Are you wondering about how to start a side hustle, but aren't sure now is the right time?

Side hustles have rapidly risen over the last several years, I predict that in the post-pandemic economy they will absolutely explode. According to research from UK firm Superscript:

  • Three out of 10 side hustles were started during lockdown,
  • 53% of side hustles are pursued to increase disposable income, and
  • A third of all respondents want to take their side hustle full-time someday.

It would appear that more people are thinking about a portfolio career than ever before. If you’re one of those people, I am here on the sidelines with a bullhorn and pom-poms egging you on… virtually, of course.

Perhaps the reason I have a soft spot for side hustles is that having one turned my life around when all felt lost. After having a meltdown in grad school, I helplessly drifted between odd jobs as a barista, retail associate, and “office administrator”.

I slept on an air mattress, maintained a nearly-negative bank account balance, and said I liked going on walks on first dates when actually I was just broke.

The first time I made money from a side hustle, it wasn’t much — about $50 USD if I recall.

At that moment, however, what I experienced for the first time was how putting my mind to something and applying myself could positively impact my bank account and quality of life.

Is launching a side hustle a good idea? To help discern the difference between having a bad day and actually pursuing an additional line of work, let’s look at four of the most popular motivators.

#1: An Income Bump Would Transform Your Quality Of Life

They say money doesn’t buy happiness, and a famous 2010 study from Princeton University found that more money doesn’t equate strongly to better emotional well-being once you go north of $75,000 USD/year.

However, research published last year in the scientific journal Emotion paints a different picture:

  • Higher degrees of happiness were correlated with higher socioeconomic status markers, such as having a college education.
  • Adults in the top decile of income ($108,410 USD and up) reported 5% higher happiness than other income levels.
  • In an interview with The Washington Post, lead paper author Jean Twenge noted that “The link [between income and happiness] is stronger now than in previous decades.”

As modern personal finance enthusiasts like to point out, it takes a similar amount of willpower to cut back on lattés as it does to seek out new income streams. The latter is more fun, and can even help you fund and scale your side hustle into something more.

The money I made from side hustles years ago was used to invest in courses, go to networking events, and kick off my consulting gig which later became my career. If an additional $1,000 or more per month would have a transformative impact on your lifestyle, explore your options now.

#2: Your Current Work Doesn't Utilize Your Strengths

If conversations at work, incompetent team members, or snake oil in the company financials have you feeling deflated about your job, a side hustle can give you something to look forward to in the short term and become your lifeboat down the road when it’s time to abandon ship.

Even good jobs at good companies lead to burnout if they don’t properly utilize your strengths. As StrengthsFinder author Tom Rath points out on his blog: You’ll burn out after just 20 hours a week if you’re in a job that doesn’t correctly use your strengths.

You’re also 3x more likely to report having an excellent quality of life if you use your strengths regularly at your job.

And according to a new survey conducted by LiveCareer, 30% of workers say they’ll quit their job if asked to go back to the office after the pandemic. 30% is, um, a lot of people… are you one of them?

If the answer is yes, consider bringing a side hustle into the picture to leverage your strengths and keep your fire burning bright.

“You’ll burn out after just 20 hours a week if you’re in a job that doesn’t correctly use your strengths.”

#3: You're Currently Underemployed

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” — Henry David Thoreau

Did you spend years studying a craft or subject that now goes unused? Samesies.

You and I are definitely not alone: 41% of recent college graduates are “underemployed”, meaning the job they have doesn’t use the skills they studied in school… or even a degree at all.

This doesn’t mean you’ll never get to use those passions or skills in work again. It might just mean you need to leverage your past experiences in a different way.

As I wrote about in an article for Entrepreneur Magazine, many liberal arts majors have ascended to the role of CEO thanks to a penchant for deep thinking and diverse interests. But maybe instead of incorporating passions into your 9-to-5, you should just channel them into a side hustle instead.

For me, the skills I learned in music school — deliberate practice and overcoming performance nerves — helped me get better at writing and use performance-oriented growth levers like webinars and presentations to build up my side hustle, which later evolved into my business.

Don’t let your skill set go to waste. Exploring a side hustle can not only help you feel creatively fulfilled, but also notch some extra variety on your résumé. As someone who hires people, trust me: Saying you started a business, no matter how small, catches a hiring manager’s eye and implies you’re proactive.

“41% of recent college graduates are “underemployed”, meaning the job they have doesn’t use the skills they studied or even a degree at all.”

#4: You're Curious About A Side Hustle And Digital Nomadism

Obviously, we can’t travel much at the moment, but once things open back up again I predict our pent-up wanderlust will be let loose in a flurry of travel and vacations.

In addition to this, more people will explore digital nomadism than ever before, especially now that millions have traversed the learning curve that comes with working remotely.

  • A feature in Business Insider points out that the best thing you can do now to prepare for a location-independent career post-pandemic is to sharpen your skills.
  • Digital nomadism is popular across demographics. I’d always thought of digital nomads as twentysomethings who didn’t want to settle down yet, but according to research from MBO Partners, 58% of nomads are 38 years of age or older.
  • Not traveling enough is one of life’s biggest regrets. A roundup from MarketWatch noted multiple surveys in which “not traveling” was a leading life regret for baby boomers.

If you want to work while traveling the world, you may need to be doing your own thing to swing it.

To do your own thing full-time, do it part-time first — that’s where a side hustle comes in.

Final Takeaways

By having a side hustle, you can iron out details and refine your skills before making the jump to full-time CEO.

A side hustle lets you practice entrepreneurship with training wheels on without feeling like you’re Sandra Bullock or Keanu Reeves in the movie Speed (Which is what entrepreneurship feels like all the time anyway — trust me).


Sometimes that feeling in your gut to start something new is just a reaction to a bad day. In other cases, however, it’s a calling that you can no longer ignore. Center in on your goals, stay inspired, and you’ll be well on your way to taking your career in a new direction.

Thanks for reading. 🙏🏼

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