5 Reasons to Start a Side Hustle Today (Besides Paying Off Debt)

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pottery artisan making fireclay jugs in his atelier as a side hustle
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It might feel like everyone is taking on a side hustle these days to help pay off debt, but that’s not the only reason you should pursue one.

Here are five reasons to start a side hustle today — even if you’re debt-free.

1. Accomplish a financial goal

Having a secondary source of income gives you extra financial security, especially if your primary source peters out because of a job loss or other circumstances.

Imagine what you could accomplish if you were able to use your secondary income solely for financial goals, such as:

  • Creating an emergency fund
  • Getting better health or life insurance
  • Saving for short- and long-term goals, from a vacation to retirement
  • Donating more to causes you care about

Even modest earnings could go a long way. Say your goal is to build a $10,000 fund for a rainy day. You’d reach your goal in two years if you contributed $415 per month to a bank account earning 1.00% in interest, according to our simple savings calculator.

2. Climb the career ladder

Chances are your side hustle won’t make you a lot of money right away. Eighty-five percent of side hustlers earn less than $500 per month, according to Earnest.

But your side hustle could earn you more money by helping you qualify for a promotion or pay raise at your day job. That’s because side hustles give you the opportunity to develop a new skill or fill a gap in your experience.

Be strategic when choosing your side hustle. If you’re an SEO specialist, for example, you probably wouldn’t be improving your resume by driving for Grubhub. On the other hand, you’d expand your skill set by creating a website and learning more about digital marketing outside of the office.

Even if you hope to turn your side hustle into a promotion at work, take advantage of the networking opportunities that crop up. Making connections via Side Hustle Nation’s Facebook group, for instance, could potentially lead to a better job down the line.

3. De-stress from your day job

Maybe you’re already making a good salary and don’t need a side hustle to climb the career ladder. In that case, a side hustle could be a way to help you clear your head.

Sure, going home and binging on your latest entertainment obsession can be a relaxing way to spend your downtime. But what if, instead, you used that time to execute on an idea you’ve been kicking around? If it’s different enough from what you think about while you’re at work, that idea could push you into a different frame of mind.

For you, a side hustle can be a win-win situation. You don’t have to do it for the money, so you might as well do it for fun. If your idea doesn’t work out, your Netflix shows will be there waiting for you.

4. Pursue your actual passion

Unless you’re working your dream job, a side hustle could allow you to take on work you actually care about. A side hustle, in other words, could be your creative outlet.

That’s not to say your side hustle shouldn’t earn you money.

When addressing entrepreneurs, “Content Inc.” author Joe Pulizzi suggests combining your existing knowledge and skill set with your long-held passion. Where the two meet is what Pulizzi calls the “sweet spot.”

Say you’re a high school English teacher who has enjoyed officiating a few friends’ wedding ceremonies. You might combine your skills in public speaking and writing with your interest in weddings. Your sweet spot (or side hustle) could be officiating weddings.

5. Start working for yourself

If you base your side hustle choice on your skills and passions, you’ll be more likely to spend time developing it during your free time. That’s important because side hustles require time and effort to be worthwhile.

For you, worthwhile might mean working for yourself.

You might discover, for example, that you could swap out your office job for the greater freedom of freelancing from home. There are all kinds of side hustles for introverts who prefer this sort of independent work.

If independence is what you’re seeking, you could also examine ways to turn your hustle into a career.

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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.