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How a side hustle can help your career

How a side hustle can help your career

Once upon a time, a good career was like jelly. Simply set, and forget.

These days are over. If you have entered into the workforce in the last ten years, chances are your career journey looks pretty different to your parents. And if it doesn’t yet, it will do soon, with the rise in technology and automation are drastically changing the way we work and do business.

But what does this mean for you?

Whether you are freelancing or living the corporate dream, this new era of working demands one important skill: the ability to never stop learning new things.

Just like how we do business has changed, the way we learn has changed. These days, University isn’t the only way to develop your skills. As a lifelong learner, the critical thing is that you are prepared to jump in, push yourself and not be afraid to get your hands dirty. 

This is where a side hustle comes in. A side hustle could be a number of things, from starting a business on the side, doing some freelance work or getting a passion project off the ground. Even if you love the corporate world and have no desire to go out on your own, a side hustle or passion project hones your entrepreneurial skills — which is rapidly becoming one of the most sought after attributes of employees.

Ready to build your career skills? Here’s why you should consider a side hustle

1. You will expand your horizons with your side hustle

A side hustle is a great way to upskill in areas that you are interested in outside your work, or simply don’t have time to develop during your busy day. These new found skills may help you get ahead in your current role, or like me, you could use your side hustle as a launch pad for an entirely new career. Even if you are simply embarking on a pure passion project, don’t underestimate the impact this will have on your day-to-day routine.

Swapping mindlessly scrolling through social media in your spare time for something you love will generate new energy that will impact all areas of your life!

It’s also a great way to get outside your comfort zone and grow your networks by meeting other like minded people. Whether you choose to join an online group for business owners or go to a local meetup, not only will you open your mind to new possibilities, but you will also stay ahead of the pulse by learning from leaders in your area.

2. Learn new and transferable skills with your side hustle

Have you identified a skills gap, or perhaps you have found a new area you would love to learn more about? A side hustle is a great way to learn by doing: all you need is a bit of grit and perseverance.

Say you want to do some consulting or coaching, the first thing you need is a website. Suddenly you find yourself learning how to code, copywriting, SEO, managing social media and communications, even honing your negotiation skills to get your talented friends to help! If you are used to working with a big team, being solo can be intimidating, but hugely satisfying as your skills grow.

Many organisations these days are looking for “intrapreneurs”: people who take an entrepreneurial mindset and apply it to business challenges in their job. Whether your side hustle involves developing and selling a product, or centres around your skills as a service, think about what problem are you trying to solve? Develop a solution, then test and refine. This type of thinking will ensure that you stand out at work for years to come.

3. Build your confidence with your side hustle

A side hustle can be a huge confidence boost. It can also help build your personal brand, which is critical for moving into leadership roles at work or help you build a profile beyond your current role and be business ready for your next challenge.

When I started blogging years ago, I was amazed at the confidence boost it gave me. I went from going through the motions at work, to being full of ideas and ready to try new things. It gave me the confidence to put myself out there, both on and offline. This new found confidence and enthusiasm will have both your new customers and your old colleagues, sit up and take notice!

4. Take control

Finally, when you work for a large company, or simply don’t have a lot of control over your work and priorities, it can be hard to feel real ownership of your work. At the start of my career, I often felt like a number… and a billable one at that! In this environment, it can feel like your personality or approach isn’t valued or important.

A side hustle allows you to break free from this routine and really test yourself. After all, what have you got to lose?

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