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  • Writer's pictureZach

$7550 in Side Hustles in 2018, DEFINITELY worth it!

Updated: May 5, 2019

Do you want thousands of extra dirhams (or dollars) a year for doing things you love? What would you do with an extra 27,000 dirhams ($7,350) of income in a year? Would you be more willing to do side hustles if you knew that not only would they give you more income, they would help you save money as well, and allow you to develop your passions?

Recently I tallied up my side hustle income for 2018. I averaged over 2,000 dirhams ($544) a month by playing music, taking pictures, and writing. Side hustles are a critical part of my life, and one that I think everyone should consider.

Not everyone is as positive towards side hustles as I am. Recently, I read a very interesting article called "The Modern Trap of Turning Hobbies Into Hustles" and an idea that popped out at me was that if you turn your passions into hustles, you will never have any boundaries and you'll be burnt out from working all the time and your ego will be bruised when people say mean things about your products because you care so much.


For some people, that's probably true, but it sounds like an excuse not to have a side hustle by catastrophizing the outcome, a classic slippery slope fallacy. This is a very common critique of any strategy that people use to take charge of their financial lives or reach Financial Independence. Anything so lazy people can justify not taking actions that will change their lives and help them reach their financial goals. It's a lot easier to shrug your shoulders and say that change is impossible, than to actually take action. After all, a person could fail and bruise their ego. But those who cast aside the side hustle are losing so much more than more income.

I am passionate about side hustles. Side hustles have changed my life. I am not ashamed to spread the word.

Here are the four main ways Side Hustling has improved my life:

1. Financially - this is pretty obvious. I paid off my student loans in three years due to tutoring, photography (both running a photography teaching business and actually doing photography), and music. Right now it's allowed me to save over 60% of my monthly salary without losing any quality of life.

2. Increased my mental health and stability through life diversification - When you only have your job in your life, and your job starts to get worse for whatever reason, your whole life gets worse too. But if you have 2-3 side hustles going on, and your job loses its luster, you can get a lot of joy and validation from the other areas outside your 9-5. Or you could have loved your job when you were hired, but then the job changes, you get a new boss or co-workers, and through no fault of your own, that part of your life can suddenly be like eating nails covered in chili powder. Side hustles give you something to look forward to, and the opportunity to develop different sides to your identity than you usually get when you only have one "thing you do".

3. Socially - getting involved in a field has brought me into contact with others who are interested in similar things to me! Making friends in adulthood can be really hard. If you're only friends with people you work with, the odds are that you're going to complain a lot to each other about your jobs when you're hanging out. This can reinforce negative psychological elements in a big vicious cycle that leaves you depressed and stressed. But if you find your tribe of others who are obsessed with what ever you love enough to pursue as a side hustle, that feeling of community can bolster your whole life. This can be especially true if you love something very particular that not a lot of others around you are into, which can be isolating. The side hustle can make us not be alone with our peculiarities.

4. You Save Money! Obviously you make money from good side hustles, but they can help you save money outside of that. If I'm out making money, I have less time to spend it. For example, when I was playing music at a fancy brunch on Fridays, I wasn't out spending money at fancy brunches myself! When I had gigs each weekend night, I didn't have time to go out the club and drink up my savings. You get the idea.

"OK, I get it, Side Hustles are great, but I don't have one and I don't know how to get one!" you might be saying right now. Well, fear not, dear reader, because I have you covered. Here is my patented six step formula for building a creative side hustle, compiled from years of experience in multiple fields.

  1. Find what you're curious about - if it's something that leads you to creating a product like art, or cooking, or inventing something to solve a problem, that's the best!

  2. Let your curiosity become an obsession - go down the rabbit hole, so to speak. In learning about the subject, you will find out tons and tons of nooks and crannies in the area that all require knowledge and skill. Youtube is a FANTASTIC resource, but there are blogs about just about everything as well. It's also a great idea to find a friend or group of people around you to do it with you. It's A LOT more fun, and you'll make great connections with like-minded people.

  3. Practice - Start creating, fail, fix, make things you are PROUD of.

  4. Share what you've made - give presents, show it off on social media, go into forums online.

  5. Keep learning and practicing - this won't feel like a burden, due to your obsession. You'll fight for time to do it, other pursuits will fall by the wayside, and that's ok.

  6. Start charging money for it - It's hard to know when to do this exactly, for me, it was always an organic process that happened once I was making things that people got value from. Start low at first and build your brand. Underpromise and overdeliver.

Another great way to find a good side hustle is through the concept of the Talent Stack. In the Talent Stack, as defined by its creator Scott Adams (of "Dilbert" fame), is the idea that you take the skills you already have, and combine them in creative ways to find a good side hustle or passion. This is great because it's hard to be the best in the world at one thing, but you can be good at 3 or 4 things that you then combine to make a talent that is uniquely yours. Scott Adams talent stack was that he could draw a bit, he was fairly funny, and he had worked in Corporate America. Thus, "Dilbert" was born. For me, I have no fear about performing in public (thanks music!), and I am obsessed with personal finance, so I have been totally cool with being on the radio. Heck, this article is a direct result of my talent stack of writing and personal finance!

If you're overwhelmed and are barely able to keep your head above water with your current job and life, side hustles may not be for you. But for me, besides making my financial life less stressful because I have more money, they lower the stress in my life because of good friendships and a more positive outlook that comes from living a balanced, fulfilling existence. Side hustles are worth making time for.

If you liked this post, come join the discussion over at The Happiest Teacher Facebook Group! I would love to have your voice added to the discussion! Also, if you're into that Twitter life, come follow me!

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