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Spend Your Extra Time Binge Watching? Start Side Hustling Instead to Fast-Track Your Career and Savings

A group of people discussing work at a big desk in office.

When you get home from a long day at your main job, is all you want to do collapse on the sofa, order a pizza, and binge Stranger Things? But what if you could do something with your time that was fun, helped you fast-track your way up the corporate ladder and added a few zeroes to your bank account balance? Welcome to side hustling!

Side hustling is essentially taking on an additional job — or starting your own small business — in addition to your 9-to-5. A side hustle could help you make rent more easily, save up for a down payment on a home, pay off student debt, or fund a sabbatical trip around the world. It can even be a lot of fun!

Here are some tips to finding a side hustle that fits you.

Do something you love

What if you could have fun doing the things you love and make an extra paycheck? As a starting place, focus on your passions and then see if there are ways to make money from it. If you love sports, work for a local intramural league. Love yoga? Consider becoming certified to teach.

Focus on learning skills

Use the areas where you need to grow as a way to guide your side hustling work. The last time you met with your boss, if he or she said you needed to get better at networking and graphic design, consider how a side hustle can help develop those skills.

That doesn’t mean that you should immediately start designing logos for local businesses, but maybe you can try to design posters for your new business. You can also force yourself into networking situations to plug your dog walking or tutoring side hustle. While working on your side hustle, you can sharpen skills to impress your boss in time for your next performance review.

Make sure it’s flexible

If you have a full-time job, it’s going to take prominence over your side hustle, but some main gigs can be more limiting than others. Maybe you often have evening work events you have to go, or maybe your boss doesn’t want you to do graphic design work for clients in your industry.

Choose side hustles based on how much flexibility you need, and make sure your boss is aware what you’re doing — especially if you’re offering services similar to what you do in your day job. Just be sure to make it clear that your day job comes first.

Side hustles that allow you to control how much work you do — like driving for a car sharing service or taking on small jobs via a site like Fivver on the weekends — might provide you the right amount of flexibility.

Make it count

The right side hustle can feel more like fun than work, just make sure you choose something that helps boost your career or finances. This could mean investing in additional training, using money to fund another degree, or saving for a big milestone, like buying a home.

And you may even find your side hustle takes off and allows you to quit your day job. In order to do that, you’ll want to start a business where how much you can earn isn’t limited by an hourly wage. That could mean planning to potentially take on employees if your dog walking business grows, expanding your t-shirt business worldwide, or starting a blog and monetizing it. While you might make less over the short-term, you could find the side hustles with less income certainty now pay off big later on.

Does side hustling mean you’ll never have the free time to binge watch again? Absolutely not. It just means you may be spending less time on the couch, and more time fast-tracking your career or adding to your bank account. Who knows? If your side hustle becomes something you love, you may even feel you’re gaining more out of life by devoting more time to it.