Why You Should Embrace Side Hustles

By: Keith Wagstaff · March 28, 2024 · Reading Time: 4 minutes

Doing Your Own Thing

The challenge of rolling up your sleeves and building a side hustle can be intimidating. But for some people, like the very popular TikTok and Instagram creator Corporate Natalie, it’s worth the effort.

“I am very pro side hustle,” Natalie told Brian Walsh, SoFi’s Head of Advice and Planning, and Vivian Tu, the ex-Wall Street trader turned financial literacy advocate known as Your Rich BFF. “I think everyone is doing it and if you’re not doing it, maybe you’re a little behind right now.”

Speaking on SoFi’s YouTube series Richer Lives , Natalie broke down who should consider a side hustle.

“If you’re not content with how much you are making, where you are in life, and there is no option in your traditional career path” to advance the way you want, starting a side hustle can be a great way to generate extra income, she said.

After graduating from the University of Notre Dame, Natalie started her professional career as a consultant. During the pandemic, when everyone was seeking ways to entertain themselves, she started poking fun at corporate culture on TikTok. That side hustle led her to leave her corporate job to become Corporate Natalie.

Even if your side hustle doesn’t become a career, the money you earn can give you a cushion if you want to switch jobs, retire early, or pay off debt.

Build Your Brand

Whether you’re selling pillows on Etsy (ETSY) or walking dogs for cash, you’re going to need customers. And these days, attracting consumers often means building an audience on social media. Corporate Natalie has more than 1.5 million combined followers on TikTok and Instagram.

What’s her secret? She’s having a blast. “It should be easy” to post on social media, she said. “You should have a ton to say. It should be fun. You should be wanting to post every day.”

If TikTok and Instagram aren’t your cup of tea, there are other ways to build a personal brand, Tu pointed out, like posting regularly on LinkedIn or networking with professionals in your industry. Ultimately, the goal is for people to know your name and what you bring to the table.

Building a brand “supercharges your network,” Tu said. “That means you can be in two places at once, because there are people who are going to be mentioning your name in rooms that you can’t get into.”

What to Do With That Extra Cash

Imagine your side hustle takes off. The cash is flowing in. Now what? Don’t assume the good days will never end.

“Lifestyle creep is probably the biggest risk to someone’s financial future,” Walsh said. “It’s really about what you do with that additional income.”

Corporate Natalie knows a thing or two about that too. “I have a team of financial advisors, I have a bookkeeper, I have a team that does my taxes, and that’s an important investment to me because I would be losing money if I didn’t put it in the hands of someone who knows what they’re doing.”

That’s why it’s best to stay disciplined and save “as much of that additional income as possible,” Walsh said, and figure out how you want to use these savings, be it funding retirement, get out of debt, or whatever it means to you to be financially free.

After that, you can build a plan, possibly with the help of a financial advisor, and then calculate how much you need to make and save to make your dream a reality.

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