Surveys of the general public frequently suggest that around half of UK workers are unhappy and unfulfilled in their work. The 'side-hustle' can be a route towards changing career direction, earning income from your passions and a way to explore more aspects of ourselves, our talents and our creativity.
As this article for Forbes highlights, the side-hustle: "doesn’t necessarily have to be a complete side-business, or even make that much money. A side hustle is all about your personal growth, development and entrepreneurial creativity.
"Think about what you would supplement your current work with if you had the chance. Maybe you want to start a podcast related to your business, write a personal blog, or sell crafts on Etsy. Whatever your side-hustle may be, it’s all about finding your passion and following it through - without the major commitment of leaving your current work or investing all of your time into something you’re not certain of."
Benefits of the side-hustle can also include the adding to your savings and developing your skills and experience.
For LinkedIn blogger Jason Millier, the side-hustle is important even if you enjoy your work, because “Any human being is multi-dimensional. It’s their unique combination of different passions that makes them who they are, not one overriding interest. We’re not all obsessive artists tunnel-focused on one thing in life. We’re complex, nuanced people with different priorities, needs and aspects of ourselves to explore”.
According to Jason, your day job can become frustrating if it obscures a lot of other things about you. He suggests that the best way to explore all you can be as a person isn’t to ditch one job for another in a desperate search for one that makes your dreams come true. It’s to explore the different aspects of yourself through the art of the side-hustle. “Find a day job that you love, then find other things to work on that you love as well. It will make you much happier – and it’s likely to increase the value that you can bring to the business that pays your salary”.
His advice is as follows:
Work for people who respect your whole self
The marketing pioneer, Seth Godin, encourages people to run from any workplace that wants to make you into a replaceable cog in a machine; any employer who’s not interested in who you really are. To be an effective side-hustler, you need the right mainstream hustle.
Then find a side-hustle you are genuinely passionate about
Your side-hustle is there to help you find more meaning in your professional life – to explore aspects of you that aren’t as relevant to your mainstream job but are still important to you. That should make it a deeply personal choice. Don’t just pick up on the latest idea floating by in the zeitgeist.
Be prepared to work for free to gain exposure
As a side-hustler, embrace the freedom that comes from being able to work for free. Recognise that money isn’t the only currency worth exchanging your time for; you’re able to do work solely because that work means something to you.
Don’t forget the ‘side’ part – respect the day job
A side-hustle may involve commitment, but that commitment has to take place on the side. You can’t afford to let it compromise the time and motivation that your main source of income has a right to expect from you.
Find the value on both sides of the hustle
Treating your side-hustle as a business (even if it’s a business where little money changes hands) brings insights to the surface that can add value to your day job. You’re taking passion and creativity and translating this into opportunity and achievement.
Taking a step into the unknown with the side-hustle or seeking out a new career can seem daunting; life or career coaching can help with prioritising what's most important, identifying any blocks, and setting clear goals for the future. Or find inspiration in a workshop setting, such as those run by The School of Life in London - with regular events on topics such as 'How to Identify Your Career Potential', 'Finding A Fulfilling Job' and 'How to be Confident'.
For those who are currently unhappy at work, it’s also worth considering if there are steps you can take to ignite a new sense of purpose and enthusiasm, rather than leaving in the belief that the grass will be greener elsewhere. This article by CNBC highlights some suggestions on ways to combat disengagement, such as seeking out a range of different opportunities within the organisation, coming up with new solutions to any challenges you’re experiencing, and looking at how you’re prioritising work alongside your personal life and health.