Have they never seen someone laid off?

I remember well when layoffs ripped through the newspaper I worked at. It was horrible. We knew they were coming but we didn’t know who was getting it.

A phone would ring, a colleague would head upstairs to Human Resources, and they’d come back down, pack up their things, and leave. No one knew who’d get the next call.

The guy at the desk across from me got the ax while his wife, who also worked in the newsroom, sobbed. They had moved to Connecticut from out-of-state and now their lives were in disarray.

It’s great to have a regular paycheck, no doubt about it. But what happens if (or when) layoffs come? Wouldn’t it be nice to have other streams of income? And if the worst never happened, wouldn’t the extra income come in handy anyway?

No one plunks down all of their money on one stock, so why do we do the equivalent when it comes to our income?

No one plunks down all of their money on one stock, so why do we do the equivalent when it comes to our income?Click To Tweet

“Side hustle” is the modern-day equivalent of diversification. It’s as relevant now as it’s ever been.


2. Flexibility

Isn’t this the one everybody blurts out first when asked why they want their own business?

One of my first jobs out of college was at a warehouse and I had to punch a time clock. God, that pissed me off!

It was like this tangible reminder that someone else was in control.

I knew, even at 22, that it wasn’t the number of hours that counted but the effort expended. What if I accomplished during five hours what it took someone else seven to do? There was no accounting for that.

Side hustles and self-employment are almost completely dependent on the type of work you put in. Whether you do your research. How focused you are. It matters little how much time you put in during a day. What matters is that you make it count.

So there are really a couple of factors here: the flexibility to work when you want to, and the knowledge that it isn’t about logging a set number of hours, but about reaching goals.

I’ve worked first thing in the morning and late on a Saturday night. I’ve been able to volunteer in my son’s classroom and stay home with him when he’s sick. We go to the beach on weekdays and avoid it on the busy weekends.

Even if you don’t have children, wouldn’t it be nice to work from wherever you’d like, or to vacation when you want to and not have to work around others’ schedules?

Diversification and flexibility. What else would you add to the list of reasons everyone needs a side hustle?


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