Why Having a Side Hustle is Good for Your Career and Good for Your Soul

We all wish we could have that amazing job that is totally satisfying, meaningful and that doesn’t feel like work. But for a number of reasons, this is not always possible for everyone.

Maybe your dream job is a position with a non-profit that pays pennies to start and your student loans dictate more income. Perhaps you just need a few more years experience before that ideal position can be yours. Maybe you just cannot find that perfect job within a reasonable commute from your home and relocating is just not in the cards at the moment.

But this doesn’t mean you need to slave away at a day job that sucks the life out of you without enjoying the benefits, both personal and professional, of doing something you love.

A SolutionHaving a “side hustle,” whether it be a freelance business you establish, acting as a consultant, or volunteering in your spare time for an organization that means a lot to you, can be good for your career and good for your soul. Harnessing your talents by doing something you love on the side can ignite passion in your life and strategically set you up for advancement in your day job as well. Sounds good, right? Read on!

Good for Your Career: Any experience that strengthens your business sense, professional skills or even social skills is a worthwhile endeavor. Having a side hustle can teach you new abilities and strengthen existing ones.

Don’t have much experience negotiating? You will quickly harness your negotiating power when you start a freelance business.

Not terribly comfortable networking or meeting new people? That will quickly be put to rest once you begin to offer consulting services on the side.

Never been a strong organizer or have time management control? You’ll do a 180 once you have a side effort to maintain in addition to your day job.

And think of all the research that you could do to strengthen your side business or project! Furthering your knowledge or education can always benefit you in the business world, and there will be plenty of information you will want to soak up once you put your heart into a side hustle.

You’ll want to read blogs (like this one), watch YouTube videos and read books that can help you make the most of your effort, and that kind of enthusiasm for knowledge is never a bad thing.

Alvin Toffler, an American writer and futurist, known for his works regarding the digital, communication and technological revolutions once said, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

Building upon your passions with a side hustle will inevitably develop your skills and force you to constantly advance your knowledge.

You’ll also find yourself wanting to talk to people about work - but not your traditional work, your passion-fueled side effort. These conversations can help create new professional relationships, referrals and leads.

Good for Your Soul: You are far more likely to enthusiastically go above-and-beyond when you are contributing to a project that you are passionate about.

The joy you experience while accomplishing goals related to a personal passion is enough to keep you getting up each morning for that day job that currently just pays the bills. The hours will go by much faster at your day job, and you’ll actually look forward to working and making progress in your side effort.

When you set out to build a side effort for yourself, your hard work will result in gratification that you can seriously bask in. After all, it was your determination and talent that created those results!

Achievements from your side hustle will envelope you in a blissful state of “I knew I could do it.”

Real-Life Example: I know from personal experience just how gratifying and important my side projects are to both my personal happiness and my professional life.

I’ve worked in marketing for the last 8 years in different capacities, with each position offering advancement and their own unique benefits. My strong type-A personality and competitive nature has often led me to seek leadership roles with strong responsibilities and accountability.

However, I’ve reached the conclusion after these last 8 years in the post-college “real world” that a long commute to the Boston-area just to get that salary that I know I deserve is no longer the most important factor when planning my career.

That hour + commute is no longer worth the stress and fatigue for me. I prioritize spending more quality time with my husband and our pets and taking care of my physical and mental health by working out and making time to read. And I’m sure my priorities will change again the older I get.

This shift in priorities, combined with the fact that my day job does not allow me to use my talents to write about, market, photograph or design things I am truly passionate about, helped me make the decision to put my entrepreneurial spirit to the test and start my own freelance business, Elizabeth Anne Studio.

While juggling a full-time day job and a side business can be demanding, it is totally worth it. Not only do I benefit from the added income, but my creativity and untapped talents can also be unleashed.

During my day job, I don’t get to choose what I am marketing, nor do I get to take charming photos all day. I definitely harness my knowledge and experience and do my job well, but my side business is absolutely what motivates me, brings me joy and makes me proud.

I’m able to be choosy about the clients and projects I take on, and I’m able to use my abilities and expertise to create marketing collateral, websites and photos that are beautiful and more my style.

During the process, I’ve strengthened my lead generation tactics and come to appreciate the sales process much more. I’m strengthening my digital advertising knowledge and have had to learn several new tricks in Photoshop. I’m constantly reading photography tips and tricks and downloading e-books left and right.

The best part though is that I’ve enjoyed every moment of it and it never feels like work.

Moral of the Story Don’t doubt yourself. Harness your passion and reap the professional and personal benefits of developing a side hustle for yourself. Put your knowledge and enthusiasm to the test and just see what happens!

Do you have a side hustle? What do you love most about it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us at @HeyWorkingGirl