Nov 20, 2018 | By: Keri Koen for Ellevate
Professionals create opportunities outside of their “main” career for many different reasons, such as generating additional income or utilizing skills beyond the scope of their industries. Working in financial services and coming from a legal background, I gravitate toward opportunities that allow me the space to be creative and to cultivate community.
But your side hustle doesn’t have to be just for personal fulfillment. In fact, it can help you to develop the skills you need to advance in the workplace, which is great for your employer in the long-run.
Here’s a few ways that your career may actually be benefitting from your side hustle.
Side hustles help you build confidence.
It can be difficult to try something new or take a risk in your career. This is your main source of income, and jeopardizing your reputation with a “failure” can have significant consequences, whether real or perceived.
side hustle offers you the freedom to take chances, and any successes add up to more confidence in that skill set. This sense of personal achievement will carry over to other areas of your life, including your career.
Side hustles develop your sense of independence.
For most of us, our career offers us the safety net of not being the final decision maker. There is a corporate hierarchy and, even when we’re asked our opinion, there are other stakeholders spreading risk and responsibility thin. But your side hustle puts you in the position of entrepreneur. What to do, how to do it, and who to do it with – these decisions all lie with you.
For those that can manage this type of freedom and responsibility, small successes and “right” decisions can have an immediate psychological impact and give you the confidence to make decisions in your career and put you on a path toward more senior roles.
Side hustles allow you to develop new skills.
Those risks that build confidence and independence are also helping you to develop new skills and improve upon others. A side hustle offers you opportunities outside of your day-to-day.
One of the biggest obstacles I faced with my side hustle was talking about it. Seriously. I was terrified of sounding “sales-y.” In facing this fear, I developed skills around pitching my ideas that I’ve successfully translated to my career.
Once I let my guard down, my side hustle also benefitted from more genuine interactions with others and a growing community. In the office, I’m raising my hand for new opportunities and not shying away from experiences I previously would have considered myself unqualified for. My experience helps me to distinguish myself by contributing a unique perspective and set of skills.
Side hustles give you a space to practice authenticity.
That sounds weird, right? Why would you need to practice being authentic? Well, it can be hard to bring your whole self to an office environment.
I grew up believing that career and personal life should always be separate. While that may make sense theoretically, in practice it leads to lacking true relationships in the office, where your network is everything. My side hustle has taught me how to show up authentically, bring myself to my professional relationships, and allow for real connections.
Of course, not everyone reciprocates. But you learn quickly who your network is, who you can rely on for support, and who will offer you help in climbing the ladder.
If you are pursuing a side hustle in addition to your career, there are several pitfalls to avoid.
- Don’t go after an opportunity purely for the income. A side hustle should be something that you’re passionate about and that rewards you financially. If you don’t love the work or it isn’t paying off, you won’t stick with it.
- Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day – time is the one thing you can’t make more of. Be realistic about setting goals and understand where your limits are to avoid burnout or disappointment.
- Side hustles, especially when they are new and exciting, can consume your time and attention. Set clear boundaries around the time you need to dedicate to advancing your career.
Balancing a career and a side hustle can be financially valuable and personally rewarding when you find the right opportunity. What dreams are you pursuing?
Kerri Koen is a Vice President and strategist in financial services, where she is passionate about creating innovative initiatives that support diversity of thought and elevating the women around her. Kerri’s side hustle is New England Essentials, a brand focused on supporting wellness and empowering women to be leaders.You can follow Kerri on Instagram and Twitter at @kerrikoen.