By Lee Sherman
The global pandemic has hastened the end of the 9 to 5 routine. Many people, having discovered the benefits of working from home, have decided never to return to the office. So, while your 9 to 5 job might still pay the bills, the hours you save by not commuting might afford you the opportunity to consider a side hustle. Yes, it’s true, time is money.
Side hustles vary, depending on your skills, you could use the extra time to become a freelance writer, a consultant who bills by the hour, an affiliate marketer, a gig worker, an Insta influencer, or even a champion esports player. Sometimes a side hustle can even turn into full time employment. Don’t expect your side hustle to be lucrative right from the jump. A side hustle is like starting any other business. You’ll have to be selling something of value. And here’s the hard part, not everyone is suited to the sales and marketing required to find and maintain clients.
Born salesman or not, a side hustle can lead to financial independence if only because it can provide you with extra income that can be used for investing purposes. Depending on what service you’re offering, you may be able to earn as much as a few thousand dollars a month in disposable income that is not tied to existing expenses. Your financial advisor can help you decide what to do with that money. You may have some freedom to speculate outside of your existing financial plan. If you’re saving for a big purchase such as a home, a car, or retirement, you should make sure you are still contributing to it. But, as long as you do, most financial planners won’t look askance at an additional investment in an individual stock or even something as speculative as an NFT or crypto currency.
While your financial advisor is not likely to advocate gambling and is probably going to be conservative and recommend a diversified portfolio (stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and real-estate), many will see your side hustle as an opportunity to speculate and you should too.
While it remains true that nine out of ten new businesses fail, a side hustle is different in some significant respects from the average startup. Overhead is low. For one thing, you will most likely be the only employee (at least for some significant portion of time). If you are already working from home, you probably already got the basic expenses covered (a strong internet connection, computer with a decent webcam, office furniture, etc.). Your healthcare is likely already covered by your existing employer too. Because this is not going to be your major source of income, stress levels should be low, and you should be able to gradually build up the business over time, in the hopes of having it one day become your only source of employment.
If you’ve been dreaming of financial independence, becoming your own boss, or just having more time at home to spend time with the family, a side hustle may be the way to go. The internet and the availability of technology that lets you do things such as drop shipping, 3D printing, publishing, and broadcasting for little in the way of initial investment have made it possible for literally anyone to start your own small business on the side.
You may not get rich from your new enterprise, but it will help you to develop new skills, establish a personal brand, and turn your hobby into a business (maybe even a lucrative one).
Lee Sherman contributes to MyPerfectFinancialAdvisor, the premier matchmaker between investors and advisors. Lee is an experienced journalist and editor with over 30 years of expertise with a significant history of writing in the personal finance and technology arenas.