The side hustle hype is very real. Any millennial’s newsfeed is filled with inspirational quotes like “Do what you love and you’ll never have a problem with Monday." Thanks in large part to advances in technology, the gig economy is more accessible than ever. Gallup estimates that approximately 36% of U.S. workers are involved in the gig economy - that’s about 57 million people. So, if it seems like everyone and their dog has a side hustle - it’s because most of them do and they want to tell you all about it on their Insta Stories.
Side hustle: Instagram vs. reality
Social media makes a side hustle look pretty good. It gives the impression that starting a side hustle is Step One on the yellow brick road to Oz. But, what’s it really like? The truth is, the side hustle life is not for everyone. As a freelancer, I can tell you that I’ve heard the word ‘no’ about ten times as often as I’ve heard the word ‘yes’. I’ve also struggled to pay rent, worked seven days a week for several months, and chased dozens of overdue invoices.
On the other hand, I get to avoid the rush hour commute, schedule workouts for 10 AM, hang out with my dog, and work from wherever I want. Ultimately, nothing is perfect. There are pros and cons to just about every situation.
What’s your side hustle motivation?
You’ve likely heard about all the upsides of side hustling on your Instagram feed, so let’s talk about some of the behind-the-scenes realities.
Perhaps one of the most pervasive problems for side hustlers: burnout. According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, entrepreneurs who were most motivated by money or social acceptance were more likely to report feeling frustrated and drained by their work. So, get clear on your motivations; it will help you be resilient in the face of setbacks and rejection, which are inevitable.
Does a side hustle work for you?
When you’re bombarded with messages on the benefits of being your own boss, it can be difficult to drown out the noise. But, introspection is key. Think long and hard about what works for you. Maybe you actually love your 9 to 5. Maybe a side hustle would make work-life balance difficult to for you to maintain.
Whatever the case, don’t get caught up in the side hustle hype and forget what you’re signing up for. Take time for self-reflection and self-discovery. Get in tune with what works best for your life and your career. This has always and will always be the first step towards a fulfilling life and career.