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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

The Benefits of a Side Hustle

No matter who you are, extra money is never a bad thing. After all, most full time jobs are only 40 hours a week. If one third of your weekdays are work, and the other one third are sleep, what are you doing with your remaining third of those weekday hours? What about the two full days you have over the weekend? If you’re not highly and actively engaged in something to better your future, such as filling those hours as a student, we’d argue you’re doing it wrong.

In an economy where side gigs are in high demand, there is extensive work out there, and in even more extensively announced fields of work. These gigs range in anything from highly specialized and skilled work, such as accounting, where education and years of experience matter, to highly unskilled work accessible to most people, such as objective reviews, writing, or manual labor. Much like your full time hustle, the more experience you get in your side hustle (or side hustles, for the truly ambitious,) the higher the compensation you might ask for.

Extra income

Without being judgmental, it is pretty easy to see the difference between most people and exceptional people: this is defined extremely clearly by what these two distinct groups of people due in their “post 9 to 5” hours. Most people will simply go to the bar on the weekends, and most people rot in front of a television from 5 PM to 9 PM (or whenever they elect to sleep.) Even allocating 25 percent of these hours, or seven hours per week, can provide a substantial difference in your income and overall quality of life; all without tapping significantly into your leisure time. Despite sentiment from those in the comfort zone often being to the tune of “I’m not going to burn myself out,” a balanced ratio will mitigate burnout and enable you to rapidly outpace your peers. In essence, you truly can have your cake and eat it too. Actually, you’ll have quite a lot more cake.

Gain additional experience

In addition to direct monetary compensation, side hustles are a great way to gain additional experience, both in hard skills or soft skills. There are some skills that one might have on paper, such as digital marketing, but many employers will want to see a portfolio. In that specific field (though this same principle applies to dozens of other fields,) prospective employers or clients will care (numerous times over) far more about seeing prior work performance than a degree. If you feel you’re stuck in a dead end job, or simply feel that the career you’re in is not satisfying you, a side hustle, much like above, enables you to “have your cake and eat it too”: you can enjoy the satisfaction of working in a job that provides you with a significantly higher level of satisfaction, and ultimately, your side hustle can be the main theme of your exit plan from your current undesirable full-time employment. What’s the risk besides making money and being happier?

Be your own boss

All too often, the “normal 9 to 5ers” will complain about how much they “hate” their boss or coworkers. The highest level of irony is present in this type of situation: what are they doing about it? The entire element of control within their own hands is not being acted upon. If they complain about not liking their coworkers or boss, but they do nothing to create an escape ladder to their own happiness, their coworkers or boss must not be quite that bad, right?

If the above situation applies to you, and your coworkers or boss make you miserable, how would you feel about being your own boss? Having the power to bring people into your own organization that aren’t as toxic and draining as some of your present coworkers may be? Well, as the old saying goes, “put up or shut up.” In the glory days of the internet, an all-new type of business took place that has parabolically revolutionized the way we all do business: ecommerce. Now you can own your own business, work in your pajamas, and do essentially whatever you want- which is all that matters as long as the job gets done. If only your 9 to 5 employer understood that last sentence, they might take the right steps to prevent you from this escape. Build websites and escape the drudgery of a miserable existence.

The path one takes towards their own future has a direct correlation to the steps they take in their “free time.” Everyone is given the same 24 hours per day, and no amount of wealth can change the amount of time in existence for each of us. Use each of your hours wisely, and where you are in life (financially and otherwise) months, years, and decades from now will be a direct reflection of the use of those hours.

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