People who keep personal finance top-of-mind are quick to tout the benefits of taking on a side hustle—a secondary job or stream of income to help you accomplish your financial goals. A side hustle will certainly help you pay off debt or save for a big purchase more quickly, but it's a big life change and it's not for everyone.
Some examples of side hustles:
- Babysitting or pet sitting
- Driving for Uber or Lyft
- Selling something handmade on Etsy
- Refurbishing and re-selling furniture
- Freelance writing or running a blog
- Bartending or serving at a restaurant
Here are a handful of signs that a side hustle might not be for you – and that's OK.
You Work Long Hours
The first thing about taking on a second job is that you have to make time for that second job, working late nights or on weekends to get it done. And then, even if you have time before or after your normal workday, ask yourself if those hours are your most productive times. Depending on your side gig, you might need to be sharp and focused to get it done well.
You Don't Have the Space for It
A gig like refurbishing vintage furniture requires a bit of a footprint to get going. But even something as simple as freelance writing might be tougher than you think if you don't have a comfortable place to get it done. But good news: Working a workspace into a tiny apartment is doable, if you want it.
You're Not Prepared to File Taxes
Yep, Uncle Sam gets a cut of your side hustle income, too (potentially at a higher rate than your full-time job). I won't pretend to be an accountant, so I'll just leave you with this: Before you start raking in big bucks with a second job, seek out a tax pro to help you discover if your job expenses are deductible and to make sure you're paying enough taxes throughout the year.
Your Side Hustle Won't Help You Grow
The right side hustle can help you grow in your career—giving you a chance to take on new projects and learn fresh skills that might help make you more marketable as a full-time employee in the future. But the wrong side hustle, while lucrative, might just be a source of stress for you if you're only in it for the money. Speaking of which...
You're Not Motivated by Money
I kicked off this post mentioning that people who consider personal finance a focus in their life swear by the side hustle. But if you're not motivated by money – right now or, like, ever – chances are a second job is just going to burn you out and make you regret the time you could have spent with family or on your favorite hobbies.