Why Side Hustles are Required for Modern Millennials

Job security isn’t what it used to be. When our parents started their careers, it was common for someone to stay at one job for many years. I once had a boss who had been at the company more than 40! Between job security and pensions, there was no reason to jump ship from a good employer.

But it’s no longer the good old days. It’s the 2010s and Millennials can’t count on employers the same way Baby Boomers did. If you’re a Millennial, you’re responsible for your own destiny. As a part of controlling your financial future, side hustles are no longer optional. Every Millennial should have a side hustle.

start a side hustle

This is a guest post from Eric Rosenberg, a finance writer at Personal Profitability, InvestmentZen, and other personal finance, technology, and travel publications.

Create multiple income streams

In my career, I’ve once been let go from a job. It was a Friday in July 2014. I’ll never forget the feeling of shock when they told me it would be my last day at the company. But before I left the room, I already started thinking about how I could grow my side hustle to help make up the difference in income.

Thanks to my side hustle income streams, I didn’t have to worry too much about money when I lost my job. I started a new job almost exactly one month later to the day and spent half of the month in between working on my side hustle from the beach in Southern California.

If it hadn’t been for side hustles, I would’ve come home on that fateful day in a dire mood. Thanks to side hustles (and my emergency fund), I knew I could hold out just fine for at least a few months until I found something new.

Build an income to pay off debt and boost savings

Over the course of my life, I’ve taken on about $50,000 in debt. My first loan was a $10,995 car loan. After that, I took on $40,000 in student loans to help pay for my expensive private school MBA. Thanks to side hustles, I was able to pay off my debt, save for retirement, and have a few bucks left over at the same time. I paid off my car in half of the five years I was allotted and my student loans two years and six days after graduation.

With a healthy side hustle income, you don’t have to stress quite so much about your budget. Over the years, my side hustle income grew from $7,000 per year to $40,000 per year. In that time, I slowly increased my 401(k) savings at work and began to contribute the maximum $5,500 per year in my Roth IRA.

It can be hard to get ahead of debt and savings on a tight budget. You can cut your spending, earn more, or do a combination of the two. I’m a big fan of earning more myself.

Expand your empire to quit your job

Something unexpected happened from my side hustle. When I hit $40,000 in revenue at the end of 2015, I realized I was making as much as the average person with a full-time job in Portland. I had caught up to my salary from my first job out of college, though by this point I was earning a lot more thank $40,000 per year as a Senior Financial Analyst.

But it made me start to wonder… what if?

At that point, I was only spending about 10-20 hours on my side hustles most weeks and was still able to pull in a livable income. But if I quit my job and walked away from my salary, would my side hustle grow enough to make up the difference?

I found out when I had my last day at my old job on April 8, 2016. That was the day I literally walked out of the corporate world and into the unknown challenges ahead from taking my side hustle full-time. It turned out to be a great decision. It took about six months to make up my old salary in addition to what I had been earning as a side hustle. I now work less and make more than I have ever made before. And it all started as a side hustle.

You don’t need a ton of time to side hustle

When I started my first side hustle, I had a full-time job. I kept my personal finance blog going while holding down a full-time job and full-time grad school schedule, and even graduated with my MBA one term early. If I can side hustle while going to work and school full-time, you can find a few spare hours here and there to work on a hustle.

One of the best decisions I ever made was to cut cable. Not only have I saved over $5,000 that I would have handed over to the cable company, I used my newfound time to improve both my social life and side hustles. If I hadn’t done that, I might be like an average person who spends hours every day in front of the boob tube. I don’t need that, I’d rather earn a few bucks with my hours than squander them watching crappy, commercial filled TV on someone else’s schedule.

Get started with your first side hustle

Getting started with your first side hustle may seem overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t have to be. I even put together a list of 137 side hustle ideas to get you started! It all starts with the first dollar.

[Note from Martin: I get bored with talking about saving money because there are only so many ways that you can save a few bucks. We all know that you should spend less than you earn. The problem is that most of us don’t earn enough. When you earn more and have a system in place for saving money, you’re going to be able to amp up your savings and to enjoy life more. You also open yourself up to freedom when you build a side hustle that makes real money. Freedom in the sense that you can quit that job that you hate. Get out there and begin building out that side hustle if you haven’t started yet. Matt quit his job to make tables, and Theo started his own tutoring company.]

“I’m from where your hustle determines your salary.” — Rick Ross

4 thoughts on “Why Side Hustles are Required for Modern Millennials”

  1. Thanks Martin. Definitely agree with you. Everyone needs at least one side hustle. Not only does it make you more productive and stimulate your mind but you never know when your luck might run out in your job. Protect yourself. Get a side hustle going – mine’s tutoring!

  2. It’s so important to generate income from multiple places if you plan on building wealth. Unfortunately, most people don’t understand this (and many that do don’t have the time). I always wanted to start my own business but was caught in the cycle of thinking about the perfect idea.

    It’s all about action at the end of the day. Once you start doing one thing, you’ll discover something else and that will lead to more ideas. I finally got started 4 months ago and while I’m busier than ever, it’s not a drag because it doesn’t feel like work. It becomes an extension of your growth and who you are.

    Overall, you wrote a great message that many more people need to hear!

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