Millennial Money: Should You Have a Side Hustle?

Do you work full-time, but you’re thinking of starting up a side hustle? You’re not alone. Research shows that 64 percent of millennials currently work a side hustle or have done so in the past. And millennials out-earn other age brackets when working their side hustle, pulling in nearly $11,000 per year.

A side hustle is one of the best ways to accelerate your earnings and reach your financial goals. If you’re considering starting up a side gig, here are some questions to ask as you sort through your options.

What Would You Do with the Extra Money?

If you’re thinking about a side hustle, you probably have certain financial goals you’re hoping to achieve with that income. Make sure you have a plan for how to use the money before it starts hitting your bank account.

Maybe you want to use side hustle income to fund your discretionary spending. If so, that’s a great incentive that will motivate you to earn more! Consider using our Budget Calculator to see how side gig income could make your budget more manageable.

But you might have other goals, such as paying off debt, covering living costs, saving for a car, or even building up funds to make a down payment on your first home.

Whatever you pursue, your financial goals will help dictate what you need out of a side gig and where to allocate the extra income.

Find out how to fund your financial future.

How Would a Side Hustle Fit into Your Current Schedule?

How do you plan to give your side hustle sufficient time and energy to get it off the ground? Are you available to work on it on nights and weekends? Do you have free time in the middle of the day based on your current work schedule?

Make sure you address the practical considerations of seeking out a side hustle. You need to be able to make time in your schedule without infringing upon other sources of income and/or other responsibilities in your life. 

That may rule out certain types of side gigs, but it may make others very attractive to address your financial needs. For example, tutoring or driving for a ride-share company could be great evening gigs, whereas dog-walking is more likely to be needed during 9-to-5 working hours. 

Is There a Side Hustle That Aligns with One of Your Passions?

Need extra money, but don’t want to work extra? Pick a side hustle that offers a little exposure to something you love. 

If you have a decent camera and an eye for photography, shadowing or second-shooting for a local photographer can be a great way to gain experience and build your portfolio. If you love kids, working as a babysitter, nanny, or after-school program assistant could be a fun way to earn extra cash. Or if you enjoy driving around and listening to music, you might enjoy driving for Uber or Lyft.

How Long Do You Anticipate Doing Your Side Hustle?

Are you looking for a short-term influx of cash or a sustained source of income? A side hustle can offer both, but you’ll want to have a clear understanding of how long you plan to commit to this work.

This decision likely depends on your current financial situation and whether you plan on things changing in the future. Some people pick up side hustles for the sole purpose of paying off outstanding debts, whereas others may choose to use a side hustle to cover employment gaps. 

If you’re primarily picking up a side hustle to pay off debt, check out our Debt Payoff Calculator to see how quickly that extra income could help you become debt-free.

Do You Have Other Possible Income Sources Outside of a Side Hustle?

If you’re still on the fence about doing extra work on the side, it’s worth exploring alternatives that could increase your income without taking on a side hustle. 

One step is to decide whether you’re comfortable asking for a raise from your current employer. If you’ve been working at the same pay rate for a while and have a good recent track record with the company, you might be in line for a higher wage.

You can also explore whether your employer offers overtime or extra work during high-volume seasons. Or if you’d prefer something with a little more structure, you could consider taking on a second job that would provide a reliable work schedule and a consistent paycheck. 

A side hustle isn’t right for everyone, but it can be a very useful source of income that you can build as much or as little as you need. At the very least, it’s worth exploring how a side hustle could help you reach your financial goals even sooner!

Pave your path to financial success with Gen Z's Guide to Personal Finance: Create Confidence in Your Financial Future. Download Now.

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