All artists have our main art forms. This is where our passions most directly mesh with our skills.
Most artists also have our day jobs, which are our main sources of income. Some of us are blessed to have day jobs that are also part of our arts career, or to have a second calling outside the arts that we are equally passionate about. Others simply see their day job as the way they finance their art work.
Many of us have hobbies within the arts. These are the art forms we practice, but are not able to do on a professional level, for whatever reason. Maybe we do not have the skill level or talent to be professional. Perhaps we just don’t have the interest in that particular art form needed to reach that level. But we still enjoy them and can do them at least fairly well.
These are the types of work we know all about as working artists. But job boards, career groups, and other online places that address money or work seem to focus a lot on “side hustles” today. What exactly is a side hustle? And how can you find one that might work for you?
A side hustle is any work you do outside of your career, your day job, and your hobbies, with the lone goal of bringing in more money. But everything that might bring in money isn’t necessarily a good side hustle for everyone.
Side hustles should be at least somewhat enjoyable.
The work is not a side hustle if it offers you the opportunity to do something that is your passion and your life’s work. That’s another gig or project or job within your career. But a side hustle does not have to be completely out of your fields either. In fact, many side hustles branch off from something you already do, either professionally or as a hobby.
I write novels, write for and about Utica artists, and teach writing skills to adults as my art career. The teaching is also my main source of income, or day job. I sing as a hobby. If I were to offer writing that had nothing to do with the arts or local artists, tutoring in something besides writing, or virtual assistant services to musicians, those would be side hustles.
Other side hustles might fall completely out of your field, but still be something you enjoy working on. Some people find thrift store flipping to be a pleasant way to make some extra cash. Between projects or gigs, or for a break, they scour yard sales and thrift stores for items that need small repairs, cleaning, or other alterations to be restored to a nearly new condition, do the work, and then re-sell the items for a profit. Those who love working with the public might sign up to drive for a ride share or delivery service as a side hustle.
Work done as a side hustle is generally not steady or long-term.
Most people launch side hustles when they either need some fast cash, or just want some extra money. People who are looking for a way to pay their regular bills, or wanting to meet expenses and guarantee a steady flow of extra cash, are looking to increase their income from their career and/ or day job, not a side hustle. While some people have managed to prove that statement wrong, most side hustles are at least focused on short term or smaller gains in the beginning.
Even those who set up a permanent side hustle do so with the understanding that each project or job may not last long or bring in steady income. You might be a musician as your career, work in a garage as a mechanic as your day job, and decide to bring in some extra cash driving as a side hustle. You will probably work in the same garage for years. Your music will last as long as you play. You may drive and make deliveries to bring in extra money for years too, but chances are you’re going to need to do some of that driving for Uber, some for Door Dash, and some for GrubHub in order to make the work last.
Side hustles are not necessarily easy or free to start.
Just as with any other type of work, the money and/or effort you have to put into it is going to vary with the type of work you do. Starting your own business is going to require an investment of time and probably money, even if you only plan to work one day a week once things get going. Members of groups devoted to side hustles report that start-up cash is one of the main things holding them back from launching a side hustle.
Starting a side hustle that requires you to seek steady jobs or clients, such as waiting tables on the side, or offering your services as a tutor or personal assistant, are going to necessitate the same job application process or client aquisition process you would need to go through if this were to be part of your regular work. This can take time and effort to secure.
Multi-level marketing does not make a good side hustle.
Avoid anything described as multi-level marketing, relationship marketing, network marketing, or dual marketing. These are all different terms for the type of work you get when you sign up to sell Amway, Avon, Mary Kay, Tupperware, Primerica Insurance, Beach Body services, Arbonne, Farmasi, or Younique.
You will find representatives for each of these companies who will tell you their brand actually offers a wonderful side hustle. They will also tell you it’s the path to a whole new career if you tell them you’re leaving the arts, and the perfect day job to finance an arts career if you hate your current day job. If you tell them you just want to feel more attractive, their company will somehow hold the solution to that too, even if they do not sell cosmetics. None of this is true. Most people who sign up to sell for one of these companies will lose money, and the few who make money will find they work long and hard for very small amounts. The real money in an MLM is made from signing people up and manipulating them into making purchases to keep inventory and/or maintain their status as a representative. Even if you can talk yourself out of the fact that this is deceitful and disrespectful to other people, remember that only the top one per cent ever even manage to do this to the extent that they make a significant income.
It is important to be careful who you tell that the work is a “side hustle.”
You see the work as a side hustle. Everyone at your day job, your fans and/or clients, and all your friends and family members see the work as a side hustle. The person paying you or supervising you may or may not see it that way.
Avoid telling interviewers for jobs or potential clients for services that you have started a new “side hustle” or that you’re looking for a “side job.” Even if it’s obvious to them, or they already know you and are well aware that this work is going to done on the side of your day job and/or the work of your career, making sure they get that sends the message that you don’t take the work seriously. If I temporarily offer articles about romance scam prevention, cults, or any other issue I research to people who are not Utica artists as a side hustle, I need to send them the same pitch I would send a local artist. When I say “side hustle” I may only mean that I’m offering this service on a temporary basis. What the site owner might hear is, “It isn’t important to me to do a good job on your article. I’m not going to bother to research thoroughly or take the time to write a strong piece because this isn’t meant for Utica artists.”
Announcing that you are only looking for side work when applying for an entry level job in customer service is an almost guaranteed way to get your application and resume thrown out without a second glance. Giving the impression that you’re willing to practically live there seems to be the main requirement for the job.
Whether you take a job on a temporary basis, start a business, or complete a single money raising project, side hustles can do everything from bringing in a little spending money to financing your next project. If you’re honest about what you enjoy doing and how much you’re willing to invest in a side hustle, it may be the way to get that needed financial boost.