Sure, the income can be great, but there’s so much more to be gained from having something you’re excited about on the side.
I didn’t know the concept of having a “side hustle” in college. All I knew was that I loved writing. And so, I started posting one answer per day on Quora — the online Q&A platform.
There was no money in it, but this was the first time my work was exposed to so many people all over the world. The upvotes, comments, and shares gave me an adrenaline rush like nothing else. It pushed me to keep writing.
My consistency buoyed me, and in two years, I had more than 40,000 followers. I was also named Quora Top Writer 2016 and was so happy, I could dance.
But there was a part of me that wondered if there was a way I could monetize my talent. I had about a million views each month, and I read so many accounts of writers making thousands of dollars off the internet. But I didn’t know the right channels to seek work, and so, I couldn’t find any sustainable gig.
Technically, I should have quit.
That was the start of my career in civil engineering and it was important for me to look for a “real” job. I could barely afford to spend 2–3 hours every day on something that had no monetary rewards.
But in my heart, I knew this could be the start of something that’s way more valuable than money. And so, I kept pushing on.
It took me six years to finally turn my side hustle into a full-time career.
But coming from someone whose full-time job is writing, that might sound condescending. And so, in this article, I’ve listed five intangible benefits of having a side-hustle that are infinitely more valuable than money.
If you keep pushing on, the money will inevitably come. But it’s important to enjoy the process and not be laser-focused on the destination. Hopefully, this article will change your perspective and push you to start a side-hustle, even though it might take a few years to monetize it.
1. It teaches you discipline
When you do something regularly for little to no money, you learn to be consistent. You’ll do it because you enjoy doing it. Taking out time for it without disturbing other tasks will make you more disciplined.
Writing one answer every day on Quora despite how busy I was helped me time-block my day. There was room for excuses like “I’m too busy to make time for my passion.”
Today, this discipline has helped me write almost 500 articles on this platform in about 16 months, making me more than $15,000.
People marvel at my consistency and often ask how I manage to stick to this pace. What can I say? When I was ready to write every day for free, I’d of course write when I was being paid for it, no matter how little. This pace has helped me grow immensely, amassing almost 20,000 followers on a platform with a largely US-based audience.
This is a huge deal for someone like me with English as their third language.
2. It makes you value your time
As you have multiple things to handle, a side hustle will teach you time management. You’ll start valuing your time more than ever because you know something worthwhile can be done with every minute of the day.
When I was preparing for competitive exams in 2015–16, I knew I only had 24 hours in a day. Studies were non-negotiable, and so was writing. So, I deleted all my social media accounts, stopped watching any television, and only read ten books that year (this is a huge sacrifice for someone like me who usually reads 90+ books every year).
With a side hustle and your everyday life, you’ll stop seeking solace in meaningless escapes and learn to make the most of every hour. Wasting time will make you paranoid about the opportunity cost of those non-returnable hours.
As an added benefit, the more you value your time, the more you’ll find other people also valuing your time. It’s a win-win because then, they’ll respect your ethics and won’t disturb you while you’re working.
“You gotta run more than your mouth to escape the treadmill of mediocrity. A true hustler jogs during the day, and sleepwalks at night.” — Jarod Kintz.
3. It will make you insanely confident
I didn’t make any money through Quora, but I knew my writing was worth something. This gave a confidence boost that helped me through what was possibly one of the darkest phases of my life.
My dreams were crumbling and I saw no way out in my engineering-related pursuits. I’d spent one year and so much of my parents’ money only to fail in what I’d aimed for. I was on the verge of giving up.
The knowledge that my words resonated with millions of people around the world was the only thing that kept me going. I was broke and had absolutely no ray of hope. In these times, writing was like my raft, helping me stay afloat.
With a side hustle, you can eventually see the results of your effort (a completed painting, a finished song, or a thriving Instagram page). You will understand what you’re capable of. This confidence will transcend into other aspects of your life. Soon, you’ll learn to tackle self-doubt and start new projects without pondering too much over failure.
Confidence earned from your side-hustle will also help you deal better with rejections, which won’t shame you from asking more. And the biggest mantra for success is: you get more when you ask for more. This will open a lot of opportunities and healthy collaborations in places you could never have imagined.
“Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.” — John Wooden
4. You form meaningful friendships
It’s 2021, but my closest friends are still the people I met on Quora back in 2014. Those were different times when we were all young with stars in our eyes. Somehow, we resonated, and even today, we find things to bond over and ease each other’s journeys.
When you follow a side hustle, you’ll meet new people on the same growth trajectory. Inevitably, you’ll form meaningful relationships and their ideas and enthusiasm will inspire you more.
You’ll also get the benefit of the “network effect” where your network will bring amazing results for your journey.
Who knows you’ll find a co-founder or a team out of your network who supports your idea and helps you turn your vision into reality!
5. Your worldview will change
I was broke and heartbroken, but my adventures with Quora helped me understand there’s more to life than job or studies. Even though my career seemed to be crumbling, I was experiencing things and emotions I never knew existed.
More possibilities opened up, and eventually, I was on a path that led me towards my life’s purpose.
Your side hustle can be the key to unlocking a different, richer, and more inspired life. It will make you happier and more fulfilled than ever.
You’ll learn to adopt the abundance mindset and welcome any opportunity that comes your way.
“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” — Albert Einstein.
When you start a side hustle, money shouldn’t be the primary goal. If you seek to be rich immediately, you’ll most likely be disappointed when that doesn’t happen. But worse, you’ll give up and turn a blind eye to these five hidden benefits that can actually turn your life around.
- You’ll learn discipline, consistency, and the benefits of practicing your craft daily without complaining if you don’t get immediate results.
- You’ll value your time more than ever.
- You’ll understand what you’re capable of, and your confidence level will reach insane heights.
- You’ll form meaningful friendships that can be a lifelong resourceful network.
- Your worldview will widen and you’ll learn to live in abundance.
If you’re someone who’s at the fence, I hope this article has motivated you enough to take action and start your side hustle today. If you’re already doing it, make sure you stay consistent, and cherish all the non-monetary benefits as they are more valuable than money.
If you’re already reaping benefits of hustling, feel free to add more to my list by leaving a comment below.