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It seems we live in the era of the side hustle. Everywhere you look there are articles and advertisements for ways to make more money outside of your day job. The idea of the side job has been romanticized as the hard-working entrepreneurial spirit where dreamers go to make their dreams come true while being supported by their “daily job.” It’s the person who works evenings and weekends on a makeover in hopes of making a profit on their first flip. It’s the savvy thrifty shopper with an eye for rough diamonds that they can polish and sell for a profit. The media has sensationalized this type of sideline through numerous television programs such as: American pickers, Flip or flop and Storage Wars.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make a little extra money, or even better, trying to start your own dream business or career side by side. However, the circumstances surrounding the American side hustle craze are alarming. Side jobs are overwhelmingly not rooted in someone pursuing their passions or dreams or saving up for an extra luxury, like a vacation. Instead, American sidelines are a phenomenon because Americans simply don’t make enough money from their primary job to pay their bills. In other words, side hustles are due to too many companies not paying a living wage.
Related: 9 Lessons From 9 Years In The Sideways Trenches
The slippery slope of side hustling
A recent survey from finder.com reveals that: almost 70% of Americans need more money and cannot make ends meet from their primary job. Another study shows that 41% of scammers depending on their secondary income to cover the monthly bills. This is anything but the American Dream. This is the American scam.
We live and die on the almighty dollar in this country, and the crowds are doubling this toxic addiction. From an early age, we are taught, or rather trained, that we must “get a job” to be responsible, self-sufficient adults in society. Many are convinced by their parents and teachers that their dreams are unrealistic and that they should focus on finding a good, well-paying job with benefits. We take on huge debts to fund an education that will get us the highest paying job, then we spend most of our day away from our family and loved ones paying off that debt with a job that leaves us unfulfilled. the end of the day.
Now we’re being told that one unfilled job isn’t enough to earn the money we need to be responsible, self-sufficient members of society, and let’s face it, loyal consumers. Now we have to find a second job, a ‘side job’, to earn more money to make ends meet. Now we need to spend more time away from our family and loved ones and even less time for the things we are passionate about and really enjoy. Money is all that matters. Money and more money.
Related: How to Effectively Start a Side Job While Having a Full-Time Job
How do you avoid that slippery slope?
However, money does not make a happy person. Feeling a sense of purpose, having good relationships, being fully involved in what you are doing and achieving performance. The key is to find your purpose. Once you do, following your goal will lead to those positive relationships, engagement, achievements, and positive emotions that lead to a fulfilling life. If you want to avoid the slippery path of side hustling, if you want to avoid waking up with multiple unfilled jobs to make ends meet, follow these steps:
1. Discover your life purpose: There is nothing more important in life than knowing your purpose. It is also the thing that will bring you the most joy and personal fulfillment. Without knowing your purpose, you have no direction and you don’t know the right way in life. Your ‘side job’, your dream job in the making, should ultimately fulfill your life purpose.
2. Follow Your Creativity, Not Money: Creativity is defined as the ability to produce unique ideas of value. Everyone is creative because they see the world through their own unique lens and perspective. Your creativity is something only you can produce (no one else has your ideas), so it acts as the gateway to fulfilling your life purpose. Understanding how creative you are will help you determine what value you can add to this world through your busyness.
3. Budget Ahead, Not Backwards: Let’s face it, most people have a hard time making ends meet because they budget backwards. Instead of looking at their income first, they instead look at the cost of rent, their car, food, etc. They spend before they save. The right way to budget is to start with what you earn each month. Then the first thing to do is allocate a certain amount of savings and a budget to invest in growing your side job (i.e. the “side job” you really want to become your full-time job). Once you’ve done that, you see how much you have left for the essentials of life — food, shelter, clothing, transportation — and you force yourself to live within those resources, leading to the next step.
4. Be Willing To Make Sacrifices: The reality is that money can be very tight in the beginning. For example, you may only have enough to rent out a room instead of an entire apartment. In the beginning, it may be necessary to sacrifice your personal comfort to invest in the growth of your dream business. Remind yourself of your goal. Is it to acquire a life of material things (which will not make you happy in the long run)? Or is it to live a fulfilling life?
There are many positives to starting a side business. But as you can see, there is also a dark side to it. By discovering your life purpose, following your creativity, budgeting appropriately, and being willing to make some sacrifices, you can avoid this slippery slope.
Related: 3 Lies Side Hustle Culture Makes You Believe