Do you want to know if a side hustle is right for you?  Well, I’ll definitely give you my opinion!  If you’ve read my other posts, you’ve probably guessed that Nav.it is my side hustle.  At Nav.it, I help with subject research, market research, the creative development of programs, editing, and now, blogging!:)  

Benefits

Since Nav.it is a start up, they benefit from having a freelance contributor with a fresh perspective, and I benefit in all the ways listed below:

The extra cash.

The most obvious benefit of the side hustle is earning extra money. Finding financial stability the first few years after graduating can be difficult, even with a full-time job. A side hustle can help! It certainly isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, but it can be a way to achieve financial peace of mind.  Personally, I’ve committed to sending all of my side-gig money to my savings account. It’s been an easy way for me to save and maintain good financial habits without pinching pennies!

It enhances your professional portfolio.

Since moving to Seattle, I’ve changed jobs three times, but I’ve had the same steady side hustle working for Nav.it the entire time. It may seem counterintuitive, but having a long-term side hustle demonstrates to future employers your ability to commit to a job long term.  It also provides a safety net of income when you find yourself between full time work.  Having a gig that you are excited about and committed to looks good on your resume and is a great topic of conversation during interviews.

It’s damn IN-powering.

The hustle is confidence boosting. I love telling people about my second job and feeling ownership in my ability to generate income!

It structures your time.

It’s so easy to come home from a long work day and veg on the couch watching Netflix.  And as much as I love a good Netflix binge—having a side hustle has helped me stay organized and focused in other areas of my life.  Most importantly, it has made me mindful of how I choose to spend my limited free time—so scheduled fun is actually really fun.

You can (usually) work in your sweatpants.

Enough said!

Making it work for you

A side hustle may or may not be right for you.  I’ve found it to be an amazing addition to my life, but others may be stressed by extra work or may not find a good side hustle fit.  Here are some ideas to look for in a side hustle:

Pick a side hustle you enjoy!

We all have limited time.  If you work a full-time job and then have to come home to (or run to) a side hustle you don’t enjoy, you will burn out quickly. I am genuinely excited about the work I do for Nav.it.  I find it energizing and in-powering.  Need ideas about a side hustle that is right for you?  Follow links here, here, and here for ideas that fit your interests and talents.

Pick a hustle that helps you grow professionally.

I must admit, I never thought I would be writing about personal finances. But I do love writing, and providing unsolicited advice seems to be one of my many talents:), so Nav.it is a great fit for me! A long-term professional goal of mine is to be my own boss. My side hustle has given me a first-hand look at the ins and outs of growing a viable startup, and I have a forward thinking, entrepreneurial, female business mentor in my boss. (cue Erin starting to happy cry)

(If possible) set boundaries for yourself at your day job.

I know first-hand that this isn’t always possible, however, if you are lucky enough to have a job that you can leave at the office, leave it! For most jobs, work is a continuous flow, so if possible, at the end of your work day, do like Elsa in Frozen and let it gooooo!  A lot of people these days harp on the fact you are a better employee if you have a work-life balance.  Taking some time to recharge your batteries (I’m back on that structured-time thing again) allows you to enjoy your side hustle and your day job.

 Flexibility is key.

A side hustle should be consistent but flexible, if possible.  Since you are likely committed to a 40-hour-a-week job, you will need to work your side hustle into your off hours.  Some nights you may want to punch out some side hustle deadlines after work, and other times it may need to wait for some solid weekend time.  Make sure you pick a side hustle that doesn’t hustle you.

Conclusion

My side hustle has completely reshaped the way that I think about my career. My identity and self-worth aren’t wholly tied up in my 9-5 job. I am looking within myself to find what I want out of the jobs I take, not what they want from me.  I am building a career that is well-rounded and allows me to use and develop talents that I sometimes don’t get to use in my day job. Managing a full-time job, a side hustle, and a busy social life gives me a tremendous boost of confidence. I feel independent, savvy, and in control of my personal financial goals.

If I can do it, you can too!