It might make you uncomfortable that your income depends entirely on your boss’s mood, and the day he sends you packing is also the day you say hello to a diet of grass and cup noodles. That’s a very good reason to start a side hustle.
The problem is, you might not really want to devote your free time outside of work to waiting tables at people’s wedding dinners, or selling Tiger Beer at kopitiams. Throwing all your time into a side job that pays less than your regular day job doesn’t make sense.
But if your side hustle is something that will actually help you get ahead in your career, or eventually boost your income in a meaningful way, that’s a good reason to go for it, even if it may not necessarily pay off right now.
Here are three signs a side job is worth the time and effort.
The side job lets you hone skills that are useful in your career or expand your portfolio
If you’re a web developer, your only motivation for taking up a side job as a math tutor is the cash you’ll earn, unless you’re eventually thinking of transitioning to the private tuition industry.
On the other hand, doing freelance web design jobs on the side would be a very smart career move, as you’d be building your portfolio and making yourself more employable. You might even find you earn more money as a freelancer and eventually decide to become fully self-employed.
That isn’t limited to people in technical industries. Marketing professionals might find it useful to manage social media accounts on the side, while professionals in fields such as law, accounting or communications, to name a few, can sometimes find part-time teaching posts at tertiary institutions like SIM or private schools like Kaplan, which can help them to boost their authority in their respective fields.
The side job paves the way to starting your own business or becoming fully self-employed
Even if your side gig has nothing to do with your day job, you might still want to stick at it if it’s something you hope to eventually get to do full-time, or can pave the way to a successful business.
Singaporeans tend to prefer this incremental approach to entrepreneurship, since the alternative of quitting your job and jumping in the deep end is too financially risky for most.
For instance, many wedding photographers in Singapore are self-taught, but spend years honing their skills by taking on freelance jobs on the side while working a full-time job.
Many retailers such as Love, Bonito, which is one of Singapore’s earliest blog shop success stories, start out as online side businesses, with their founders taking the leap and quitting their jobs when the business starts making enough money.
If you have a dream, you don’t necessarily have to quit your job to pursue it. Manage your time wisely and you might be able to build something worthwhile without having to sacrifice that steady paycheck.
The side job is something you enjoy and would do for fun
If you’re lucky enough to find something you enjoy so much you’d be willing to do it during your free time, and there’s someone willing to pay you to do it, congratulate yourself on having found the perfect side hustle regardless of whether it’s got anything to do with your career.
Sure, you might not get paid enough to make it your full-time job (yet?). But considering the fact that most Singaporeans spend all their time working so they can spend their free time doing something they like, you’re in a very enviable position.
For instance, if you’re a board game nerd, you might opt to get a retail position at a board game shop or cafe so you can spend your entire day checking out new games, geeking out with your customers and enjoying the staff discount. You may not become rich from it, but you’re spending your time in a way that excites you and earning a bit of spare cash at the same time.
Do you have a side gig? Tell us about it in the comments!