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Is Side Hustling Sustainable Long-Term?

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Side hustling is a great way to make extra money, but it take a lot of work. Here are some ways to balance that to achieve the goals you want.

The word side hustle or sidegig is the buzzword of our time, and it makes sense since so many people are interested in making extra money to improve their finances. Side hustling is great in a sense because it can provide you with flexible offline and online work and boost your income to help you meet your financial goals whether it’s saving more money, paying off debt, funding a big purchase and so on.

It can be difficult for anyone to walk away from the idea of extra money, which is why I’ve even jumped on the side hustle bandwagon a few times myself and it has really helped me pay off debt faster.

Everyone seems to want to learn more about how they can get into side hustling these days but I’ve always been curious about the longevity of side hustling.

Is it really sustainable long-term or is it something you should do temporarily to reach your goals?

Falling Into the Trap of Being Obsessed with Earning More

 

Side hustling is a great option if you are in a financial bind and have the ability to do extra work to earn additional income. For me, side hustling has helped me pay some of my bills, pay off thousands of dollars of debt and top off my emergency fund.

At first, the extra money can seem like a Godsend. Then, you might get used to it and start craving more. When earning $500/month turns into $1,000/month, which later turns into $2,000/month, it will no doubt seem exciting.

However, you have to stop and determine how much money you really need. If the end goal is to keep earning more and more, that’s not really an end goal.

If you get too fixated on the numbers and earning more, you won’t be able to give yourself credit for work you’ve done thus far and the income you have earned.

Realizing Your Don’t Have Infinite Energy Levels

 

If your goal is to keep earning more money, you’ll have to put in more work, which will require more of your time and energy. Side hustling can be draining after a while, which can lead to burnout for many people.

I was one of those people. I’d wake up at 5:00 a.m. each morning to work on my side hustle before work. Then, I’d get home around 5:00 p.m., cook dinner, relax with my family, then start back up around 8:00 p.m. until I crashed and needed to go to bed.

At first, I was pumped to execute my demanding schedule and it felt good to have extra money come in. Then, as I set goals to increase my side hustle income each month, I started putting more pressure on myself until I literally didn’t have any energy left.

This is not something I’d recommend people do, because it’s not good for your mental or physical health. I ended up quitting my day job to make my side hustle my full-time job. In my case, I knew doing both was not sustainable for me long-term so I had to make a choice.

Coping With All The Sacrifices You’ll Make

 

Side hustling often requires a bit of sacrifice on your end. You’ll most likely sacrifice your time, your energy, and potentially your social life and relationships with others.

If you’re working all the time, you won’t be able to spend as much time with your family or say yes to invites as often.

You also may no longer have the time to do things you once took for granted like go grocery shopping each week, deep clean your home regularly or take a vacation. It’s common for people who side hustle to use their vacation time from their main job to catch up on their extra work instead.

If you don’t wish to cut certain things out of your life permanently, you’ll need to determine how long you want to make those types of sacrifices.

Establishing a Low-Effort Side Hustle

 

If you intentionally prefer to side hustle long-term, you must realize that different types of work require different levels of commitment, time and energy.

For example, freelancing or flipping items to sell online may seem like more demanding work than taking surveys online, walking dogs or working one day a week as a brand ambassador.

Limiting the availability you have to side hustle can prevent you from spreading yourself too thin.

If you limit the amount of spare time you’re willing to dedicate to doing extra work and can establish a side hustle that doesn’t require too much of your energy and effort, you could very well do it long-term.

Income streams that are more passive will take longer to establish but they actually have more potential for sustainability long-term.

Side hustling is a great way to make extra money, but it take a lot of work. Here are some ways to balance that to achieve the goals you want.

So, Is Side Hustling Really Sustainable Long-Term?

 

Yes and no. It really depends on your needs, availability and the type of work you’re doing. On one end of the spectrum, side hustling can change your entire financial situation for the better. That said, you need to have an end goal in mind.

Some people side hustle so they can pay off their student loans. Then, once their student loan debt is gone, they slow down or take a break since they no longer need to hustle as hard to earn extra money.

If you keep adding goals to your list and start to rely on the extra money coming in, you’ll need to find a way to make it sustainable.

Low-effort side hustles that require less time and energy are much more sustainable than working actively for long hours throughout the week. If you alter your schedule too much, make too many sacrifices and lose too much sleep on a regular basis, you won’t be able to keep up with your side hustle and you’ll need to quit.

Some people who side hustle long-term tend to take frequent breaks or even outsource some of their responsibilities to other people to lighten their workload.

Or, if you’re like me, you may be planning to turn your side hustle into your full-time career. If that’s the case, you’ll need to lay out a clear plan and set an ideal exit date so you’re not tempted to keep up with juggling both types of work.

Before you start side hustling, it’s best to determine what type of work you’d prefer to do, why you are doing it, and what you hope to get out of it. That should help you decide whether or not it will be sustainable long-term.

 

Do you think side hustling is sustainable long-term? If you have a side hustle, how do you balance your time so as to not get burned out? Why do you think it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like you always have to earn more?

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Chonce is a freelance writer who’s obsessed with frugality and passionate about helping others increase their savings rate, eliminate debt, and work toward financial stability. She chronicles her journey with balancing motherhood, work, and finances on her blog, MyDebt Epiphany.com

14 Comments

  • Jason Butler says:

    People don’t realize that you truly have to sacrifice some things. Whether it’s going out less or not getting as much sleep, you have to sacrifice something. This is what separates the talkers from the do’ers.

  • I think many of today’s side hustles are arbitrage opportunities that will not last. Arbitrage opportunities like Amazon FBA and niche websites in particular. And they sap energy and money from people. I just wrote a post on this topic because I was thinking about it as well. Dog walking, bartending, Uber driving, etc… are guaranteed to make you money now. No course to buy and minimal expenses. It’s an interesting topic. Cheers

    • Chonce says:

      I’m not too familiar with Amazon FBA but I do know that the digital space is constantly changing so if you’re going to do certain things to earn extra money, you need to be able to adapt. No job is guaranteed though so I personally like the idea of working hard on a side hustle with a potential end date in mind and/or developing multiple streams of income because you just never know if you can depend on it long-term.

  • I think the time side hustling is most sustainable long term is when your side hustle becomes your full time hustle. Working multiple jobs with a family forever seems like a recipe for burn out.

  • A very thought provoking post. I agree you can keep up a significant effort in the short term, but not over the long term. So, really 2 choices, a short major burst of energy to support short term goals, or a slower, longer term effort that becomes a habit, and fits in with your future life aspirations, so that if you wanted to, you could keep going for 20 years or more. You might make it your job, or not. It is what fits in with your life goals.

    • Chonce says:

      Very well said. When it comes to paying off debt, many people are willing to commit to side hustles that require quite a bit of time and effort but won’t be sustainable long-term.

  • I don’t think it’s sustainable long-term. I think you need to have an end date or end goal in mind. Some people may find it ironic that I’m saying this after having side hustles for a majority of the past decade, but I do have an end goal in mind – it’s just something that takes a lot of ramping towards.

    • Chonce says:

      Having an end goal in mind is key, but over time it’s so easy to change that end goal or lose sight of it which can cause someone to ‘overwork’ themselves in a sense when it comes to side hustling. I think it all comes down to knowing when to stop and feel good about the decision.

  • The idea of time and value are key. Thank you for sharing this. Some Side hustles are more valuable than others and it all depends on how much time you are willing to dedicate to it.

    • Chonce says:

      Yes, this is why it’s great that there are so many opportunities out there. It’s helps to do something that you like and are good at so you can work efficiently in less time.

  • I think low effort side hustles are the only ones I can take own right now with 2 little ones. Never enough time in the day and the time I have, I’d rather spend it with them.

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