The Side Hustle or How You Can Finally Quit Your Job

Working for other people sucks. There’s my big enlightening theme for this post. That’s pretty much the jist of it. It sucks. Now before all they technicality whiners come out of the woodwork, yes, you always, kind of, work for other people.

But what I’m talking about is what 99% of us do. The morning shower and commute, the clock-in and quick cup of coffee, the dragging of the day, the short refuge of the lunch hour, the seconds ticking slower with each hour, the happy escape, and the big plans for your free time that come to nothing as you find you have to almost do nothing to wind down and recoup from your day.

We all hate it, but we see the only way out of the rat race is getting further into it. Getting a better paying, more demanding job, working longer hours, driving longer commutes. All to bank any penny that’s left over at the end of the month to put in that giant piggy bank in the sky that you’ll cash in when you retire. Then, you can actually enjoy yourself. You can actually do what you want to.  Nonsense.

This line of thought is understandable. It’s safe to tell ourselves that we don’t have any control over our own fate, how we spend our days, how much time we have to pursue our passions and goals. But the truth is scary. The truth is we all do something on a daily basis that we could probably be doing as a side business and getting paid better for our time. What’s the secret thing that we all do that’s going to let your quit your job and sip margaritas on the beach? I don’t know, if you find out, please let me know.

What I know is this: almost anything can be turned into a side hustle. What’s a side hustle? It’s just a…thing…that you do on the side to make yourself a little bit of extra money that can be turned into from a side hustle into a side business and then possibly even turn you into self-employed.

We can see from my previous post that even fry cooks aren’t getting a break in this job market and don’t expect it to change anytime soon. The good part of this and the ensuing collapse of the fallacy of “safe” jobs since the Great Recession hit in 2008 is that people realized there is no security in working for someone else, on their dime or on their time. People are starting small businesses again, making things, brewing things (hopefully legally and not in trailers), they’re crafting things, learning trades again and selling their wares. You can pick out a dozen examples in any major city in the country, even in Detroit…especially in Detroit, because it’s when things are at their most dire, that people become their most inventive and resourceful.

What does this mean for us?

It means the playing field is really open and really level right now, thanks to the internet. Working for yourself, even if it makes you $20 extra a month, is life-changing. When you make that first buck, a switch gets flicked in your brain and you realize how much you have to offer and can be compensated for in the world. And I think working for yourself, even if it’s only a little bit here and there, puts you on a path to a stabler and more secure life. I think that’s important to living simple, that you have your own peace of mind to think about and that you are trying, in some small way, to fulfill your potential.

There’s two main categories for your side hustle: products or services.

That’s not too mind-blowing, that’s pretty much describes all businesses. What does it mean for you? It means either you make something or you do something. What can you make? I don’t know, what can you make? Do you like making art? Do you paint? Sell it online. Do you like taking pictures? Take pictures for friends and set up a facebook page for free for a photography business. If it involves some time and precision to make, someone will pay you for it on the internet. Period. I don’t care how out there your stuff is, there’s a market for it.

What if you’re not a “maker”? Do you write? Start a blog. Work with computers? Start consulting; how to use Word, Excel, etc. Whatever it is you do at work for your company, you could probably take that and do it on the side for more money. What if you don’t like what you do at work? Great, then don’t do that. What do you like to do? How do you want to spend your life? Working when someone else says, doing what someone else wants, being paid what someone else feels your time and abilities are worth?

I want to see the corporate jobs that everyone fights tooth and nail over become the last vestige of people out of luck in their own businesses. I want to see companies begging for people to come work in their cubicles and on their factory lines, but no one will be applying because we figured out they were putting the leashes around our necks and not helping to contribute to the fictitious dreamland of relaxation and free time that’s supposed to appear after you turn 65.

Start a list, 5 things you can make, 5 things you can do.

Start whittling it down to what you excel at the most or enjoy the most, if that’s the same thing, all the better. Brainstorm how can you do that thing for $20 extra a month, then in 6 months down the road, for $200 extra a month. A side hustle can quickly turn into a side business. If you don’t believe me, ask most small business owners. They’ll tell you they didn’t take out a loan for $50,000 to start a cookie company, they started selling bags for $20 to neighbors, to friends, then came the Etsy page, then came the dedicated website, then came the tiny storefront just off Main st., then came the IPO.  That’s how they did it.  Slowly and on the side.

So start hustlin’, hustlers.

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