Side jobs should be diverse for the best impact.
We all know that the best tip for increasing wealth is to spend less than you make, but sometimes it is hard to cut enough expenses to create a meaningful change with your current income. In these cases, starting a side job, or side hustle, can make all the difference.
Once you decide to start side hustling, your hardest decision is going to be where to start. One piece of advice I always encounter is to pick something you love and do that.
While that advice does have merit, that way of thinking is both limiting and potentially destructive.
Sticking with one type of side job is mentally draining.
Maybe I just like to mix things up a bit too much, but picking one type of side job to stick with can be tiresome. Imagine that you are a daycare worker during the day, and do date night sitting on the weekends. While you might be very good at your job and enjoy children, you risk burnout.
One of my favorite side hustles is tutoring, because the hourly rate can be quite impressive. However, what happens when you are a math teacher by day, and a math tutor by night? Burnout and boredom can quickly occur, making your side job mentally draining.
I like to include multiple types of side jobs on my hustling resume, such as pet sitting, watching houses, and teaching dance classes, to prevent boredom and burnout in my own life.
Side jobs that are too similar don’t offer protection.
The wisdom of diversifying your investments applies to side hustles, too. If all your eggs are in one basket, you’re going to be financially devastated when the basket gets dropped or stolen. Likewise, if you depend solely on one place for side income, you may end up disappointed or scrambling.
Use successful bloggers as an example: they do not simply rely on freelance writing positions to make money. From affiliate marketing to sponsored posts, to staff writing and social media management, successful bloggers who make real money on their blogs diversify their income streams to make the biggest impact. This protects them from slow periods where paid writing gigs may not be coming in.
Of course, you don’t want to diversify too much. Doing so can also lead to burn out, or create unnecessary stress. Setting yourself up with two different side jobs can give you protection against slow employment periods, while still helping you to stay sane.
Choosing a side job doing something you love may sap your passion.
This may seem backward, but I highly recommend not tapping solely into your passions to make money.
This example is from my own life: one semester I worked at a few colleges, teaching English. Because I love reading and writing, this job was exciting to me. I decided to tap into my passion to make more money, and started picking up tutoring students. I also worked on my blog, did freelance writing for others, and graded curriculum-wide writing examinations.
What ended up happening was that I would talk about writing for 20 hours a week, read and grade the writing of others for more than 10 hours each week, sometimes as long as 7 hours straight on the weekends, met with three or four tutoring students each week at all hours, which interrupted my home time, and generally spent each night before bed doing research and writing for my own clients. On top of this, I was working on my own scholarly work when I had free time, which required extensive reading and revision.
I am not afraid to be busy, and the hustle and bustle of that semester definitely encouraged me to be smart about the side jobs I chose. That semester also taught me something important: doing one thing for hours every day can suck the passion right out of it.
When summer came that year, I was relieved. I needed time to relax. I still love reading and writing, but I decided to limit the amount of writing-focused work I did so that I wouldn’t experience burnout. Now I am content with working my full-time job and writing for my own pleasure and blog clients, but no longer take on excessive amounts of tutoring or extra grading work.
Side jobs can be as complicated or as simple as you make them, but they should be diverse. Choosing a variety of side jobs, even from just two industries, can help you find a creative outlet while preventing burnout. Just make sure you have a clear idea about time management while you work, because a poorly managed side hustle can be just as detrimental as non-diversified side jobs.
What are your tips for diversifying side jobs? Did you ever find yourself burnt out from too much of the same thing?