[Average read time: 5 minutes]
During my divorce two years ago, I found myself at an interesting point in my life. I felt rudderless and without purpose. I then made a decision that altered the course of my life forever.
I began writing as an outlet for the thoughts and feelings I was experiencing. Writing became my main hobby. Then it became my side hustle. Then it became more.
Has my writing improved since I began this journey two years ago? Sure, but it doesn’t end there. My career and life have been transformed in ways I never imagined.
6 Life Changing Benefits to Having a Side Hustle
1) Opportunities Will Come Your Way
The more I write and share with the world, the more people and opportunities enter my life. Having a side hustle created unpredictable and exciting opportunities that have come in unexpected ways.
There are countless people that I’ve talked to that I would have otherwise never met through my Finance career. Occasionally, I’ll receive a LinkedIn message asking if I’d be willing to help ghostwrite a book or guest post on larger blogs.
I would love to say yes to everything, but I have two kids, a career that I enjoy, and my own writing that takes priority even if it means I turn down paying freelance gigs.
The best part about my side hustle is that I can schedule it around my life. A few hours after work or weekends is the norm which allows plenty of time for my kids, dates, and adding life to my years.
2) Learn New Skills
I’ll use my children’s books as an example. I’ve been a financial analyst for nearly a decade, but I decided to try something new.
The logistics, distribution, publishing, and business decisions that have to be made to create a book are things most people don’t deal with on a regular basis. Something as simple as setting a price point can be a challenge in itself. It requires research of the market, competitors, substitute products, as well as a healthy dose of intuition.
Looking at a product or business at this overarching level forced me to become extremely aware of how the various pieces of the product affect and interact with each other. It wasn’t easy, but challenging myself to think differently (creating a children’s book) and learning a new process (publishing a book) has paid huge dividends.
This type of thinking doesn’t normally occur in cubicles. Strategic planning and execution generally happens in the corner office. Who do you think a company is more likely to promote? Someone that does their job well and stops there, or a person that is continually learning new skills and better understands business processes in detail and at a high level?
The knowledge I acquired is priceless. These new tools in my tool belt are now at my disposal. With each new tool I add, I become that much more valuable to a company.
3) Creativity Skyrockets
It goes without saying, simply trying to create something from nothing forced me to unlock parts of my brain that generally went unused. Brainstorming abstract ideas, developing storylines, and creating the actual illustrations was completely new to me. This project forced a different type of thinking. It wasn’t formulas in spreadsheets that were important, but rather, the characters’ appearance, their emotions and expressions, which colors contrast best, and so on.
If I had to choose one aspect of creativity that has had the biggest impact on my career, it’s the ability to brainstorm abstract ideas more quickly. Coming up with new ideas used to be difficult for me. Generating ideas for new ways of doing things requires a different type of thought process. The type of thought process that can be learned by anyone if you put yourself in the right environment.
Creativity is a journey, not a destination. The more I experienced and was exposed to, the more frameworks I now understood. I’m no longer a financial analyst that only thinks in a finance framework. I’m now a financial analyst that thinks in finance, marketing, operations, online optimization, social media, strategy, and various other frameworks.
I can only imagine what could happen to my career as I become the go-to person that can look at problems or processes from different angles and develop creative solutions.
It’s another tool in the tool belt.
4) Build Confidence
I have acquired great new skills and creativity is at an all-time high – do you know what happens next? I walk a little taller. I take on tasks and projects that others won’t.
It’s nearly impossible to be promoted if you doubt your abilities. The single biggest thing you can do for your career is to find a way to gain confidence. Be comfortable taking charge and put yourself in the spotlight. Don’t be afraid to take on a tough project. You will do a great job or learn from your mistakes. Either result is better than doing nothing. Do nothing and you’re guaranteed to stay where you are.
Build your confidence. Take a chance. You might be surprised where it takes you.
5) Financial Peace
Even though I didn’t begin my journey with a financial reward in mind, it is extremely cool that ANYONE can go into the marketplace, create a product/service, and generate additional income. There are weeks that I sell only one book and more in other weeks, but that income makes a difference. I won’t be retiring soon, but each additional dollar reduces any financial stress that much more.
Imagine the level of focus you could bring to your career and life if money became less of a concern with each passing day.
6) Greater Mental Clarity and Purpose
The further I travel down this newfound path, the more I realize how much I truly enjoy it. I used to aim my sights in various directions, but not anymore.
Mental burdens and scattered priorities were like a dense fog that was clouding my path. As soon as the fog began to fade, I could now see the road ahead and begin to map my journey with clarity. I now have a roadmap for the future and that is extremely empowering. This roadmap allows me to focus on what matters: kids, family, creating things, and adding life to my years.
According to Bankrate, an estimated 44 Million Americans have a side hustle. Many have a side business out of necessity and others do it for the love of the grind. Regardless of what sparked a person’s desire to embark on the entrepreneur’s journey, the destination can be incredibly rewarding.
How would more opportunities, new skills, increased creativity, extra confidence, financial peace, and greater purpose enhance your life?