I will openly confess that from 2012 until earlier this year I was living under a rock and it still terrifies me how I managed to miss SO much of what was going on in the world.
Despite having accounts with YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat, I remained oblivious to the rise of vloggers and influencers and that 20 year olds were becoming millionaires as a result of their #sidehustle.
In fact, it’s only within the past two months that I became aware that the ‘side hustle’ is a thing that real people do, and I’m truly hoping you won’t have a clue what I’m talking about (you know, to make me feel better).
In the unlikely event you too have been living under a rock, a side hustle is extra income – be it selling your clothes on eBay, setting up your own mini business, making money online – whatever it is.
Social media’s version is that you turn your passion into your side hustle and your side hustle gradually becomes your main hustle and you quit your day job. And obviously that remains the dream. But essentially, the rule is that you shouldn’t rely on your main income to fund your life and that you should always have back up finances, either to pay off existing debt, pay for holidays or trips, pay for your designer shoes – whatever it is.
When I was at school, this wasn’t a thing. The main goal was to find a 9-5 Monday to Friday job that would be able to let you pay off debt, pay your bills, allow you to save and allow you to live. You didn’t need to do anything else. And when I saw that the starting salary for a therapist was £21000 and at the time the typical graduate post was £18000, I was on to a winner.
In reality, unless you work as a successful stockbroker or you’re Simon Cowell, it’s unlikely you are going to afford life this way and I really wish someone had told me this sooner. Since qualifying in 2014 (which really isn’t that long ago), there have been more months than not where I’ve had £50 disposable income PER MONTH. I found myself selling clothes on eBay and books on Amazon, but I saw it as a way to declutter rather than make money – the money was just a bonus and my credit card typically benefited from it rather than me.
For the average Joe, pay rises are not matching inflation and therefore our disposable income is becoming less and less. Meanwhile, ‘influencers’ and general advertising are encouraging us to spend more and more (I really need to stop hating on social media ha!)
A prime example is the Maltesers Shrinkflation gate – I may have well mentioned this before because I feel very passionately about it!
When I was a child, a large packet of Maltesers were 175g
In 2018 they are 93g.
Price reduction to match? No.
No wonder I’m skint.
Why Else Should I Set Up A Side Hustle?
Money aside, there are plenty of other reasons to set up a side hustle. For me, I’ve found it an amazing outlet to provide unwanted advice. In my defence, a lot of friends do come to me for advice, but now I can impose it globally! Ha.
In all seriousness, up until this year I was consumed by the therapy I had chosen to pursue. I’ve never been an extreme workaholic, but I was too passionate about my job and I found the ‘red tape’ frustrating. If I had known that there were other ways I could use my enthusiasm for health and wellbeing, it would have saved me a lot of heartache.
It’s incredibly easy to start dabbling with most side hustles, depending on what you want to do. If you want to set up an online business then social media is free, you can record decent podcasts straight from your phone, you can set up a website with a shopping cart for next to nothing (well, less than you’d think anyway). If you want to offer a local service e.g. babysitting or dog walking, it’s easy to print off a few leaflets and distribute them.
It’s also great for interacting with people that you wouldn’t normally. As each day I come a little bit closer to being the next Oprah, I chat to more and more people (okay, it’s like 1 extra person a week but still, Rome wasn’t built in a day!). It’s SO refreshing to speak to people outside of my direct profession but still have an interest in health and wellbeing and these are people I would never have the opportunity to chat with otherwise.
I think it’s fair to say that until the past few years there has been the belief that you either worked in a 9-5 job or you were an entrepreneur but never both. But maybe there’s benefits to being both. Just remember though – burnout gets you nowhere so plan wisely how you would make it work!