Richard Liu
Why Millennials Are Obsessed with Side Hustling Richard Liu


Either you’re doing it or someone else you know

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

Side hustling has become a major term in any millennial’s vocabulary. Either you’re doing it or you know someone who is doing it and it can come from people from all walks of life from teachers, nurses, and accountants.

I have friends who range from selling decor online to selling handcrafted products at the local markets.

But this trend is not completely new.

Having a second income stream has been around for decades.

This was especially apparent in working-class families where many had to work second jobs to make ends meet.

But with the era of the internet/gig economy and the ability to make something out of nothing, millennials are taking over and finding new ways of creating new income streams.

Photo by Jametlene Reskp on Unsplash

The growth of side hustling has come from a variety of sources. One example is from influencers like Gary Vaynerchuk.

As an internet motivational speaker, he provides free advice targeted towards millennials looking to do more with their life beyond a 9 to 5.

Other sources come from the ease of access to websites like Fiverr, Freelancer and more that assist you to find gigs to work on.

But what are the motives of all this side hustling?

Many points towards financial independence; the hustle to make extra income or extra money.

A common question that is Googled or Reddited are along the lines of:

“How Do I Make An Extra Few Hundred To Pay My Bills”

This is a common assumption but I can attest that although this could be a reason, it’s usually not the main one.

If you look at how much time is poured into these side hustles, more than often, the ROI in the short term is not worth it.

Many times, you’re more than likely to be working under minimum wage with the hours spent on your side hustle compared to the financial return you’re getting back.

Why do we put ourselves into hours working outside of work into something that doesn’t provide the same financial return as your full-time role?

From research and conversations I have with others, there are two other reasons I have mainly found.

Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash

In Glamour Magazine, it was mentioned that if you don’t participate in the freelance trend, it might lead to a “Millennial identity crisis”. For many, side hustling may give some financial returns but its worth much more than that.

Yes, it’s a bit corny but there is some truth to this.

The psychological benefits of avoiding this reality and being able to shape your life into what you want it to be are priceless.

“I think it’s to do with people wanting more in their life,” says Paula Brough, professor of organisational psychology at Griffith University.

“Especially if their substantive role isn’t perhaps as fulfilling.”

Millennials are no longer content working 40 working hour weeks.

If their normal full-time work doesn’t provide them the life-juice they need, many resort to side hustling to fill that much-needed void.

“This next generation, they’re not content with working 40-, 50-, 60-hour weeks, they want to have some meaning to life” — Cameron Turner, a business lecturer in entrepreneurship

This means staying happy and feeling fulfilled with life, working on projects on the side that could provide them this extra boost.

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

Although many find a side hustle fulfilling, not many see it as a full-time gig.

But in many cases, side hustling can turn into your own business.

This could be scaling your E-commerce store or taking on enough clients for your freelance business. For startups, it could be reaching a certain amount of revenue before going full-time.

Many times, these businesses are something you have a passion for.

In the best-case scenario, it is the golden ticket to working for yourself.

Many Millenials now expect much more from their jobs including career progression, learning opportunities, and recognition.

If not, many would willingly leave their employers and use the gig economy as a potential full-time alternative.

62% of millennials who would willingly leave their employers within the next 2 years regard the gig economy as a viable alternative to full-time employment (Deloitte)

People are increasingly looking to do work that is worthwhile and challenging so if full-time work isn’t doing this, Millenials have an avenue to do this and this is exactly what they’re doing.

Here are some other interesting statistics:

  • 79% of Gen Z and Millennial employees said an increase in recognition rewards would make them more loyal to their employers (daVinci Payments)
  • 36% of workers and nearly half of millennials would consider quitting a job that didn’t provide learning opportunities (Docebo)
  • 70% of millennials said a company’s sustainability would impact their decision to stay with a company for the long haul (Swytch)

But it’s important that once it reaches this stage, it should be a combination of love and money that got you there.

I have seen many who attempted to do their own business, hated it, and went back to an employer.

The most important thing is, your side hustle is not meant to become a chore but something you should enjoy doing, especially if you take it into a full-time gig.

That is why the ones that ultimately succeed are working on something they have a passion for.



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