11 Benefits of Having a Side Hustle

By Emma Diehl · July 01, 2024 · 8 minute read

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11 Benefits of Having a Side Hustle

Having a side hustle has become increasingly popular. According to one recent study, 54% of Americans said they have taken on a side hustle as a way to supplement their income.

And why not? Everyone likes a little extra cash in their pocket, especially if it’s from an activity they enjoy. Whether a side hustle involves using your tech skills to help people set up their computers or selling photos you take, it can be a great way to build an additional revenue stream.

But beyond the cash, there are other, potentially surprising benefits to having this kind of money-making venture.

What Is a Side Hustle?

A side hustle is a job or work, in addition to full-time employment, that helps boost an individual’s monthly income. It can involve ways to make money from home (say, as an online tutor or writer) as well as a part-time job outside the home.

For instance, maybe you do some pet-sitting when people in your town go on vacation. Or perhaps you have a Sunday gig as a barista. Or maybe you hunt for treasures at local yard sales and resell them on eBay or Etsy. These are just a few examples of side hustles, which can help you earn extra cash that you could use to pay bills or put into a bank account.

The amount Americans earn via a side hustle varies tremendously, as you might expect. Another recent survey of individuals with side hustles found that the average side hustle brings in about $688 a month. However, approximately 46% of people say they earn less than $250 a month from their side. About 19% say they make more than $1,000 a month.

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Having a Side Hustle: 11 Benefits

An obvious benefit of a side hustle is the potential to generate extra cash each month. But on top of earning money, there are additional advantages to taking on extra work outside the typical 9-to-5.

If you’re wondering, “Should I start a side hustle?” read on and explore the unexpected benefits below.

1. Improving Ability to Budget

Having a solid budget is one of the important ways to improve your financial health. But getting that budget in place can be a challenge when money is tight, and it’s a struggle to make ends meet each month.

A side hustle has the potential to bring extra income, creating a little wiggle room in your budget. Creating a realistic budget may be easier with some more padding each month.

2. Developing Skills That Translate to Other Areas

Learning new skills is one of the more unexpected benefits of a side hustle. If a side hustler is starting to drive a ride-share, for instance, they may get a crash course in accounting as they learn to manage this income stream. Or if a side hustler’s gig is working weekends at a local café, they could develop important customer service skills they normally wouldn’t cultivate at their day job.

In other words, taking on an additional work endeavor can help you develop a more robust toolkit for future endeavors.

3. Improving Income and Financial Stability

Most people start side hustles to earn extra cash, and that benefit can’t be overstated. Additional monthly income can help give side hustlers a sense of financial stability. It could translate into less stress when the bills are due or even create a little breathing room to start saving and planning for the future.

With surplus cash in the budget, it may be time to set up a financial plan if you haven’t already. While it may be tempting to have fun spending the extra money, those funds could be put to work to help you build wealth.

4. Building a Stronger Work Ethic

Side hustles can be fun, but they are still a job. Spending more hours working can enhance your work ethic. After all, you are devoting what others might consider leisure time to a pursuit that will uplift your financial health. You should recognize your dedication and bask in the self-confidence boost you get along with the additional cash.

5. Improving Time Management Skills

It may be obvious, but taking on a side hustle means taking on more work hours. That translates into fewer free hours in the day, which means a side hustle can be a crash course in time management skills as well as cash management know-how.

With more responsibilities on your plate, you will likely get much more adept at being on time, meeting deadlines, and knowing how to pack in leisure activities in the time available. These are skills that will serve you well outside your side hustle.

6. Allowing You to Put More Into a Savings Account

Some start side hustles to help pay off outstanding debt or save for an upcoming trip, but earnings can be used to build up savings.

Once immediate financial needs are met, including bills and debt, surplus cash from a side hustle can go into a savings account. Not sure where to park your cash? Consider a high-yield bank account to help build your savings.

7. Allowing You to Better Prepare for an Emergency

One of the benefits of a side hustle is the ability to contribute to an emergency fund. As noted above, once immediate needs are met in a budget, extra cash from a side hustle could go into a savings account or help you grow your emergency cash supply.

A general recommendation is to have at least three to six months’ worth of basic living expenses set aside in an easily accessed account. This gives you a cushion if an unexpected medical or household expense crops us or if you were to lose your job.

8. Allowing You to Pay Debt Quicker

If high-interest debt is eating away at paychecks, money from a side hustle can be a help. Interest from high-interest credit cards can compound, for example, making it harder to pay off as the balance grows. The current average credit card interest rate (as of mid 2024) is 24.62%, which can mean that those carrying a balance may have a challenging time paying debt down. With limited income, it may feel impossible to get on top of that monthly bill.

Using income from a side hustle to pay off debt could lead to paying it off faster or at least relieving some of the pressure.

9. Improving Ability to Reach Financial Goals

Even an extra $100 a month can help side-hustlers as they work to reach financial goals.

For example, if you’re planning a vacation in the next year but don’t have enough in your budget to save for it, you could take on seasonal gig work and put those paychecks towards the vacation. Without it, you might not be able to take the vacation.

Beyond small savings goals, a side hustle can help you work towards bigger financial goals like saving for a downpayment or putting more money into a retirement fund.

10. Allowing You to Expand Your Network

One of the less-discussed benefits of a side hustle is the ability to meet new people and expand your network. Whether a side hustle is related to your day job or is something completely different, you’re bound to meet new people and create new connections.

These connections may lead to many benefits, including more work, new friends, or a new career opportunity.

11. The Opportunity to Do Something You Love

In addition to bringing in more money, a side hustle can also reignite someone’s passion for a hobby or activity.

Because it’s not your primary source of income, you can experiment with turning a personal interest into an income source. If you don’t enjoy your side hustle, it can feel exhausting. But working on something you love might not even feel like work.

For example, a nurse might love quilting in their off time and decide to open an Etsy shop. If they were already using their spare time to quilt for family and friends, now they can keep doing what they love, earn money from home, and make a profit off the sale of their quilts. It’s a win-win! Who knows? Some side hustles even become a person’s main job over time as their network and their skills grow.

The Takeaway

While the biggest benefit of a side hustle is bound to be the extra cash it brings, there are plenty of secondary benefits. From plumping up an emergency fund to meeting new people, a side hustle can be both a key to financial freedom and an avenue for exploration and personal growth.

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Why is a side hustle important?

Having a side hustle can generate more income and help people pursue something they’re passionate about on the side. It also can build skills and open up new networks and opportunities.

Is it worth having a side hustle?

If someone has a side hustle they enjoy and it generates extra income without taking up every last minute of their day, it may be well worth it. However, deciding if a side hustle is worth it is ultimately up to the individual.

How much does the average side hustle make?

The average side hustle brings in about $688 a month, according to one recent survey, though 46% of those with a side hustle report they earn less than $250 monthly. Even so, a couple hundred dollars is a nice sum to help pay off student loans or credit card debt faster, or to put towards a vacation fund.

Photo credit: iStock/visualspace

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