Should You Start a Side Hustle? The Simple and Short Answers is – Yes!
COVID has changed a lot in peoples’ behaviour. It brought a lot more financial uncertainty and insecurity to our daily lives, and it reshuffled our priorities. People started, for example, prioritising time with loved ones, prioritising their “me time”, prioritising their mental and physical health, and prioritising healthy working environments. It also brought to the surface, for many of us, how passionate we truly are about the job we are doing: is it worth it?
At Mind Cloud Academy, we saw a big shift with new applicants joining the program who are starting a side hustle. They are truly passionate about their ideas, and they want it to be successful, and hopefully eventually leave their current jobs and be fully invested in their side hustle once it picks up.
To start, what is a "Side Hustle"?
A side hustle is any type of employment undertaken in addition to one’s full-time job. A side hustle is generally freelance or piecework in nature, providing a supplemental income. Side hustles are often a passion project, rather than a typical day job worked in order to make ends meet.
A decade ago, having a side hustle would have been borderline scandalous. Many came from a school of thought that says that we must be completely immersed in what we are doing.
Let’s dig deeper into this and understand how today’s world views this trend and what is the data showing us.
Why everyone should start a side hustle!
Personal happiness: Surveys and data show that more than half of us are unhappy or stressed at work. It affects our entire wellbeing. A side hustle gives you back a sense of control, because you are deciding what and when to do it. A side hustle also gives you a sense of personal accomplishment, because you can see the direct effect of your work. In fact, having the autonomy to make decisions and seeing the direct effects of it increase our dopamine and serotonin levels. That means less stress and more energy to work even longer hours and feel more energized, more motivated and more productive.
Skills diversification: A side hustle will push you to learn new skills. This means your brain is activated and rejuvenated, which in turn affects your whole persona. Having additional skills will get you noticed by your superiors, and chances of promotion are much higher. Also, if you lose your job for any reason, your new skills will support the new job, not to mention that your side hustle could totally become your main bread earner.
More chances of success: Believe it or not, studies are showing that entrepreneurs who start a business while maintaining a job, are 33 percent more likely to succeed than entrepreneurs who are full time dedicated to their startup. That’s because the side hustle allows you to test ideas and business models, without worrying about your daily income.
However, here are a few mistakes to be aware of when starting a side hustle:
Not starting something you are fully passionate about: Doing one job is already a lot as it is. It is not worth it to start a side hustle that isn’t our passion. Soon enough we will feel a burnout and might lead to broken relationships.
Underestimating the time needed: the time needed varies a lot if the side hustle is a youtube channel, a Facebook shop, or a full-blown business, if it is tech or brick and mortar business, and it really depends on the phase.
Underestimating the skills needed: If your side hustle is a consultancy or freelancing activity based on a skill you have then you’re fine, but if you are opening a business, then you might do a checklist of all the skills required for that business.
Underestimating the resources needed: Again, a full-blown business needs a proper business plan to understand exactly the setup costs associated along with understanding when and how much the business can start generating revenues, and cover its expense.
Not understanding what entrepreneurship is: Last, entrepreneurship is a journey extremely different from being an employee in a corporate. Decision making and problem solving are at the core of that journey, and this time every step counts. It is also an up-and-down kind of journey till it stabilizes. It requires hustling and paying attention to all parts of the business. Unlike the corporate work, entrepreneurship requires a clear map, that only you can put it together, and only you are accountable for it.
Tips for a successful idea of a side hustle business
So, you took the decision for a side hustle, and you have few ideas. How do you know which one is the best for you?
First, I would stress-test an idea with the Ikigai tool that I personally love, a template that invites you to list the following:
What is it that I love?
What is it is that I am really good at?
What is it that people want or need?
What is it that people are willing to pay for?
If your idea falls at the intersection of these 4 questions, then it is a good idea to pursue. The next step would be to study the feasibility of that idea, and come up with a business plan for it.
There are many other tools from Design Thinking that can help you ideate and formulate your idea. One of which to explore is the Empathy Map.
In the end..
If you have an idea and you want to try it as a side hustle, then by all means: go for it!
To start a side hustle business, understand first what you are truly passionate about, what are the time, skills and resources that are available to you, and learn more about the entrepreneurial journey.
Entrepreneurship is not just about launching a new business but first about ‘having a vision’, and, more importantly, ‘having the courage to step into that vision’. Stepping into our vision requires the courage to take the journey and find our deep ‘why’, the strength to boldly navigate uncertainty, and the openness to allow the universe to guide us.
About the author
Genny Ghanimeh is the Founder and CEO at Mind Cloud Academy and Mind Cloud Tribe. She is an Investment Committee member at Spartech VC Fund, and a founding member of the EMIR Mentorship Program at London Business School. She is a recognized Business and Startup Advisor with a track record of 30+ founders, CEOs & entrepreneurs that she has advised and mentored over the last four years.