This is a guest post by Melanie. She blogs about breaking up with debt at deardebt.com and invites others to write breakup letters to their debt as well. She’s accumulated a total of $81k in student loan debt between two degrees, and has paid off $37k. Currently she puts more than 50% of her income towards debt, while living a frugal, fun life. Follow the adventure @DearDebtBlog If you would like your personal finance story or article to be feature on Vosa let me know here
Side hustling, or the art of making money on the side, is great for many reasons. It can help you get out of debt, save extra money, or fund that elusive, hard-to-reach goal. I’m currently in the process of paying off $81k in student loans. I’m halfway into my journey and plan to be debt free in the next three or four years. My progress would not be possible without side hustling.
Of course, the extra money that comes from side hustling is the largest benefit, but there are many other unexpected benefits as well.
1. Learning New Skills
Side hustling is a great way to learn new skills. Whereas most jobs want you to have established skills, side hustles are more flexible. Side hustling can be a fertile ground for learning new things and improving on the skills you already have. Trying new things is the best way to learn new skills. Get out of your comfort zone and be open to failure!
From side hustling alone, I’ve learned about social media, writing, cooking, pet sitting, events, and the ins and outs of industries I am not typically a part of. This knowledge can be leveraged in future jobs. For example, the work I’ve done on my blog has increased my knowledge and given me a better understanding of my day job in communications. I would have a lot more to learn if it wasn’t for my blog!
2. Meeting New People
As we mature into adulthood, we often start hanging out in social circles dictated by our jobs, our interests, where we live, etc. While I think it is important to find a like-minded community to be a part of, I also think that always being around people of a similar mindset can be limiting to growth. Side hustling can get you out of your routine and regular environment to expose you to people that you wouldn’t otherwise meet.
One of my side hustles is acting as a brand ambassador, or being the public face of a company at events. It requires engaging with people on a personal level. Last week I worked a Home and Garden show and was amazed at the diverse range of people I met. I’m a city girl, not a homeowner, and have a black thumb. This was definitely not my crowd. But I genuinely think you can learn something from everyone, and it was great to meet people who lived in places I’d never heard of, hear about their lifestyle, and share in their dreams. It’s like getting a chance to be a social anthropologist and learn how others live.
If your side hustle is online, there are so many ways to connect with new people. The internet is a great tool for communication and connecting to people globally. You can connect with people in other states or other countries and meet people you would never connect with in your own neighborhood.
3. Making Friends
When I moved to Portland from New York City I knew no one other than my partner. I had no friends, no job, and no social support. I found some gigs working at events and met some really wonderful people who I clicked with. Turns out they were new to Portland too! Being in the same place and connecting over common ground helped us bond. Because of this, my first friends in Portland were friends I made from side hustling.
4. Having New Experiences
As I mentioned earlier, as we grow older we tend to settle into a routine. Routines can be good, and often help set up a structure for a productive life. However, sometimes routine can limit your access to new experiences.
As someone with an adventurous spirit, I’m always looking for new experiences – where I can get paid! For me I do that with working events as a brand ambassador or working as an event assistant. I’ve worked events at the Portland Rose Garden, music festivals, parks, and more. I essentially got paid to be a tourist in my own city.
If you are a photographer, or writer, try to leverage your skills to get yourself into movie premieres, concerts, and other events. Working these events gives you a whole new perspective and you get paid to have fun, all while enhancing your skills and meeting new people.
5. A Career Change
Lately, I’ve read so many stories about bloggers who started out as hobbyists, who then turned to side hustling, and then ended up quitting their jobs to blog full-time.
How awesome is that? Side hustling can give you a glimpse into a new career without fully committing. I like to have my hands in a lot of different pots, because you never know where your next opportunity is. Working a diverse array of side hustles can help you figure out your next career path and test the waters.
Aside from monetary payment, side hustles can include a variety of perks like free products and services, free food and drink, and more.
While working as a brand ambassador for a notable clothing company, I received $500 in free clothing. Working events often provides free food and drinks. If I get free dinner at an event, this saves me money and makes my groceries last longer.
If you are a blogger, perhaps you get free products in exchange for product reviews. Some gigs offer 50% off coupons for employees as well.
Things to Keep in Mind
It’s important to think of the pay rate for each side hustle and make sure it is worth your time. My side hustles range from $10/hr -$25/hr. But think of the big picture and all the perks and unexpected benefits that might be available to you. Start thinking about what dreams you want to fulfill and goals you want to accomplish. Side hustling can help you get there!
Do you side hustle? What are some unexpected benefits from your side hustles?