Friday, December 14, 2018

Why Having a Side Hustle is Good For You

My life totally changed in 2007.   I was at the end of my tenure at a large retail company in IT and I was getting antsy.  I needed something different and thought there was more to life than going to a 9-to-5 job, go home and watch TV or blow time at the local bar sipping cheap beer talking about the drama at the 9-to-5 gig.

One day, I decided to go to a networking event at my alma mater just to try out something new and meet some different people.   At my first event, I knew I was in a different environment.   The other professionals in the room were positive, friendly and they all had something different.   They all seemed to have something they were passionnate about.   Most of them worked a 9-to-5, but it was what they were doing after 5pm that got them all excited and positive about what life will bring.

So what was it that got them all excited?   The side hustle!

In 2018, research has shown that more American millenials have a side hustle than ever before.  And it is not just millenials, baby boomers are doing it to, since they know the corporate world is in their rear view mirror.  The side hustles may be freelancing, teaching, doing Uber or starting a side business in real estate, network marketing or franchising.   Studies have shown that having a side hustle provides a lot of mental health benefits since it is something to look forward to and indulge in your entrepreneurial spirit.

Here are five benefits I have experienced since I have started my side hustles alongside my day job.

1. I have gained control of my life.

When you care deeply about your work as I do, it can be frustrating when you aren't able to call the shots or make an impact the leaves you feeling fulfilled.  This might be especially true if you feel stunted in a toxic culture, are miserable as the result of a bad boss, or are stuck in a situation where you simply don't have the freedom to do things the way you want to on the job.  I am familiar with these struggles firsthand, and by having my side hustles, I have the ability to call the shots and control my own domain.

2.  I have grown personally and professionally since I started my side hustles.

Professional learning opportunities are one of a job's best perks, whether you have teammates who teach you new skills or enjoy access to books and classes throught your company.   Sure, that was great back in the 1990s when I travelled all over the world for classes and seminars that my company paid for.   Unfortunately today, the information you need to know to do your job well might not always be of interest to you.   Having a side hustle that challenges you in an area you're genuinely interested in is exciting and give you a sense of purpose.  I have done my share of reading and have enrolled in numerous classes on digital marketing and health/wellness which are my passions.

3.  I am not so stressed anymore.

I am now doing something that makes me feel energized, proud, and confident that helps me combat any work worries at the 9-to-5.   If you are doing something you enjoy while making money doing it, you won't be as stressed as if all you do is go to your job and then go home and stress about your job.  Working on your passion brings you a much needed  mental break from day-job-related stress.

4. I am definitely not bored with life, far from it.

If you have been in your current role for a long time but love what you do but crave more variety?   A side hustle can you explore skills or talents that you enjoy but don't get to use nearly enough.  You should keep things interesting by pursuing a side hustle that is a complete departure from your usual work routine.   I have a great example.  By day I manage an IT organization at a health care company.  By evening, I run a digital marketing company as well as a health/wellness company.   I don't stop there.  I also run one of Boston's most successful business networking groups.   Like I mentioned, I am not bored.   Because of my side hustles, I come back to my 9-to-5 more refreshed.

5.  I have built some amazing relationships since I have started my side hustles.

Sure, your day job might introduce you to plenty of smart people in your industry but believe me when you explore your entrepreneurial pursuit, the new friends and contacts that you make are a whole different mindset.  The old saying is it is all about who you hang with.   Since I have tapped into my new social circles, I feel much more connected, fulfilled and happy.

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