The Sunny Side of Side Hustle

Future of Work Magazine June 12, 2018
Woman with hat on head, The Blank Collar

The Sunny Side of Side Hustle

Own up to it: it’s been six months since you bought your screen printing kit (or brewing supplies, or soldering kit, or pottery wheel, or loom, or whatever) and you still have only managed to create something that one long weekend a month ago. What if there was a way to delve into what makes you happy and not go total ‘starving artist’? Well, meet the side hustle.

Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Don’t be fooled by the clickbait-y language touting ‘$$$’ in exchange for a few hours of work answering online surveys on the side. Or stories of borderline exploitation, like this one about being an app-enabled courier in the gig economy. The ideal side hustle operates along lines of satisfaction, not compensation. It’s less ‘part-time job’ and more ‘thing I love to do that brings in an extra chunk of cash once in a blue moon’. While monetizing hobbies is not a revolutionary idea, it’s taking on an incredibly important role in the workplace of the future. Jobs are getting better, but they’re still jobs—and in order to live your fullest life, you need something to distract from disappointments of the ‘grind’. In other words, it’s worth it to look into using that screen printing kit.

Tech-y Times

Bots schedule your workflow, websites stock your cabinets, apps let you set up your day on your way to work, your smart speaker orders you dinner. It’s clear by now that AI and IoT connectivity cut a lot of corners. Without hitting on a sore subject re: the criticism of millennials, all the corner-cutting has an effect on your life akin to making a paper snowflake: once you unfold it, you have something different, new, and entirely customized in your hands. Not to mention all the new schedule space you’ve freed up. How can we adopt the art of making money to this new shape in a meaningful way? Instead of just putting more overtime hours into your corporate grind, consider this: A side hustle means a new income stream built on creative output, not how-much-work-can-I-physically-take-before-I-collapse-from-exhaustion. And that’s great news in a bot-filled world where creativity and other human skills are becoming increasingly valuable. Pursuing something on your own is not just for entrepreneurs anymore.

Your Real Job

It’s for those of us with a steady job. And it’s for our bosses, too: fulfilled employees are actually good for employers (shocker!). A few companies on the cutting edge like Basecamp and Nestio will fund your side hustles with stipends: they offer bonuses you can put towards pursuing a passion of your choice. Offering this workplace benefit is a smart way to recruit self-made, industrious team members. Entrepreneurial energy is not a limited resource; fostering passion by supporting side hustles only boosts the energy of all involved.

Get Hustling

With any luck, by now you’re chomping at the bit, ready to start firing up your dream. And that’s great because there’s never been a better time to start: the jobs we have now can be easily combined with the side-hustle life. Remote jobs overlap splendidly with the side projects and the gig economy (and check out this article about a 2 year study which found that you’re incredibly productive when you work remotely) And it won’t put you in financial harm’s way, either: the myriads of e-commerce websites and apps have made customization cheap and fast. Your business is pretty much pre-made for you. For example, printing one-off pieces on Cafepress or CustomInk to try your hand at a cool T-shirt design won’t bankrupt you. So why not start hustling this weekend? This is not the 1950’s— work doesn’t need to be about “sticking it out” at your dad’s ad firm anymore.


(Psst. For all those of us with no penchant for pottery or soap making or painting… There’s fun to be had for you, too. Here’s a list of ready-to-go ways to hustle on the side that don’t rely on a burning sense of creativity.)