Side Hustle Culture: Has the 'Side Hustle' become a necessity?


1 job, 2 jobs, 3 jobs, 4. Whether for monetary reasons, or simply in search of a path to better one’s life, side hustles are a big cultural norm these days. In fact, I just saw an ad selling “the secrets to dropshipping for a second income stream” while watching Instagram stories. The side hustle culture has infiltrated every facet of our lives, so much so that people are selling the “secrets” to it.

Having more than one job, or small jobs in addition to one primary job, is nothing new, though. Successful people have been benefiting from and recommending that others create multiple streams of income for years now. The ways we go about it have drastically changed, thanks to technological advances that have made it possible to work from almost anywhere. You could turn a side hustle into a budding business, pack up a van, and work your digital business from any Starbucks across the nation at this point - and people are doing exactly that every day. But why is the side hustle culture so appealing now?

Simply put, this is not your Granny’s America anymore. Between inflation and needing higher higher education to become gainfully employed, there is a big, empty gap. That wage and wealth gap increases a need for some to take on more jobs in order to make more money just to meet their basic needs. Since this isn’t the “work hard and survive” era, millennials have had to figure out how to make ends meet AND how to spark joy in their own lives by finding fulfilling employment or entrepreneurial endeavors, even if it’s just part time.

Side hustles are appealing because they bridge that income gap. Some side hustles spark hope that maybe you can become your own boss and end the tireless 9 to 5 drag. For example, someone starts their own digital marketing company and grows it in every spare moment so that it can create more income than their day job and eventually quit it. Other side hustles, like making and selling crafts a few seasons out of the year, may fill a creative void that some people aren’t able to express during their 9 to 5, even though they love and want to keep their day job. Some, such as being a rideshare driver on your day off, are simply meeting needs, whether you like them or not.

While many outlets have been calling “side hustles” toxic, it’s honestly just a survival tactic for many. Some side hustles look glamorous with instagram photos and captions depicting the success stories of people who turned their side hustle ideas into wildly profitable businesses. The toxicity comes from thinking this is how all side hustles work, because that’s the furthest thing from the truth. Becoming an entrepreneur, however, is a risk - and risks can either succeed or fail. Just like a 9 to 5 where you report to a higher up, you have to be accountable in your side hustle if you want it to flourish. Whether it’s part-time, or if you have dreams of making it your only job, you have to show up and do the hard work. Uber is not going to pay you if you’re not driving. Or, how old Kanye put it, “ain’t no loans for sitting your a**” at home.”

You gotta work.

What will the future of side hustles be? Technology will continue to influence the types of side jobs that are possible. Ownership is a powerful tool, so even if people only start a small side hustle, it gives them more rights in their own life than if they were depending solely on one job alone. When viewed seriously, and not through rosy social media lenses, side hustles help people thrive. What are some successful (or unsuccessful) side hustle ventures that you’ve taken on? Let us know in the comments below!