Side Hustles Suck, So Stop Being Cute About Them

There are a lot of “side hustles” out there, and many of us are working one (or more). However, there’s trend I want to point out today that I think needs our attention. It’s the “side hustle” trend, and I don’t like it. Like, at all.

Many people are working “side hustles,” which is a fancy way of saying a lot of extra jobs. We see this term being used everywhere, from social media to everyday conversation (“I’m just side hustlin’!”). But here’s the thing: this glorification is hurting all of us.

Making second (or third, or fourth) jobs sound cute and fun is a disservice to everyone, especially the person working them. Think about the sheer amount of time spent working instead of living! And if it’s you referring to yourself as a side hustler, you’re actually only hurting your chances of success.

Why they suck

Think about the reality of a “side hustle.” It means working a full time job PLUS at least one more job on top of that. You’re busting your butt from sun up to sun down (and probably through the night as well sometimes).

You are unable to live on just one income. You’re forced to make ends meet by spending more of your free time working.

You no longer have free time to actually enjoy life (and you only get one shot at that). You have less regard for your mental and physical health and wellbeing.

So…what’s so glamorous about that?

Why “side hustle” is so detrimental

I get that “side hustle” probably evolved from the need to make working so much for so little seem better in our heads. I really do! I’m literally working a second job right now writing this article for you. Second jobs suck sometimes. Some second jobs suck all the time. But I’m not side hustling, and here’s why.

Have you ever actually thought about the definition of hustle? If not, here it is:

second jobs suck, and why we need to stop calling it a side hustle

Um, do “side hustles” still sounds great?

I mean, none of those definitions sound like what I want to be doing in my life. The first one is simply unsustainable; we can “work rapidly or energetically” but that’s not going to last forever. Burnout will come swiftly and surely.

The last four? This is what I read:

  • #2 is like a throwback to ’90s Black Friday shopping
  • #3 is a used car salesman or a loan shark
  • #4 is working in the hidden back room behind a restaurant
  • #5 is self explanatory

…and none of those things are what most of us are doing when using the term “side hustling.” So why are we using this term in this way?

And a deeper thought: do you think this is why your audience (or friends, family, et cetera) is not receptive to what you have to offer?

Nobody likes a hustler

We have all had those experiences, friend! You know, the ones where you wish you would have stood up for yourself buying your first car, or you should have been firmer with the salesman when you said “no” but he kept pushing you into a sale.

So maybe, just maybe…your approach to your second job as a side hustle is giving some vibes of these experiences to your audience.

Maybe you are hustling. Maybe you are being too pushy and not truly you. Perhaps you do sound hustle-y to your audience.

And maybe your mindset about your job needs to change. If it doesn’t, you’ll never grow to your fullest potential because you’re not seriously reflecting on what you’re doing and what you could be doing instead.

Shifting your mindset from “side hustles” to “job”

This is where the real work comes in if you don’t want to stay in that “hustle” mindset. Doing some introspective work about what you like and dislike about your second job is a great place to start. If you don’t consciously recognize what you’re hating about something, you’re going to keep growing that negativity whether you realize it or not.

Another key area to focus on is what you actually want to get out of the work. Are you strictly in it for the money? Are you looking for something bigger, like a brand, a following, or a new career? Pinpointing your focus will help you make goals that help you move toward that ultimate outcome.

The third area of focus should be productivity, especially if you’re looking to build that “something more.” Streamline what you’re doing to focus on the important aspects of the job, so you’re getting the most bang for your precious time. Set time limits for tasks, prioritize them, and do the things that will help you grow the business instead of just float along.

The end of side hustles

I’m hopeful that shifting our mindsets toward the actual work and away from the “cutesy” name will help us all be successful. I also hope you put in a little thought to the keys above and dig a little deeper about what it is you want from your second job. Drop a comment below with your thoughts! You can also check out more helpful tips for transitioning teachers and teacherpreneurs here.

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