Side Hustles: 3 Benefits of Having One and What to Consider

Ever felt that your salary was not doing enough for you? You’re not alone. If you might be looking to switch careers, considering a side gig can help you explore your interests while building financial resilience.

Career Guides
Gordon Chen

With prices on education, food, healthcare and housing on the rise, Singaporeans are beginning to feel the pinch. Relying solely on your full-time pay does not always make the cut nowadays, especially atop the financial uncertainty brought by the pandemic. You might begin entertaining thoughts about changing jobs in search of greener pastures.

Instead of taking a risk and forgoing the stability of your job, you could venture down the path of side hustles.

The definition of a side hustle
When a main hustle just isn't enough

What exactly is a side hustle?

It is a job or a type of work you can complete on top of having your full-time job. This is in order to bring in extra cash. A side hustle is also more flexible, since you call the shots.

It bears similarities to freelancing, where the money you earn goes straight to you. Most freelancers, however, do it on a full-time basis. This is the main difference from side hustles. It resembles freelancing, but is done “on the side”, as a bonus source of cash.

The term “moonlighting” might also come to mind. But what distinguishes them is moonlighting typically involves taking on a second job, whether part-time or full, outside of your regular working hours. A side hustle, conversely, is a form of service provided, or entrepreneurship, and is not an official job under any other company.

Freelancing Side Hustles Moonlighting
What is it? Working for yourself A business done by yourself on the side Holding a second job
How are they similar? They are all done for additional income
Has a lot of flexibility
Done atop of a full time job
What sets them apart? Self-employed, Full-time Work Self-initiated work beyond working hours Official role under a different company

3 Benefits of Having a Side Hustle

1. Greater Financial Security provides Peace of Mind

A survey conducted by OCBC in May 2020 found that two out of three working Singaporeans and permanent residents do not have enough savings to maintain their current lifestyle beyond six months. At the peak of COVID-19 during circuit breaker last year, many either experienced a pay cut, went on unpaid leave, or had to work part-time instead.

Additionally, many Singaporeans were also troubled by potentially losing their jobs – a whopping 94% of Singaporeans in a survey experienced stress over getting fired.

Side hustles let you earn an additional source of “pocket money” to supplement your current income. This helps relieve some of your financial stress, as you can funnel more into savings or emergency funds to build a safety net for uncertain times. Now especially, when the pandemic has rendered employment much more volatile, building a side hustle reduces your dependence on your full-time job to pay the bills if you’re faced with retrenchment.

2. Personal and Professional Growth

Working on your own side gig forces you to take complete ownership of your craft. Oftentimes if you’re pursuing a solo venture, you’re expected to operate as a jack of all trades. This includes learning how to market and brand yourself to prospective customers, make persuasive sales pitches, and communicate with customers to ensure satisfactory iterations of your product or service. As you deepen your technical expertise in your side hustle, you pick up essential workplace soft skills needed to thrive in the 21st century workplace.

3. Exploring Other Fields of Interests

If you have been contemplating a career switch, a side gig is a great way to evaluate whether you should take the leap. A side hustle provides a safe avenue to experiment with other lines of work while having the security and stability of a full-time job. Depending on the skills you wish to hone, the possibilities are endless. The best part about this exploration phase is that the stakes of pursuing a side hustle aren’t high. You can assess whether you enjoy what you’re doing and if you’re suited for the field, before determining the amount of resources to allocate to the gig. You are in control of how committed you wish to be. If it isn’t what you were looking for, you can just step back and explore another interest.

Planning is Important for a Successful Business

Before diving into a potential business idea, there are some factors you have to consider.

1. Identify what you are passionate about

Questions to help find your passion
Find your true calling through some thinking!

Brainstorm with these Questions:

  • What do you like?
  • What interests and motivates you?
  • How can you adapt your interest into a form of work?
  • Regarding your passion, what do you think the field currently lacks? How might you fill that gap?
  • Is there a need or problem you can address through your passion?

It is important to spend time going over these questions. Even though less is at stake with side hustles compared to full-time jobs, how much you get out of it depends on the thought you put into it. Try to pursue an interest that feeds you intrinsically. While it may be tempting to enter a field due to popularity or promise of lucrative returns, the motivation to sustain the interest can be short-lived. Being able to derive innate joy and satisfaction from the work itself plays out in the long-run as a form of resilience.

2. Understand what your strengths are

Harnessing your strengths helps you better establish your side hustle
Play to your strengths; they serve you best!

Recognizing your strengths is crucial in mapping out a plan to develop your side hustle more effectively.

We recommend a three-pronged approach to assess your strengths thoroughly. The first is through online assessment tests such as the HIGH5 Test (free) and CliftonStrengths assessment (paid). These tests help you uncover both explicit and implicit unique strengths you can harness while exploring your endeavours.

The second step is to assess your strengths through introspection. Ask yourself these questions and generate a list of your own perceived strengths.

Evaluating your Strengths:

  • What am I confident in?
  • What do I do well?
  • What do others say I am good at?
  • How might my strengths let me stand out from others in the field?
  • How do I handle adversity and unfamiliar situations?

Finally, gather an objective perspective of your strengths by consulting those who have worked with you before or know you well. One way to reconcile your perception of your strengths and how others view you is through Johari Window, a tool that helps you better understand your relationship with yourself and others.

3. Identify where you wish to grow

Know what you need to learn and form a timeline for it
Make the road to improvement clearer with a plan

When honing technical skills, it’s vital to identify where you are at, and where you wish to be. Formulate a time-bound plan for learning, marking tangible milestones to track your growth and progress.

For example, if you wish to explore the field of User Interface and User Experience (UI/UX), but do not know where to start, your plan could look something like this:

  1. Read up on SkillsFuture’s Skills Framework and churn out a template that specifies the critical core skills needed to be a UI/UX Designer.
  2. Identify the theoretical knowledge and practical tools you need to master each skill.  
  3. Find a range of awesome free resources that suit your learning needs depending on your proficiency level - if you’re new to the field, foundational resources such as basics of visual design can help you kickstart your journey. If you have intermediate knowledge, you can delve deeper by learning the right UX prototyping tools to practice and master.
  4. Set realistic deadlines for yourself to acquire these skills. You can refer to blogs by self-taught UIUX designers here, here and here to gauge how long you might need to reach certain milestones. Keep in mind that you still have a responsibility to do well at your full-time job, and you should not use working hours for your side business!

Tip: Organize your time in smaller chunks, with both your job and side hustle in mind. You can try what Lauren does, who juggled a full-time job and a side project on UX design. She shares 5 tips to help you balance both successfully.

As you grow and work on yourself for your side gig, you can brush up on interpersonal skills at your full-time job. The best way to improve your soft skills is to get out there and expose yourself to different people and situations. Toggle between introspection and actively collecting feedback from those that work closely with you, especially when things don’t go according to plan.

Though it’s easier said than done to keep an open mind to criticism, remember that a little discomfort goes a long way. Others might be able to spot weaknesses that you can’t. Understanding that they can help you grow helps you stay receptive to feedback. The only person standing in your way of realizing your fullest potential is yourself!

Be Careful: Do not try to fix all your weaknesses simultaneously. This is the essence of the Pareto Principle, which states 80% of your results come from 20% of your actions. Devoting too much time and effort in seeking perfection will make you exhausted. Instead, focus on 20% of your weaknesses to produce 80% of the results you are looking for!

Hatch is an impact-driven business with the mission to make digital and design opportunities accessible for all. That's why we are committed to sharing valuable resources like these freely and openly for the community.

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