3 Reasons Why a Side Hustle is a Smart Career Strategy

You’re working full-time and have a part-time job on the side to save money to quench your thirst for travel. But, have you thought there may be more to a side hustle than just making some extra cash?

A side hustle is an extra income stream such as a casual or part-time job or an entrepreneurial venture that you do after working your full-time job.  Even though 70% of side hustlers say they are doing it for the money, I have three awesome reasons that prove money isn’t everything and side hustling can be a smart career strategy.

The Top 3 Reasons Why a Side Hustle is Smart

1.     Build skills that you possibly can’t build in your day job.

2.     Meet new people and create new connections.

3.     Scratch an entrepreneurial itch and test-drive your idea.

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Building New Skills

One of the best reasons to take on a side hustle is the opportunity to build skills that you wouldn’t get to build in your day job. In some cases, this could be a specific professional skill that is related to your occupation and your long-term career growth. Several years ago, I worked full-time as an intercultural trainer and did some freelance consulting in my free time. I had specialized skills in the area of launching international student and second language programs and I had the opportunity to share my knowledge and expertise while I also built my consulting portfolio.  Today, I consult in a different area of expertise but I learned how to consult as a freelance side hustle earlier in my career.  

In other cases, your side hustle may be a personal interest that gets you up on your days off. Chris, a detective during the day, works with a carpenter on his days off. “I get to learn new skills that I apply to my own home,” he says. “I never need to hire contractors on my properties because of the skills I’ve built working on the side. I’ve saved myself a lot of money in renovations. And, as I see it, I’m getting paid to help out my friend.”

Making New Connections 

Side hustles can also be our opportunity to make connections with people we wouldn’t normally meet in our day job. When I decided to leave my teaching career, I worked .75 FTE as an international student coordinator, teacher and academic advisor. At the time, I was considering taking a leap out of working in a high school environment to working in the career development industry, but I didn’t know a lot of people. On my afternoons off, I took on a side hustle working as a vocational counsellor supporting injured workers in their work search. This helped me meet new people in the vocational rehabilitation and career development industry and allowed me the opportunity to test drive the two industries and talk to people to see if I really wanted to quit my day job and plunge into a new career.  

Scratching an Entrepreneurial Itch and Test-Driving the Waters

Since I was 14 years old, I’ve had an entrepreneurial itch that I have needed to repeatedly scratch throughout my lifetime in the form of entrepreneurial side hustles. These side hustles have helped build entrepreneurial knowledge and skills in safe ways before taking larger plunges.

One of my entrepreneurial side hustles developed while I was working full-time in Japan as an English Communication Instructor in a high school. There was a huge market for English tutors, so it was the perfect opportunity to run my own side business. I learned how to market my skills, create a fee structure, provide quality service and attract a clientele. It was my first real taste of running a small business.

In his Lendio blog post article, Do Side Hustles Lead to Legit Businesses, Grant Olsen writes, “Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak may have had jobs at Atari and Hewlett Packard, but they relentlessly hustled their computer-building idea.” Businesses are not started over night. In many instances, people are doing their day job and hustling on the side to get their business idea off the ground.  

Steve and his wife Chrisa, were both working full-time jobs while they simultaneously launched The Duck Foot, a farming implement that Steve invented. While they test-drove the waters and went to trade shows in Saskatchewan, Australia and the US, they kept their day jobs. When The Duck Foot gained momentum and they started to get busy, Chrisa quit her job to look after operations and customers.

Whether it’s building new skills, making new connections, building entrepreneurial skills, or starting a legit business, side hustles have their value. And, if you just want to make some extra money to pay for that trip to Spain, that’s a good idea too.