Why you need a side hustle

When I left university having obtained a (not very good) degree in Physics, I had a real desire to be a photographer. At the time, cameras still used something called film and the internet didn’t exist.

None of the digital technology we so take for granted today, for making, creating and distributing images existed. To make it then as a photographer you not only needed technical and creative skill, you also needed to build your own contacts and networks. I quickly realised that this was going to take time. So, what did I do? I gave up!

Sure, I dabbled. I did a few weddings for friends. I tried a bit of what I now know is called street photography and heck, I even made my own photo books. But then, life got in the way. I got a “real” job, I got married, acquired a mortgage, had a kid… Photography was definitely on the back-burner.

What happened next?

The digital revolution happened. Suddenly, photography was revolutionised and became accessible again with the invention of the internet, photoshop, SD cards, social media, and more.

It’s hard to remember life before all of these things and of course many people know of no other way – even I take it for granted. But we shouldn’t.

Whilst many use all of this technology to mindlessly consume stuff (watching series after series, scrolling through social media, and so on) we must not forget we can also use it to create stuff too.

More importantly, it’s now easier than ever to use the tech we have at our disposal to build a side hustle. A side hustle doesn’t have to be another job or business (though it can be). It doesn’t even have to make you a lot of money (though it might one day in the future).

Rather, a side hustle is something that can help with your personal development, as well as improve your creativity and enable you to hone your entrepreneurial skills.

Here are three reasons why you might consider doing a side hustle.

  1. A side hustle can make you some extra cash. If there’s something you are passionate about and you have built up some skills in that area there is no reason not to sell your services to someone who could benefit. You don’t have to charge a lot, and you might even charge nothing at all whilst you are building up your skills, but you should not undervalue your services once you get good at what you do.
  2. A side hustle will help you develop your skills and experience. If you’re truly passionate about something you’ll find yourself seeking out information and education opportunities as often as you can. Learning becomes an intrinsic and natural part of what you are doing. Before you know it you’ll have learnt more than you realise and your skills and knowledge will be both valuable and marketable. You may also find they are transferable to other sectors and businesses.
  3. A side hustle gives you the chance to try something out. If you don’t give up your day job, and are able to maintain a steady source of income, your side hustle can be a way of trying different things out in a relatively, risk-free way. If you fail, you’ll learn lots and can try different approaches until you become more expert at what you do. It’s also a way of seeing if you really do want to do this thing, and maybe make a career out of it.

So, how do you make time for a side hustle when you have full-time responsibilities? How do you actually make it happen?

  1. Use your lunch break. Even the odd 30 minutes here and there will enable you to progress a little bit.
  2. Reevaluate you weekends. I’m not suggesting you spend all your weekends working but how about – rather than having that long lie in on a Sunday morning, you get up a couple of hours earlier?
  3. Stop mindlessly scrolling. Check your screen time. How much of that is spent endlessly scrolling through Facebook and Instagram? Is that a good use of your time? Before you pick up your phone in the morning, try to do something creative instead.
  4. Stop watching those Netflix series. Edward Murrow (the American journalist and war correspondent) said back in 1957 that television is “the real opiate of the people,” – suggesting the effects of consuming too much TV to be similar to the effects of a tranquilliser. He would have been even more correct about that today. The average series of 10 episodes at one hour each could give you back 10 hours – think about it.
  5. It’s up to you to find a way. Ultimately it’s up to you to make it happen and carve out some time to start that side hustle. Either you want to do it, in which case you’ll find  the time, or you don’t, in which case you’ll sit on the sofa watching the latest Netflix series whilst seeing what your friends are up to on Facebook. You choose which course you want to take.

It’s up to you…

“Whatever it is that you do, the hard stuff – the really hard stuff that people actually value –  will be no different. The Internet is just something that allows us to connect easily – it can’t lead our lives for us while we just sit around in our underwear…”

Hugh MacLeod – blogger, entrepreneur, and author.

So, at the end of the day it really is up to you. What could you create if you put your mind to it?

Click here to download our Side Hustles and Passion Projects Vision Board to help you envision your potential project ideas, think about how you can go about developing them and note ways to keep yourself accountable.

This article was written by Pete - Design and Technology Director.

Published by Peter Cripps

Software architect, digital activist, blogger and photographer.

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