This is why you should have a side hustle outside of your 9-to-5 job

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Think your income is not enough and need something to supplement it?

Or perhaps you have a passion that you’re not able to pursue full-time and just want to make some money out of your untapped talent.

According to author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek, a side hustle (anything you do to make extra money outside of your full-time job) is really based on the concept of playing "the infinite game".

It allows you to leverage your strengths into alternative sources of income and may one day grow into a full-time hustle.

Be it teaching tuition, martial arts, or even coaching kids' football, these are all possible options to explore. And particularly so in an unstable employment climate.

Not that you need convincing as to why you should try making more money, but we got Ruth Song, a career coach and consultant, to share five reasons on why you should embark on a side hustle stat.

1. IT LETS YOU BUILD AN ARSENAL OF SKILLS

Twenty-something hospitality content manager Fitri H. feels that having a side hustle is not only good for her pocket, but also her peace of mind.

I have several side jobs, but the one that brings in the most money is teaching tuition, which I started after graduating from junior college. While my full-time job gives me a stable income, my side job helped me build soft skills,” says Fitri.

“I become more patient and understanding and this allowed me to better communicate with others and manage stress. Plus, I have a safety net should I lose my job unexpectedly.”

Rather than look for job stability, Ruth suggests altering resilience towards change.

“I know of people who don’t have side careers. So if something were to happen, such as retrenchment or a change in circumstances, they wouldn’t be mentally and emotionally ready to pivot into another role,” she says.

She adds that the thing about future-proofing is to develop the skills, resilience and self-awareness to plan for, and handle, unexpected changes.

2. YOU GET TO BE YOUR OWN BOSS

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“A side hustle means that you are your own boss. You’ll learn how to plan your resources, finances and logistics. You’ll learn critical skills like problem-solving, communication and meticulousness. You’ll learn to set aside your inhibitions and become more open to learning new things, and to not be afraid of success and failure,” says Ruth.

She adds that these are all skills that future-proof worker needs at any stage of life.

3. YOU'LL BECOME A LIFETIME STUDENT

Disclaimer: this is not about grades. Everyone can start a side hustle but not everyone can go the distance. It takes diligence, commitment and perseverance as a side hustle is just like running your own business.

Ruth shares an example of two students who set up a cafe while they were still in school and now run a brisk business creating artisanal cakes.

One of the co-founders went on to take a certification in art therapy and now does art therapy for disabled children.

The advantage they had was that they started early, learnt from their mistakes and made conscious efforts to evolve while still embodying their key brand values of art and good food.

Knowing why you want to start a side hustle will actually help you in the long run when you need to decide how much time, energy and effort you want to devote to it.

4. IT FORCES YOU TO BE BRUTAL

With yourself, that is. A side hustle may complement what you do in your day job and help bridge the gap when your work situation changes.

Ruth recommends clarifying your intentions with these questions before starting your side hustle:

a) Is it because I want to supplement your income?

b) Is it because I’m bored with my current job and am looking for something that I could possibly make my full-time career in the future?

c) Or is it because it sounds like a thing to do now and I don’t want to lose out?

“Doing something that makes use of your talents while earning you income is a side hustle. Doing something to take your mind off other worries is a hobby. Hobbies are fun, and while side hustles can be fun too, they’re quite literally a second job where you have collaborators and customers who want things from you at certain times,” says Ruth.

“If you need to pause for a while, you can’t just drop the ball on them.”

5. YOU DEFINE YOUR OWN SUCCESS

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Success in a side hustle could be working to a point when you can support yourself without the monthly salary from your day job.

It could be supplementing your current income so that you can afford to invest, travel, or purchase a new house. It could even be working on projects that fulfil you more than your day job.

Ask yourself these questions during your side hustle journey to evaluate if it is worth carrying on into an unforeseen future:

a) Does my side hustle still spark joy?

b) Why does it spark / not spark joy for me? [This answer will help you evaluate if you are stillaligned to your objective or you need to pivot to something else]

c) Is it financially worth my while? [Is your side hustle paying for what you put into it? You may have some financial outlay in the first 6 months, but you should be able to recoup your expenses as soon as possible. Few people remember to pay themselves so make sure your side hustle is paying you for the time you put into it.]

On why she continued giving tuition long after her college graduation, Fitri says, “I find teaching enjoyable and it is a good break from the (sometimes) mundane office work. Regardless of how mischievous the kids are and how angry they made me feel sometimes, I still love seeing them in class every week.”

This article was first published in CLEO Singapore

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