Is a side hustle worth it?

Many people are trying to figure out how to supplement their income, so they start a part time contract job or become a small-time entrepreneur. You often hear some of these people on social media talk about how they are earning extra money in a few hours a day or creating passive income. It’s great that people are figuring out how to make extra money and improve their quality of life. 

Is a side hustle worth it though? I think the answer to this depends on each individual and the side hustle. Let’s look at a few examples.

Beth the Dental Assistant:

Beth is single and works at a dental office in a large city. She is a dental assistant but also works reception when the front desk is busy. Rent in the city is so expensive she had to move to a suburb and commute to her job each day. Public transportation is inconvenient for her location and work times. She drives in, 20 miles each day, which translates to 30 minutes to an hour and a half or more, each way depending on traffic. Her job is busy and she is on her feet all day. During her breaks she listens to music and catches up with friends and family through texts and social media. When she gets home, she starts dinner, a load of laundry and does some light cleaning. By the time she is finished, it’s usually between 8:00 and 8:30  in the evening and she is exhausted. She has to be in bed by 9:00 and the only down time she has during the day is her two fifteen minute breaks and a thirty minute lunch, which she usually spends with co-workers. A typical day for Beth is 13 to 14 hours.  In Beth’s case, it’s probably not a good idea for her to start a side hustle.

David in Retail

David is single and lives in a large suburb in a mixed-use commercial and residential neighborhood. His apartment is on the third floor of the complex and he works full time at a supermarket on the ground floor. His commute is two flights of stairs, (or a short elevator ride). He works 8:00 am to 5:00 pm with two fifteen-minute breaks and an hour lunch. He spends one day each weekend with his friends and the other with his family in the next city over.  He exercises weekdays in the morning at a gym that is available as part of the amenities in his rent agreement. David wakes up at 6:30 each morning, goes to the gym, spends his lunch break in his apartment where he made his lunch and watches tv or plays video games. David’s apartment is small so it takes practically no time to clean up. After work he cooks dinner and cleans up. He is finished by 6:00 pm. He has three hours of free time before bedtime. A side hustle may be a good idea for David, if he needs the extra money.

How do you know if a side hustle is for you?

Unfortunately, there is no formula to determine if you should start a side hustle. In general, we should take care of ourselves and that includes our mental, emotional, spiritual, health and financial needs. So how do you know if a side hustle is right for you? Here are a few things to consider

If any of the below apply to you, it’s probably not a good idea to start a side hustle.

If you:

  • are a single parent
  • are a full time college student with a full or part time job
  • are an introvert who must be extroverted at work
  • are working more than 8 hours a day
  • commute more than 30 minutes a day
  • are suffering from any form of untreated stress induced anxiety or depression
  • aren’t sleeping well
  • are a caretaker for a friend or family member
  • are required to spend money you don’t have

If most of the below apply to you, you might consider a side hustle:


  • you are single and not taking care of another living being (human or animal)
  • you have three or more hours a day of spare time, after you have taken care of your household responsibilities, your mental health and your body.
  • your side hustle doesn’t cost you more than you will make
  • you are not a full or part time student with a full or part time job.
  • you are sleeping well and wake up feeling ready to seize the day.
  • you are not melting into the sofa or bed after work due to exhaustion
  • you need extra money or want to use your spare time making extra money

There are probably more points to add to this list, but this will get you started. Think of your unique situation and determine if you should or could start a side hustle based on your current emotional, mental, health and financial state.

If a side hustle is not for you, but you still need more money, consider asking for a raise or looking for a job that pays more money. Sometimes a side hustle is not another job, delivering groceries or fast food or online marketing. Sometimes it is investing in yourself through education or certifications to secure better pay and make yourself stand out.

Check out my other blog posts.

Career Selection: What to do when you don't know what you want to do

Becoming a Top Performer at Work

Interviewing: Being Yout Authentic Self

Burnout: My Story and Suggestions for Prevention

What is a Lateral Move?


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