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Why you should consider a side hustle & answers to your every excuse not to
If a JLaw girl crush wasn’t enough to get your to the theaters to see American Hustle, the Golden Globes and Oscar buzz should certainly have perked your ears to this hot release. While we don’t stand behind illegal practices and FBI evasion we do think there’s a lesson to be learned from this fun flick, namely the art of the side hustle.
Wondering how you can earn more money, beat out job competitors, and start your own company? Look to the side hustle. Under the motto “New Year New You” we’re sharing advice for how you can leverage your personal talents to start a gig of your own and why this could be just the step up you need.
Why Start a Side Hustle?
If you’ve never considered getting a side job before, your initial reaction to the idea might be negative. You may be thinking that this isn’t something you need to add to your plate right now. If this is your reaction, I would bet that you are only considering the monetary advantages that a side job can bring. I challenge you to expand your thinking and consider the hustle as more than a money-maker and look at it for all the broader value it can afford.
- Strengthen Your Resume: We live in a competitive professional world and those who play wisely know that it’s important to continue working on developing your skill sets beyond graduation. Picking up a side hustle can help you bolster your resume with additional skills beyond your primary job position.
- Build a Back-up Plan: Nothing is ever 100% certain. Your job today could be gone tomorrow. In the event that the unfortunate happens, a side hustle can help keep you afloat until your next FTJ (full-time job) opportunity rolls around or could be transitioned into a full-time entrepreneurial venture.
- Relieve Your Creativity: The dream is to have a job that allows you to work on whatever it is you’re passionate about 100% of the time. Unfortunately, this is not the situation most of us find ourselves in. A side hustle can be the outlet for your creative spirits and a profitable way to funnel your passion.
- Yes, Extra money: On top of it all, it doesn’t hurt to earn a little extra cash on the side. Even if your FTJ pays your bills just fine, the extra cash could be saved, invested, or put toward an awesome vacation.
Don’t let these excuses get in your way…
I Don’t Have Special Skills
If you believe this, you are undervaluing yourself and not thinking creatively. You feed, groom, transport yourself and generally stay alive. Therefore you have at minimum, a basic skill set that can be leveraged to help others. If you’re struggling to think of your list of promotable skills try this brainstorming exercise.
- Start a spreadsheet that has 3 columns. Label Column 1 “Words That Describe Me.” Label Column 2 “Industry/Job Category.” Label Column 3 “ Skill I can Offer.”
- First fill in column 1 with all the words that people would use to describe you. Are you funny, a tweet-a-holic, detail-oriented, very clean and organized?
- Now, open up Craigslist and take a good look at all the different categories listed on the homepage. This is merely for inspiration to help you fill out column 2. Pull out any job categories that interest you and that you think you could qualify for and add them to your list; housing, education, food/bev, general labor…
- Your last step is to use your two lists to generate possible skills you can offer. If your apartment is clean and organized you could help others get their apartments clean and organized as well. If you are a natural tweeter and love attending parties you could hire yourself as a social media event promoter. Let your creative juices flow as you work on filling out column 3.
I Don’t Know How to Promote My Talents
We live in the age of social media and most of you reading this are considered “Millennials” aka the queens of the digital era. You have endless resources at your fingertips to share your message. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Take a picture and share your talents with potential employers via Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram. @brands/people whose attention you want to grab. If they retweet or message you back reach out to them directly and offer up your services.
- Start a blog to showcase your work. WordPress is great for written content while Tumblr is an excellent platform for creative work. Include a link to your blog in your email signature and across your social networks. Add a “Hire Me” page to alert others that you’re looking for work requests.
- Join TaskRabbit and offer to provide your services to locals in your area. The site posts jobs as varied as help with house chores to vacation planning. There’s even a category for helping put up Craigslist posts.
But I Don’t Have Time!
False. You have more time than you think. For 1 week keep a journal of your daily activity. Be 100% honest with yourself. Don’t cheat and “forget” to include the 15 minutes you spent checking Facebook when you first opened up your computer or the 10 minutes when you got sidetracked on Buzzfeed in the afternoon. I used to think that I didn’t have time to spare until I realized that I was spending 1 hour a week grocery shopping and 1 hour at least 4 nights a week preparing meals. I switched to grocery delivery and pre-made meals and freed up 5 hours a week. Here are a few more ideas to help you find time in your schedule:
- Say no to everything that steals your time but does not bring you value. For me it was eliminating my weekly grocery-shopping chore. You might find that you need to cut out TV, say no to your kickball league which you never really liked to begin with, or go out only one night a week.
- Schedule time in your calendar and respect it! Block off time at night and on the weekends to devote to your side hustle. Treat it like you would a real job and don’t let others schedule over it. Be consistent from week to week so that you get in the habit and others learn to respect that time as well.
- Make use of transit time. I can think of no greater time sucker than long commutes. If you take public transportation, use the time to check emails, post to your blog, or complete other digital tasks. If you have the unfortunate luck of having to drive, listen to books on tape or podcasts related to your work to use the time more productively.
- Get up a little earlier or stay up a little later. If you have no other option, bookend your days with a little extra time that you reserve for working on your side hustle.
Ok I Have Skills and I Have Time, Now What?
Get out there and get started! For a leg up, start by checking out these cool sites which offer work for part-time employees.
- CarefulCents: join this club for freelancers to find work
- Airbnb: rent out your apartment or home
- TaskRabbit: complete regular day-to-day errands
- Care.com: find a family in need of a babysitter or nanny
- Tutor.com: provide virtual tutoring
- DogVacay: Get paid to dog sit