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Ensure a Positive Candidate Experience When Hiring Contingent Talent Remotely

As digitization, coupled with the global pandemic, propels contingent hiring online and with more individuals relying on employer reviewer sites to evaluate businesses, delivering a positive[...]

March 10, 2021

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Why Your Side Hustle Might Be Annoying People

Ah, the side hustle. It’s a buzzword we hear quite often today. A preliminary Google search will bring up hundreds of hits; articles describing how to find new opportunities, testimonials from hustlers that made it big and paid off their debt, even suggestions for finding the best gigs based on your astrological sign (I’m not kidding). The side hustle has become the waving flag of the gig economy, a battle cry shouted from mountain tops and touted as the only way to break free from the 9 to 5. It’s also become an annoying trend, and I’ll tell you why.

Tomayto, Tomahto

You can thank us millennials for the popularization of the side hustle. One could almost say that it’s a natural byproduct of the 2000s, when plummeting job rates, a rising cost of living, and changing technology created the perfect environment for new business ideas. It’s no wonder that millennials, many of whom were entering the workforce for the first time, had to get creative. Thus, the gig economy was born.

But let’s call it like it is - the side hustle is a glorified second job. It’s an old concept with a shiny new name. Side hustles have become so ubiquitous because most millennials can’t afford to live without one. Studies show that today’s 30-year-olds make roughly the same wage as a 30-year-old in 1984, yet we spend a lot more on rent, groceries, student loans, and other bills – ahem, NOT on avocado toast. Many of us have no choice but to pick up a second job. Being the creative thinkers that we are, we simply chose to brand it with a cool name.

So, What’s the Problem?

The problem is that the side hustle has gotten out of hand. The phenomena started out with respectable, legitimate gigs, like driving an Uber or doing some freelance editing on the side. Next came the creative endeavors, like selling handmade clothing on Etsy – also fine. Then came the concept of the lifestyle brand and the shameless self-promotion, and that’s where things got weird. It’s like living in some sort of side hustle version of Inception, where Leonardo DiCaprio is a life coach trying to sell you tummy-flattening tea, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is an Uber driver who wants you to buy his mixtape.

Don’t get me wrong, having a side gig is a good thing, especially if it’s something you enjoy doing. Aside from making you some extra cash, there are also psychological benefits to working a side job, like feeling fulfilled. Our generation grew up hearing we could do anything we set our minds to, and we believed it! But once we got into the job market (which was in crisis at the time), we quickly realized this wasn’t the case. Many of us had to take jobs we really didn’t like, just to keep a roof over our heads. The side hustle became a way to explore our passions and our hobbies, and maybe make some money off of them.

Here’s my qualm: not everything should be a side hustle. The market has become saturated with self-promotion and ads. It seems like every time you step outside, someone is trying to sell you something. Even big-name brands are capitalizing off of side hustle ad space. How do you know when it’s a legitimate side job or something that’s not doing anything but annoying people and stressing you out?

You’re Not Getting Anything Out of It

If you find yourself pouring hours and hours of effort into your project with very little ROI, it might be a hint that the good or service you’re selling is unwanted. A side hustle can be lucrative in two ways: financially or personally. Ideally, it’s both. If you’re not making much money from it, it should at least be something you look forward to doing each day, right? If the day ever comes where it’s no longer fun and you’re not making money, it’s probably time to say goodbye.

Your Day Job is Suffering

Your side hustle should be just that; something you do on the side. The only way a side gig should ever affect your day job is if it gets so darn successful that you have to quit. Take a step back and look at your work life objectively. Are you often working on side projects at your full-time job? Have you been neglecting your relationship with co-workers? Have you noticed a dip in your performance? If any of these are the case, you need to start rethinking your commitment your side job.

You’re Selling Junk

Sorry to be so frank, but it needed to be said. This is a tough one to ask yourself because in many cases, the junk might be something you’ve made. Now, it’s important to note that I’m not saying the quality of the product is junk; I’m saying it’s junk if there’s little to no market for it. Maybe it’s too niche of a product, or maybe there’s already a gazillion of them. Just look at how Etsy has affected the home crafts trend. To quote an article from Wired magazine:

“How many pieces of geometric jewelry with a pop of color can the earth bear? Will we ever see hand-drawn logos without antlers and arrows? How much barnwood must we salvage to atone for our crafty sins?”

If weaving wall hangings out of homespun yarn is your hobby, by all means, enjoy the hell out of it! Just do yourself a favor and think about whether it’s worth your effort to turn that hobby into a business. Keep in mind; this goes for selling anything online. If the product is too oversaturated or too weird, it’s not going to be profitable.

It’s Anything That Resembles an MLM

MLM is another fancy term for a well-known (and much-hated) concept: the pyramid scheme. MLMs are appealing to some wannabe entrepreneurs because they appear to be legit. You’re selling an actual product, so what’s wrong with it? In short, MLMs annoy the shit out of people. We all know that one person on Facebook who constantly posts inspirational quotes and is always DMing you about how you can “change your life” selling their skincare products. It’s a pyramid scheme that will leave you with boxes of unsellable stuff in your garage – don’t get involved, and if you already are, get out now.

Don’t Quit Your Day Job - Unless You Have To

A good side hustle can be a wonderful thing. It can put money in your pocket and inspiration in your veins. A bad one can drain you of both. Whether you’re selling something online, providing a service, or working a traditional side job, it’s important that you’re able to identify the difference between a successful side gig and a stagnant one. Until then, don’t quit your day job.







Scott Giroux
Scott Giroux
A long-time innovator with extensive leadership experience, Scott served on the executive team of a leading North American staffing firm prior to joining our team. At Crowdstaffing, Scott leads the company’s global operations and account management team and also drives growth of the talent supplier side of Crowdstaffing’s hiring marketplace. "There is so much untapped potential in our industry I’m thrilled to be part of a movement that is pioneering a connected marketplace for everyone in the hiring ecosystem."
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