In today's economic-scape of rising costs and wages that don't always keep pace, more than 44 million Americans are choosing to supplement their full-time income with jobs on the side. From driving for Lyft to freelancing graphic design services, millions of people, particularly millennials, are finding flexible ways to pad their paychecks.
For many, these side gigs are beneficial both financially and personally. They offer ample opportunity to invest in passion projects, learn new skills, and even boost performance at regular nine-to-fives. While these perks are worth the extra commitment in time and responsibility for some people, others may find the price tag too steep to justify. Here are five signs that will help you determine whether a side hustle is right for you.
5 Signs You Need a Side Hustle
1. You're an Entrepreneur
Are you an enterprising spirit? Do have an idea for a product or service that could improve people's lives? If so, you may be an entrepreneur just waiting for the chance to launch your first business. A side hustle is an ideal fit for someone who wants to invest in his or her own aspirations and create career option value. It's also great for people who are passionate about their hobbies to the point that they could turn them into paid gigs.
To be an entrepreneur is no easy feat. You not only have to have ideas and drive to bring them to life but also hard business skills and connections who can help you.
To be an entrepreneur is no easy feat. You not only have to have ideas and drive to bring them to life but also hard business skills and connections who can help you. Getting a product or service off the ground requires time, money, and elbow grease. For many, this type of supplemental income only works if they can keep up with their full-time jobs to pay the bills. If this sounds like you, then dream big in your downtime and let your passion project soar.
2. You Want to Improve Your Economic Outlook
If your current income doesn't seem to keep up with today's rising cost of living or, even worse, is sinking you into debt, a side hustle could be what you need to stay afloat. According to Experian, credit card debt is up 3% from last year, with the average person in the United States harboring a whopping $6,375 on their balance. If you are like the average American, you may be able to improve your economic outlook via supplemental income.
Be sure, though, not to drive yourself deeper into debt. Multi-level marketing organizations such as LuLaRoe, DoTerra, Mary Kay, Herbalife, and countless others claim a thriving community of consultants. More often than not, unfortunately, this is rarely the case. According to a report published by the Federal Trade Commission, 99% of people who join these trades end up losing money. The bottom line? Never put your finances at risk to support those of a retailer.
3. You Have a Flexible Schedule
Many side gigs give you the ability to set your own hours. If you have free time on weekends or flexibility in your full-time schedule, you could be turning those unused hours into extra income. This is particularly true for a side hustle of which you are the boss, rather than a third-party service. Whether you sell your freelance writing or dog-walking services, you have the ability to set your schedule and take on as much or as little work as you wish in your spare time.
There are caveats. For example, many people drive with Uber or Lyft to earn money on the side. While it's true that you can work for these organizations whenever you want, your time may be more valuable than your actual paycheck. After expenses, Uber drivers across the United States report earning less than $13.25 per hour. Besides accepting lower wages, you also have to be willing to put up with difficult personalities and behaviors. Time well spent? You decide.
4. You Want to Make the Most of the Short Term
Perhaps you do not want to commit to two jobs for the foreseeable future. After all, it is challenging to balance double the responsibility and still put quality work into both gigs. Whether you want to create a short-term plan to pay off debt, save money, or fund adventures around the world, a side hustle can deliver results without the long-term commitment. In fact, many millennials are doing just that.
Of the 44 million adults in the United States who make cash on the side, 28% are younger millennials between the ages of 18 to 26. 96% of this group reports monthly earnings and 61% reports weekly earnings. This group makes an average of $200 per month, with a quarter of these younger millennials hauling in upwards of $500 per month.
In a survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International on behalf of Bankrate, results showed that, of the 44 million adults in the United States who make cash on the side, 28% are younger millennials between the ages of 18 to 26. 96% of this group reports monthly earnings and 61% reports weekly earnings. This group makes an average of $200 per month, with a quarter of these younger millennials hauling in upwards of $500 per month.
5. You Love to Learn
Last, but not least, a side hustle is an excellent opportunity for anyone who loves to learn. Most people spend their full-time jobs doing the same tasks and meeting the same goals. If you need to make something happen outside of your role, you might consult with colleagues in different departments to get the job done. While this is effective, it limits you from learning new skills.
In a side gig, success falls squarely on your shoulders. You'll not only learn everything you can about your passion project of choice, but also hard business skills you might not otherwise get the chance to develop. From marketing and selling to negotiating and branding, you'll do what it takes to make the venture worthwhile. An added bonus? You'll be able to translate these skills back into your regular nine-to-five and become a stronger employee.
Are You Ready?
If you are ready for the extra responsibility and a side hustle sounds like it could be a good fit for you, odds are you will need to adapt your cover letter and resume or write new ones entirely to suit your anticipated role. Check out MyPerfectCoverLetter's personalized cover letter builder and reference our sample letters to craft a document that leads to a prosperous side gig.