Tony Robbins is famous for saying, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” I’d add to that and say, “If you do what average people do, you’ll get what average people get.”
Are you familiar with the analogy of going up a down escalator? If you stand still, you’re going backwards. If you walk/step, you’re lucky if you just stay in place. But if you run, you can make some headway and actually reach the top -- difficult -- but you can do it. Life is exactly the same.
Most people walk, or stand still. Very few people actually hustle, but those who really move-it far outpace their peers in almost every walk of life. So here are five simple reasons why you absolutely need a side hustle, and a few tips on how to get started.
1. Wages aren’t growing -- and haven’t been for a long time.
Wages in the US, and in many other countries as well, have been effectively stagnant for years. In terms of buying power, you’re lucky if you’re breaking even year over year. Raises, if you get them, tend to be paltry, and may or may not even keep pace with inflation. This pain is even worse if you’re paid hourly, as you’re surely aware.
2. The cost of living keeps going up.
So, not only are wages not growing, but the cost of living just keeps spiking. Prices are rising even faster in key areas like education, healthcare, and housing. Just look at these charts and try not to gag. You’re paying more, but you’re not getting more.
Since this doesn’t look like it’ll be changing anytime soon, it makes sense to find ways to boost your income wherever possible.
3. Single points of failure are bad.
A single point of failure is another way to describe the weak link in a chain. One break and the entire system is broken. Your body understands this…you have two kidneys, two eyes, two lungs.
Employers understand this too, which is why they tend to have multiple people who can handle any given task. Even the military gets this, baking redundancy into the skillsets of elite fighting units.
So why is it that most individuals have just one income? A single income means you’re trapped. You have fewer options, you’re in a weaker position to negotiate, and you’re in bad shape if that main-stream income happens to goes away. Granted, employers typically want it that way, because it puts them in a position of power.
But it’s not in your best interest to keep yourself in this position. The smartest investors mitigate risk, and the most wealthy people have multiple income streams. Think about this, you should have the multiple streams, as well.
4. Your time is worth more on your own.
As an employer, you’re lucky if your time is worth $30-$60/per hour. Even top notch programmers in the Bay area are lucky to be making $100/per hour to $150/per hour. But many, many people with side hustles are making $250/per hour to $500 per hour on those -- some even $1,000/per hour and up.
It doesn’t take years and years of experience to make that amount of money. It just takes expertise in a niche field. Of course, it can be hard to expect your side hustle to make the same total amount of money as you can make being an employee, even if you make more per hour at your side gig. Which is why it’s called a side hustle, and not your day job. At least at first.
5. It’s an awesome education.
As an employee, you typically operate in a narrow range of tasks and obligations. You probably have people telling you what to do, setting deadlines and so forth. With a side hustle, it’s all on you.
In many ways, you could think of a side hustle as a real-world MBA. You’ll learn aspects of business and life that could otherwise be difficult to learn. With your side hustle you'll know how to manage selling and marketing, and how to negotiate just about anything.
You'll figure out how to write and read a contract -- you'll especially recognize contracts where you could get screwed over. You'll learn how to set-up an interactive website quickly, run a webinar like a pro, and design a logo with all the components of a fine graphic designer.
A side hustle gets you out of your comfort zone, and helps you broaden your skillset…which in turn actually makes you more and more valuable to any employer anywhere in the world. Win-win.
So, where should you start?
Right here. This article contains 50 side hustle ideas to prime the pump. I’d recommend that you at least picking something you’ll enjoy, because if you don’t enjoy your side hustle you’re far less likely to stick with it. Picking what you want -- no -- picking what you have a passion for -- is the first step.
That doesn’t mean the whole experience has to be enjoyable. It won’t be. But the core of what you’re doing needs to be something you love if it's going to work out.
I recommend starting with hobbies, or any special skills you may already have. Maybe you’re a wicked-good guitar player, or a chess prodigy, or a wizard with Excel spreadsheets. As long as it’s something that other people: A. want to learn or B. would rather have someone else do for them -- you can make money from it.
Once you have an idea of what you want to do -- take a moment and Google “How to Make Money Doing X,” where X is the thing you want to do. I guarantee you’ll find plenty of content to help you along your way.
Teaching people how to do things is an easy place to start, and you can use tools like Teachable or Udemy to quickly and easily put together a training course. I just put together my first course using Teachable, and I’ll soon be writing about the lessons I learned in the process.
I’d also recommend listening to side hustle related podcasts. Side Hustle Nation, Entrepreneurs on Fire, and Smart Passive Income are three of my personal favorites. These podcasts highlight people who have gone from a side hustle to a legit business and had a ton of success in many different areas.
Two incomes are better than one, and you don’t need to get hitched or work multiple “real” jobs to enjoy the financial benefits. Don’t leave your financial wellbeing in the hands of someone else. Start a side hustle, and take control of your future. It certainly isn't easy -- but it is easier than you think.