Having a side (or main) hustle can be fun and helps you make additional income. I’m sure you have heard of stories of entrepreneurs launching while they’re having their happiest moments at Disney World. And this makes you wonder why you’re commuting an hour to work every day when the idea of excellent work comes from bringing your mind and not just your body to work. Less than one-third of the U.S. workforce is engaged in their work and almost one fifth is “actively disengaged.” As someone who worked in talent management and recruiting previously, these statistics really made me rethink the purpose of work.
If you are thinking if the side hustling thing is for you, here are a few reasons you might be fit for this:
- You’re a millennial and you go to work for more than a paycheck.
- Change, meaningful work, and/or making a difference all matters to you.
- You question and challenge authority.
- You have your own independent thinking.
- You are knowledgeable about a topic that your friends always go to you for.
- You’re impatient with the status quo and how systems are.
- You’re curious, experimental, and that stubborn soul of yours would rather learn through trial and error than through authority, your boss, or your parents.
- You have your own vision of how certain things should be.
And when I talk about a side hustle being an investment, I mean beyond the financial benefits. Sure, having more money is great, but it doesn’t make you a more well-rounded and fulfilled person. It gives you freedom, but it doesn’t give you soul and purpose. There are professional, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits too. Oh really?
Yep, read on to see.
WHAT ARE SOME PROFESSIONAL BENEFITS?
#1 Employers love anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit.
Whether you work in an entrepreneurial work environment like a tech startup or something else, every employer loves an entrepreneurial spirit. It’s less about having the title “entrepreneur”, but more of breathing the mindset of someone who takes action and is creative in arriving at solutions. Start a side hustle because it’s fun and generates additional income, but flaunt it like you get paid to do what makes you happy.
Having a side hustle demonstrates that you take initiative, have the passion (I hate that word sometimes), and goes the extra mile in both work and life. And every boss wants to know that they hired you and got the bang for their buck. So how do you show them that?
If you can prove that you can make money using other creative outlets, you’re seen as an asset to any team you work on. Every businesses’ goal is to either generate more revenue or cut costs. Being entrepreneurial shows that you understand how to take risks, how value is perceived, and how cash flows.
#2 You can use your blog to show off your expertise on your signature topic.
I talk about owning your signature communication medium in my free email course, Niche Clarity, but owning your signature topic is just as important. Your signature topic is what you’ll like to be known for, especially to people who don’t know you. Writing a blog and giving away your insights in regards to your topic will make anyone who reads it look up to you as an expert. And by being the expert, I really mean you’re able to form some connections within your topic that others with less experience have missed or overlooked.
Your blog can be used to build up your own audience or used as a marketing collateral for your own personal branding. As long as you are creating valuable content, you can even pivot your audience from your employers to another specific group if you want this to be your main hustle one day.
#3 Use your blog or digital presence to develop your personal branding.
Your blog or digital presence can easily lead to your personal brand. Wonder how many employers and clients check you out on your social channels before hiring you? If they are checking you out, you’ll definitely want to funnel them down to something that’s presentable. In my former job as a recruiter, having some kind of digital presence or online portfolio played a huge part in finding the right people for creative, social media, graphic design, and digital marketing roles. When you are trying to stand out from your competition, it’s not the time to hide. Plus, if you are interviewing for a role in digital marketing, it only makes sense to have some sort of digital footprint.
Where does the money come from?
#4 You can make smart passive income via affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is no new concept, but it’s still a proven way to make smart passive income on the side. The greatest thing about affiliate marketing is that you don’t even need your own product to make a sale. If you’ve built up enough traffic that comes through search engines and queries, you can get commissions from affiliate sales on autopilot. From my experience, reviews of a product and how-to posts (or a blend of both) were my highest performing posts.
The pros of affiliate marketing
- You don’t need your own product
- No inventory or overhead expenses
- You don’t have to worry about customer support if the product breaks
- Once your evergreen article is optimized for SEO, click throughs and conversions, you can make affiliate commissions on autopilot
The cons of affiliate marketing
- You’re selling someone else’s product
- It’s only effective if you can get your articles to rank on the first two pages of Google
- Your article must be of immense value, engaging and more in-depth than everything else out there in order to make sales
- It’s not very effective as a full-time business, but good to have in place if you have other revenue streams
- Some niches have better affiliate commissions than others. For example, for physical products, the payout commissions are usually only 2-5%. For digital software products, the commissions can range from 30-50%. That’s because the cost of goods sold increases for physical products, but remains the same for digital products. For example, for every backpack, North Face manufactures, it has to pay someone to make an additional backpack. For software products, however, once the product is completed, the labor costs remain the same and the company can have 200 or 2000 customers, but they don’t need to pay for each additional unit of software sold.
#5 You can attach yourself to Brand sponsorships.
Not everyone can or wants to land huge sponsorships and one-year contracts with big brands. But even small bloggers with an engaged audience can be chosen for smaller brand sponsorship packages. Like affiliate marketing, you don’t have to deal with the conception, creation, and inventory of having your own products. But you do, need to share your audience with the brand you’re working with because ultimately they want to maximize their reach to get more customers as well.
Pros of sponsorships
- You don’t need to create or inventory your products.
- Brands are willing to work with small engaged audiences as well; it’s more about being the right fit.
- Through collaborations, you really get to understand how business partnerships and dynamics work without having to run a full-time business
Cons of sponsorships
- The influencer selection can be long and tedious and the brands usually make the ultimate decision on who they want to collaborate with
- You don’t have a lot of control over your income
- It takes time to build up an engaged audience.
#6 You can be a freelancer offering services or consultations.
If you’ve ever worked for a boss at any level, you’ve had a taste of being in a service business. The only difference between freelancing and employment is that you get to set your own fees, work hours, and reap all the profits coming in as a freelancer. You also have to go out and find your own clients as well.
Pros of services
- Working with clients is the fastest route to adopting the skill of empathy and understanding people’s problems. If you’re a content marketer or course creator, your empathetic skill is going to set the foundation for your content and products.
- It’s relatively easy and low-cost to start. The only pre-requisite is to have a skill that others desire or need.
Cons of services
- Your time isn’t scalable. For every client you take on and work with, you can’t spend your time elsewhere.
- Clients are people and people can be unpredictable. It can be draining to work with desperate and temperamental clients.
#7 E-products (courses, e-books, digital products, membership sites)
While most people don’t start a side hustle to create e-products such as e-books, e-courses, and membership sites, it’s still another form of revenue-generating activity. Simply put, it takes a lot of time upfront to write an e-book or create an e-course. It’s much easier to collaborate with brands and promote other people’s products.
Pros of e-products
- You have full control of how much you want to sell and how you want to position yourself
- It’s scalable. You only have to create your product once and resell it over and over again.
Cons of e-products
- It takes a lot of time upfront to create.
- You need to have a marketing plan.
What are the emotional and spiritual benefits? What, they really exist even in business?
#8 You get to be the inspirational teacher you always wanted.
I’ve only met a handful of people in real life who are good teachers. Most people are horrible listeners to begin with so they’ll never be good communicators. In fact, I’ve met way more people online who are better teachers than those who have had the actual titles. The best content creators, content marketers, bloggers, and some YouTubers are essentially teachers. I mean the whole point of content marketing is to educate your audience so they make smart buying decisions and products that serve a purpose to their life or business.
If you’ve reached the level where you know something so in-depth, you are really in a state of privilege. You can teach whether you have the title or not. And unlike classic educational systems, you can be creative and teach about literally anything from water coloring to guitar-playing. Oh, my!
#9 You will be more focused and mindful.
Although it’s only a side hustle, but if you put your mind to it and love what you do, you’ll realize that you’re hyper-focused. And they always say that good things only follow those who are focused. I started teaching content marketing to bloggers and creatives, but I realized I have a stronger penchant for experimenting with what converts within content marketing. I’m really focused on results so questioning the purpose of content really helped me focus on writing for an audience.
Other than the moments where I allow myself to take a break on YouTube, I would lose track of time and completely immerse myself in my project. When you first start working on your blog part-time, you might not know what you want to focus on. But playing around with what you know already will help you find your niche.
When you catch yourself going down a rabbit hole and exploring the guts of your topic, you begin to develop depth and a real understanding of your topic. And that’s your signature topic.
In addition, if you’ve niched down, you’ll soon realize that the sub-topics you talk about are entwined more or less. This makes writing exponentially easier for you because you’ve been exposed to the ideas you live and breathe more than once. The basic marketing principle says that your people need to be exposed to a message seven times before it sticks. It means the same for you as well: when you write about your experience on something over and over again, it becomes much easier to retrieve and talk about it the next time.
#10 Blogging is reflective and therapeutic regardless of what topic you choose.
As humans, we all have a natural need for self-expression whether you are the mellow or outspoken type. You need to know, or at least feel, that your opinions and voice matter. And whether you create videos, write a blog, or speak in a podcast, your words and opinions are your perspectives. It doesn’t matter if you’re teaching people how to make money online, how to write the most powerful algorithm, or how to wear a bell-sleeve top, you are expressing your opinion on something that matters to you.
#11 You learn to be more empathetic because you’re writing for an audience.
Some side hustles like starting an eBay shop didn’t require a lot of empathy from me, but I also grew bored and tired of always having to go to the post office very quickly. That’s when I realized I’ll never want a physical product business.
If your side hustle requires you to write a blog, build an audience, launch a podcast, create a YouTube channel, or work with a client, empathy is your cornerstone ingredient! When you are trying to engage and meet people on Twitter or Facebook, your goal is to understand their biggest struggle in relation to your niche. It’s the only way you can write and create more content or products to serve their needs and solve their pains. You get closer to product-market fit as a result. And this is what I call the magic of empathy.
Being empathetic has it’s emotional and spiritual benefits. While it helps you put yourself in other’s shoes, it also makes you feel better as a human being all around. Too many people are caught up in being “busy” these days, that they become focused on building their brand and forgetting that it begins with solving someone else’s problem.
Also, because your content brand is audience-focused instead of brand-focused, it builds a tribe of raving fans. Your people know you understand and care about them and you are not creating content just to sell and show off yourself. And this will contribute to your bottom line, which gives you financial freedom and time to create even better content. Ya get the cycle?