Do I Need a Side Hustle? Explore the Pros and Cons

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Many people have side hustles these days for a variety of reasons. Some dabble in gig work simply to earn extra money, while others use their side job to explore a hobby they’re passionate about. 

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Those without side hustles may find themselves wondering if they should get one. While side gigs may not be a full-time line of work, they’re still a commitment and should be taken seriously. If you’re thinking about your finances and wondering if you need a side hustle, take the following pros and cons into consideration.

Pro: Exploring Your Interests

If you work full-time but not in a field you are passionate about, having a side hustle gives you the opportunity to pursue something you naturally enjoy. Additionally, some individuals start side gigs to find their true purpose, like exploring a niche where you can become a thought leader, or launching a unique idea which later becomes a business.

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Con: Time Consuming

Side hustles require a great investment of your time and energy, even if you’re working for personal interest more than necessity. For example, if you decide to drive for Uber you might find yourself driving further distances or picking up more rides than anticipated. Or, if you work as a freelance writer and have several clients, they may require you to make revisions you will need to allocate extra time for to ensure you can make these edits.

Ask yourself if you have enough time to dedicate to a side hustle on a weekly, or even daily, basis. Once you know how much time you can set aside, you’ll be able to manage it to focus on the gig and establish your boundaries. This keeps you from overworking and potentially burning out. If you’re already limited on time and know a side hustle would stretch you too thin, you may decide not to take it on.

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Pro: Extra Income

This goes without saying, but you do get paid for working a side job! The amount of extra income you can make depends on the hustle and the type of work you do — along with several other factors. Regardless, though, having more money is nice.

Con: Paying Self-Employment Taxes

The money you earn from a side hustle, especially if you earn a lot, isn’t entirely yours to keep. Those who earn at least $400 from a side hustle must pay self-employment taxes on these earnings.

While it is possible to reduce your tax burden by paying estimated taxes on a quarterly basis, it is recommended by most experts to set aside at least 20% to 35% of your side hustle income for tax purposes.

Pro: Builds Confidence

As you make strides forward in your side gig, you’ll naturally become more confident. You can talk about your hustle among friends and family, network with those in your industry to further develop your brand, and feel proud of the milestones and achievements you have reached.

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In time, especially for side hustles that start off as ideas, you may even be able to turn them into a thriving full-time business.

Con: Added Stress

Working a side hustle, in addition to a full-time job, can be incredibly stressful — especially if you have other outstanding obligations to family and friends. If the side gig is a new idea you’re hoping to launch into a business, it can be additionally stressful to work to turn a profit.

While there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution to reducing side hustle stress, it can be helpful to talk with loved ones or a mentor for additional guidance. These individuals may be able to help you achieve a work-life balance or help you find resources where you can receive support from people who were once in your shoes and succeeded.

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About the Author

Heather Taylor is a senior finance writer for GOBankingRates. She is also the head writer and brand mascot enthusiast for PopIcon, Advertising Week’s blog dedicated to brand mascots. She has been published on HelloGiggles, Business Insider, The Story Exchange, Brit + Co, Thrive Global, and more media outlets. 

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