Help! I’ve got #SideHustle FOMO

It started with a Tweet – what’s your side hustle?

Twitter conversation about side-hustles.

I do love side hustle listicles, so that night in bed I decided to revisit some. A quick Google of “50 side hustle ideas” brings up some brilliant lists. I thought maybe I was being one of those people who automatically come up with excuses as to why side hustles won’t work for me. Was I self-sabotaging?

I started working my way through the ideas. All of my usual reasons were still there. Things hadn’t changed. Then I came across an idea I hadn’t heard of before – website user testing. I feel like I have the skills, and it sounds interesting. It also seems to pay a reasonable amount for a side hustle. They are upfront that you’ll never make a full-time job of it, but that’s OK. It’s not why I was looking.

It’s Not Why I Was Looking…

The next morning I got to thinking – why was I looking? Why do I read articles on side hustles? Why do I save lists of potentials in Evernote? Why did I use a sad emoticon in my Twitter reply when I said I hadn’t found one yet?

It’s Not for the Money

Let’s be honest – compared to what I earn in my job, anything I can pull in with a side hustle will be a minuscule addition. I don’t discount adding small amounts into our investment funds – I’ve done that by selling our clutter in Facebook Garage Sales.

But my full-time job uses 11 hours of my day. Blogging and associated activities take at least an hour a day. I try to sleep for 8 hours. I do some volunteer admin work daily. I try to spend a small amount of time learning every day. I like to spend some time with Mr. ETT and the cats, and that leaves household tasks, managing the finances and some TV to fill in the remaining hours. Clearly I don’t need a side hustle to fill in time, because I’m full.

It’s Not for Job Security

I appear to have been sucked into the fear of not having multiple income streams. What happens if I lose my job? I need to have something lined up (or more than one something) so I can just ramp up my side hustle and I’ll be OK. Except:

  1. While no job is guaranteed, I’m in what is likely to be one of the safest ones I’ll ever have. A job for life, if I want it.
  2. If I did lose my job, the first thing I would do is attempt to find another one. I’m not an entrepreneur. It’s not for lack of trying that I haven’t been able to identify a side hustle that fits my skill set and I’d enjoy. I don’t have the ability to open a small business.
  3. If worst comes to worst, at least I’m aware of the possibilities now. I’d be behind the eight-ball, but I’d do my darnedest to ramp up pretty quickly.

It’s Because Everyone Else is Doing It

I think that by reading about everyone else’s side hustles, I’ve bought into the idea that I’m missing out if I don’t have one. I love reading success stories from driven people who have turned an interest into an income-producing activity. I admire people who have a go, who have the drive and energy to see things through to a successful conclusion. Building a side hustle is the ultimate expression of “turning learning into action”. For someone like me who tends to research stuff to death, action is admirable.

I Have Enough

At this point in my life, a side hustle is not for me. I have enough money coming in. I have enough stimulating activities to keep me growing. I have a rich life. I have a plan in place to become financially independent without sacrificing a life well-lived now. My constant obsession with what “could be” (side-hustle) is taking away my focus on what “is” – my job and my life. I should stop worrying about not having a side hustle, and focus on what I do have.

I need want to stay aware of the potential of side hustles, because I never know when an opportunity will open up. However, I shouldn’t waste time actively pursuing something that won’t benefit me at the moment. I will continue to enjoy reading about others’ experiences, but no more anxiety. No more frantically looking for ideas. No more FOMO.

I don’t have a side hustle at the moment, and that’s OK.

Edit: after writing this, I realised I nearly plagiarised a post by Mrs. Picky Pincher. These thoughts are all my own, but her post must have been floating around in my brain. Sorry Mrs. Picky, but thanks for the inspiration!

19 thoughts on “Help! I’ve got #SideHustle FOMO

  1. I can definitely understand the sentiment. I want my household to have multiple income streams. But my wife and I both have incomes in addition to our investments so that’s covered. Beyond that though there’s really no reason for me to side hustle. Doing so would just take time away from my family. Doing so to say you have one is not the right way to be happy. It’s just a different type of keeping up with the Jones.

    • Darn those Jones’! I hadn’t thought about it that way, but you are absolutely right. This seems to be something I need to guard against, because I found my thoughts drifting that way again recently. It could also be because I’m drawn to shiny new activities as well.

  2. I hear what you’re saying, Mrs ETT – you don’t have to do something just because it seems like everyone else is doing it. Sometimes I read about the numerous side hustles people are doing and I guess they must not have time to do anything else, including (in my view) enjoying their lives! I now only have one side-hustle and I do it because the profits/income will help me get to my goal faster than if I were just investing with my average income.

  3. Can I copy+paste this post for my blog? This was me when I started reading PF blogs. I wanted to do SO MUCH MORE because everyone seems to be doing it. I wanted to have so many things lined up – including monetising my blog – because it seemed like the ‘right thing to do’. I stopped after I took a long break from blogging and realised that I have to go with priorities – my own priorities.

    Thanks for writing this. I feel so relieved that I’m not alone in feeling this.

    • Monetising my blog is something I keep thinking about too, either advertising or taking up some of the offers I get. Then I look at my blog and realise that I just can’t do it. Not here. Maybe one day I’ll start another website, but for now I’ll let that ship continue to sail on by! Thanks for letting me know that I’m not alone in feeling this either.

  4. I can’t tell you how much I love that you wrote this. About a year or so ago I got so burnt out on writing about side hustles because it no longer resonated with me, for the same reasons you pointed out. There is often way too much emphasis on being productive every single waking moment of the day, and it can make you think you’re doing something wrong for not having a side hustle. At the end of the day, you have to do what’s right for you. Not everyone is in the same situation!

    • I seem to be constantly torn between aiming for FI with everything I’ve got, and the reality which is I don’t want to do that! I do like being productive, but I find when I push myself too hard for too long, then I rebel against myself and stop all together. Seriously, if only I could control my crazy brain I wouldn’t have these conundrums. Thanks also for letting me know that I’m not alone in feeling like this.

  5. I have always had a side hustle. It took me almost 15 years of side hustling to come to the realisation that side hustling is not actually productive. You are constantly tired, you are not actually increasing your income by that much, especially if you are side hustling in the form of surveys or even part time retail jobs etc. My side hustles have changed over the years and have gone from retail, to running my own selling businesses, crafting jewellery (and selling them at markets), professional blogging, to giving private tuition to students (much more lucrative and this I will continue to do), and running my own bridal hairstyling and makeup artistry business. While the last two definitely do increase my income by a fair bit, I’m actually shutting the last one down. I have decided that enough is enough. I will continue teaching privately after official work hours because I am truly passionate about that, but other than that, I want my weekends. I want my down time.

    For years, the point of my side hustling was to build passive income. My choice of side hustle never yielded that though, and instead just required more and more time investment. It wasn’t till last year that I realised I needed to stop trading my physical and emotional self for money, I needed my money to work for me. Work smarter, not harder. Which is something I do feel like you are doing, so don’t FOMO, because you definitely aren’t missing out!

    • While I’m exhausted just reading your list, this is the type of expectation I’m internally setting for myself. When I think side hustles, your experience is what I think of. I’m really impressed at the range of skills you have, and your ability to market them. I’m glad you have found tutoring to be so satisfying – Australia needs as many teachers and tutors with a love of the job as we can get!

      Your comment about not being able to build passive income from those you chose to do cuts to the point of my concerns. Thanks so much for sharing your experience – sounds like you could blow this comment out into a full post on your site.

  6. I have a second job because it fits neatly into my life, I enjoy it and I like the extra money. If one of those 3 factors was no longer the case and it was tiresome, I hated it, or it wasn’t worthwhile on an hourly rate basis then I too would quit (this is what happened with me and surveys).

    The same with anything in life there isn’t a 1 size fits all approach and you have to do what works for your life and circumstances.

    • Miss B, what you’ve just said about your second job describes the volunteer work I’m doing (except for the money, of course). I enjoy it, and I can restrict or ramp up my involvement as time allows, which is the flexibility I’m after (it fits into my life). Maybe I should simply start thinking of my volunteer work as an unpaid side hustle!

  7. Ooh I used to be all about the side hustle. Mostly freelance writing, a bit of mystery shopping, tutoring etc. As my salary has gone up side hustling has made less and less sense, and I haven’t really made any side income in forever. And right now I just don’t have the energy/headspace for it! If opportunities come my way cool, but I’m not seeking any out. It’s not worth my time currently.

    • I did mystery shopping once when I wasn’t working for a bit. I didn’t find it particularly worthwhile, but that could be because I’m someone who hates shopping. It meant I had to make an effort to go out, because I wasn’t down the shops for something else.

      I share your views on the side hustle money vs. my job money, as well as the energy/headspace. Selling things on Facebook takes very little investment of either, and it accomplishes the slow declutter of our house. I don’t see that as a side hustle, though. Other than that, it would have to be something worth my time – which I don’t have enough of!

  8. Couldn’t agree with you more Mrs ETT and I’ve even got a post lined up on the topic so beware of plagiarism 😉 I’ve come to the conclusion that side hustles are awesome when they provide 1 of 2 things – a) money that you really need to pay off debts like credit cards in the short term or b) skills. I’ve similarly struggled to motivate myself to try some of the options because we just don’t need the money. I know my charge out rate at my day job which makes it even harder to do something for $10 an hour or whatever. I really like blogging as a side hustle on the other hand, because while it’s not making money at the moment, it’s adding to my skill set so it seems like the time invested is worth it.

    • Looking forward to your post, Eliza. We all write on the same topics so differently. It makes for an enjoyable read (and I copied Mrs. Picky Pincher, so who am I to judge?)

      I totally agree about the skills picked up while blogging. I’m constantly learning while I do this. It’s a hobby, but I definitely see it as a potential side hustle. I think setting up a website/blog would be one of the first things I tried if I ever really needed to make some money on the side. That’s something I feel I could ramp up quickly.

  9. I don’t think a side hustle is necessary at all. I think it can make us too busy and less happy.

    By all means if we have a hobby we’re good at, that can earn cash, then great. But to chase a side-hustle due to FOMO is ridiculous!

    Enjoy your job, partner, life and be happy I reckon. Later in retirement… that’s the time to be experimenting with side-hustles just for fun, because then there IS extra time 🙂

    Maybe I’m just kinda lazy, but I like to only do a couple of things. I guess investing is my main interest. Whether I make more money than the next person who is indexing, remains to be seen. But I focus on it so much purely out of interest.

    So do what you’re drawn to, don’t chase things 🙂

    You already know that though, cos you just wrote a good article about it. Haha

    • “Too busy and less happy.” This is a very easy trap to fall into (as she attempts to pull herself out once again.) In this respect, it’s like me trying to declutter the house. I don’t want to bring that “thing” in through the door, no matter how shiny or appealing it is – it’s just one more bit of clutter. The side hustle would be just one more bit of clutter in my life. But they are so shiny and appealing and I have to actively make the effort not to want one!

      I don’t think you are lazy at all. As you said, if you’ve found activities you enjoy doing and they filled your life, well and good. But isn’t the point of FI to have the time and space to do what you want (or don’t want) to do? It’s certainly why we’re working towards not needing to work.

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