My first job after graduating college was in a small commercial finance branch. I was mainly tasked with selling personal loans and auto loans, and collecting on past due accounts. This involved peddling up to 36% interest rate loans, and knocking on doors at the end of the month trying to collect on past due payments. I absolutely hated it.
The one thing that kept me sane however, as I looked for a new job, were my side hustles.
As I worked at my full-time job which I hated, I envisioned and planned activities for my side hustles which I would work on at lunch, or in the evenings. I wrote freelance articles, I sold used textbooks online. I created software for a real estate development company, I did portrait photography. I started a local lawn care business, I tried to start a dog poop picker upper business, and I started blogging.
At first, none of these activities made me much money, but the point was not so much to make a lot of money as it was to invest in activities that had future growth potential.
As I envisioned what my life would be like working anywhere else except as a loan shark, these side hustles helped shape that vision. They gave me something to look forward to, and they helped me plan my career and set goals for myself.
How to Find a Side Hustle
Finding a side hustle is easy. In fact, it is much more difficult to find the time to work on a side hustle than it is to decide what you will actually do. The initial objective of a side hustle however, is not to find the one idea that will lead you to creating the next Google, but rather to pour your extra energy into an activity which is worthwhile, and has future growth potential.
For example, my first side hustle was selling used textbooks online. When I graduated from college, I got my first job and rented a place in the same city. Used textbooks were still extremely easy to come by. I would go around at the end of every semester and scoop up used textbooks that students could not sell back to the on campus bookstore. They were happy to get a little bit of money for them, and then I would turn around and sell them online through Amazon, EBAY, and a few other online retailers. This business was scalable because there were always more textbooks that I could sell, if I had more time and could talk to more students.
My side hustle originated because of my proximity to a product source (I lived close to campus), my familiarity with the market (I knew that students had trouble selling used textbooks back to the bookstore), and my willingness to hustle (I hung out at the textbooks sell-back trailers and talked to students after work).
Anyone could have done what I did.
You don’t need a novel idea to start your side hustle, all you need is the willingness to put yourself out there and start doing something.
Side Hustles Lead to Big Results
With my side hustles, and those that I have seen among my close friends, they have always led to bigger and better things.
You may eventually find an idea that resonates with people and begin making a substantial amount of money at your side hustle. You may pursue a side hustle like writing, which could be very complimentary to your full-time career. This could gain you clout in your profession and help progress your career.
You may also meet new people through your side hustle that you were never able to meet before, and make business or career connections that could lead to new jobs or increased sources of revenue.
You could create a new work ethic which allows you to work harder, smarter and more efficiently.
You will also create big hopes and dreams for your future as you burn the midnight oil in pursuit of your desired future.
It’s not easy, but it is well worth it!
Share your side hustle? Do you think it’s worth it?
DJ works in financial services at a large public university. He lives in the Southeast with his wife and young daughter.