Starting a Business

Your Side Hustle Is More Likely a Dead End Than a Path to Entrepreneurship

Hustling on the side is good for extra money but it's still a long way from operating a full-fledged business.
Your Side Hustle Is More Likely a Dead End Than a Path to Entrepreneurship
Image credit: Rebecca Hahn | EyeEm | Getty Images
Guest Writer
Co-founder at Arkenea
4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Every aspiring entrepreneur dreams about making it as a successful business owner. If you can relate, you likely already have a side hustle.

Considering that around 44 million Americans have a side hustle, the numbers speak for themselves. Although an exciting and rewarding journey, a side hustle can actually hinder your success. If you’re currently hustling on random weeknights and on the weekend, you’re unfortunately delaying your opportunity to grow a real business. If you want to take your business goals above and beyond a little extra cash, here’s why you need to ditch your side hustle mentality today.

Related: Career-Minded Millennials Should Think Twice Before Starting a Side Hustle

1. You’re not really operating a true business.

Millions of Americans, just like you, wish they could leave their 9-to-5 jobs behind. The only problem is, they don’t. When hustling on the side, you’re not operating a full-fledged business. How can you be when you’re at work Monday through Friday, working for someone else? You aren’t invested, and your long-term growth will show that.

2. There's only 24 hours in each day.

A side hustle is time-consuming, plain and simple. If you are working a full-time job and hustling on the side, time management becomes a serious issue. This effect can spill over into your personal life and unfortunately, many aspiring business owners burn out before they even get started.

Related: 4 Tips to Take Your Side Hustle to the Next Level

3. Side hustles are harder to scale.

You often hear of companies that find overnight success, but what you don’t see is the amount of work that went into achieving that seemingly instantaneous growth. In order to scale, you need to spend a significant amount of time planning, monitoring and taking real action. Unfortunately, side hustles often reach a plateau and the business ends up stuck in a rut.

4. You’re likely accumulating debt.

In order to grow a business, you need to invest in your growth strategy. Whether you need to develop a product, travel to conventions or outsource critical tasks, all of this costs money. However, nearly 70 percent of people start a side hustle for financial reasons (i.e. to pay off their personal debt).

Sure, you can walk dogs after work to make some extra money, but that is not a business. If you want to grow a true business, you will need to invest both your time and money in order to profit. Don’t spend money on new office supplies, a ton of marketing material or any other significant expense until you actually have demand. You will just end up worse off than you were when you started.

Related: How to Turn Your Side Hustle Into a Full-Time Gig

5. You’re not “showing up” every day.

Businesses that take off are because of the people behind them. Sure, a great product will sell itself, but a product is not a business. If you are not waking up each morning ready to conquer your evolving task list -- and are heading into your current full-time job instead -- you won’t see growth.

If you’re not truly hustling, building your brand and business on a daily basis, then you’re likely in the hobby zone. Yes, a “sink-or-swim” mentality can be daunting. However, if you remain in your safety net job, you will never be fully invested in your growing enterprise.

There is a reason why 50 percent of small business fail by year five. From poor cash flow to a lack of proper management, the main issue is a lack of investment, both in terms of one’s time and money.

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