Given my potentially unhealthy obsession with business buzzwords, it has been impossible for me to overlook one that is dominating our frequently maddening business vernacular.
The term is “side hustle.” What is it? It can be defined simply as a way to make some extra cash while giving you the flexibility to pursue what you are really interested in without quitting your day job.
How invasive has the side hustle become these days? Other than the fact that everyone and their mother seems to have one, it’s hard to go a day without hearing the term.
Recently, I decided to look it up on Google. Not only would I be able to find out just how much side hustling was really going on out there but it would also give me tangible evidence I could use in a very strange ongoing debate I’ve been having with my mom, who is convinced that it is some sort of revamped version of the original Hustle dance move from the 70s.
There were 2,680,000 results, none of which had anything to do with dancing. I was pleasantly relieved that at the very least we could put that strange debate to bed.
That being said, though, I was a bit concerned with what I knew was a bigger problem. We’ve got a side hustling epidemic out there. The sheer number of articles written about side hustles and the sheer number of side hustles each article identified made me a bit worried.
Is the side hustle going to subsume the non-side hustle, otherwise known as our real jobs? Would some of the hustle we needed in our jobs get shifted to the side hustle? Or has that already happened?
Given just the first four search findings that came up, you could make an argument that the “real job” was in big trouble here:
99 Side Hustle Ideas You Can Start Today
24 Awesome Side Hustles You Can Do While Working Full Time
50 Ideas for a Lucrative Side Hustle
15 Easy Side Hustles Millennials Can Start This Weekend
If my math is correct, we’re talking about 189 side hustles that all of us can do, and that’s just in the first four search findings out of over two million.
I probably need to qualify the fact that 15 of these 189 side hustles seem to be restricted to Millennials only, which is kind of a bummer for me and my fellow Gen Xers. I might have to write another article about “16 Even Easier Side Hustles That Only Gen Xers Are Allowed To Do.” Then we could start some sort of generational side hustle Battle Royale.
With all of this side hustling going on out there, there might actually be a nugget of something important here as to why we should think twice not only about incessantly using the expression but about the implications of our side hustle obsession.
I certainly understand the concept of the side hustle. After all, I started my own business almost 10 years ago and clearly ran a moonlighting operation while still fully employed for my first year in business before having the confidence to make my “side hustle” my “real hustle” (or something like that).
Here are two reasons why we might want to lower the volume on the side hustle transmission:
1. It shows about as much commitment to your hustle as casual dating
Early in my career, I got some good advice from one of my mentors (OK it was my dad, who may have been my biggest business mentor of all):
“If you’re going to do something, do it all in.”
His point to me was that I shouldn’t be casual about what I was doing because not only would that reduce my commitment to whatever it is I was doing but it would be perceived by others that it’s not something that’s all that important to me.
2. Side hustles eventually die because they are side hustles
If you are really serious about your side hustle, make it a front and center hustle. It takes a lot to make something a reality, and giving it only side attention may seem great at first but will actually become the very thing that keeps it from blossoming into something that could actually be your real deal thing.
So let’s keep side hustling, but I’m a big fan of talking about it a lot less and maybe figuring out how to more quickly turn our side hustles into our main hustles by fully dedicating ourselves to what we really want to do.