3 Lessons from Side Hustles


The gig economy is alive and growing. Nearly forty percent of Americans report having a “side hustle,”which could range in focus from fixing computers to driving for Uber. Many of these “hustlers” are Millennials, but more and more older workers are turning to contingent worker status as well. So, what can a side gig teach a potential younger entrepreneur? Turns out, a side hustle may be ground school for entrepreneurship if the motivation is opportunity-based and not necessity-based. Here’s why:

  • Side jobs require discipline. Entrepreneurs need to manage time properly because they know every hour away from their business is potentially lost time. Gen Y’ers who work side gigs are also used to having to work hard and long hours to achieve their goals. This means it’s not as rude of awakening if they decide to go it alone full time. Successful hustlers have already have shown they have the motivation and stick-to-it-ness necessary to have a fighting chance in the marketplace. (Remember, the Angela Duckworth definition of grit is passion + perseverance. Stick-to-it-ness is “dogged” perseverance.)
  • It can be a way to bootstrap an enterprise. Starting a business costs money. And with crippling student loan debt, many Gen Y’ers do not have the funds to invest in a full-fledged operation, from the outset. This is why side jobs hold so much potential–this secondary income can be put towards startup costs to lessen that burden and properly capitalize your new company or venture.
  • There’s less pressure. Walking away from a stable, full-time job to pursue a venture might be perceived by family or friends as risky. This puts a great deal of stress on the person. The business needs to cover its operating costs, invest in its capabilities and do more than just provide income replacement for the owners There can be many sleepless nights, wondering if you’re going to weather the ups and downs of a new startup. However, with a side gig, the investment tends to be minimal, and therefore the opportunity cost is less. It’s easier to walk away from a floundering side gig. However, if the side gig is well received, they might be able to turn a side hustle into a full-time enterprise

Do you have a side hustle you’d like to take to the next level? Or maybe you have an entirely different idea for a business. We serve businesses at every stage, from aspiring entrepreneurs, startups and growing businesses, to high-performance companies and progressive nonprofit organizations ready to scale. Our goal is to give your venture a competitive edge and help it thrive. Many successful enterprises started as a side gig. What can The NIIC do to help you and your venture take the next step?


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