Personal finance bloggers love to hustle
A big focus in the PF community is on creating multiple income streams. Sometimes this takes a passive form, through investing in stocks or real estate, and sometimes it takes a more active form, through side jobs, gigs, or a “hustle.” Many people are able to turn their blogs into income generators. Others work as virtual personal assistants, write content for other blogs, manage social media channels, etc.
While I deeply admire those who seek to pursue side jobs, I’ve come to see that it’s not for me. Since there is so much out there about the where, how and why of side hustles, today I thought I’d present the other side of the argument: why I don’t have a side hustle. That’s right, I work one job and have no plans to change that any time soon.
Multiple jobs = multiple things to focus on
When I was pursing my MBA and working full time, I came to understand how it feels to be focused on too many things at once. When I was at work, I was worried about staying on top of my schoolwork. When I was in class, I was worried about slacking on my work duties. I could never fully focus on one or the other, and I’m sure that both work and school suffered to a degree. I imagine that the same challenge applies to side hustles. Each job takes energy and time, and that is energy and time that you are not devoting to another job (or anything else in your life).
By having one job, I am able to fully dedicate myself to that job. I have one set of responsibilities and one set of deadlines. I am able to devote the time and energy needed to excel at that job, to learn new skills necessary to grow and progress in my career, and to build strong relationships within my industry.
Some people argue that you need a side gig in order to protect yourself from a layoff, economic downturn, etc. I can’t disagree that side gigs are useful in this regard, but I would argue that having one job doesn’t necessarily make you vulnerable. By focusing on only one job, I have gotten to a place where I earn a pretty good salary, so I am able to save during good times so that I can protect myself in the future if bad times arise. I have a built a strong reputation through years of hard work, and I feel confident that if I were to be laid off I would be able to leverage my network and skillset to find something new. Maybe in the future that “something new” could involve freelancing or gigs, but for now, a full-time job is all I want.
Passion projects don’t have to generate money
Just because I have only one paying job doesn’t mean that I don’t spend my time on other projects; it just means that I don’t have to monetize those projects. This blog is a great example. I started it for fun, because I am passionate about personal finance and wanted to share my thoughts with others. Of course I would love if it made money someday, but money is not the reason I do this (if it was, I’d be failing, having generated roughly $1.62 thus far). By not focusing on generating money and instead focusing on having fun, I can avoid burnout and only do what I enjoy.
The same goes for my other hobbies. I love to do crafts, and sometimes I like to give those crafts as gifts, but I’ve yet to try to sell them on Etsy or at a craft fair. I feel like if I tried to mass produce something, it would cease to be fun. In addition to this blog, I volunteer at a local tax help organization to teach low-income people about personal finance. I could do something like that for money, but I get so much more personal satisfaction out of it by volunteering to help those in need.
When the things you do for fun become things you do to earn money, I think they become work. I don’t want to work all the time, and I don’t want to turn fun things into work. I work hard at my job, and enjoy spending the rest of my time the way I want to spend it, regardless of if it generates money.
It’s OK to relax sometimes
I really need to tell myself this from time to time. If you have one job or ten, you can spend all your time working or take the time to relax and enjoy life. I might have a slightly type A personality, making the whole relaxing thing hard enough when I only have one job. I can hardly imagine how hard it would be for me to slow down and rest if I had more than one job to worry about.
Do you have a side hustle? Why or why not?