I have had a TON of side hustles in my lifetime. When I was a little kid, I sold baseball cards at school. I even made bracelets out of wires from the phone company and sold them to the other kids.
When I got older, I began creating art and selling it on the street of West Broadway in New York City. The way I saw it, I was going to create art anyway, so I might as well make money doing it! An added bonus was that I loved hanging out with other artists and meeting new people. I enjoyed living in New York City and spending time in SoHo.
Since then, I’ve started marketing businesses, worked as a DJ, and earned money swing dancing (both competing and teaching) — all in addition to my regular jobs.
Here are four reasons I believe everyone should have at least one side hustle:
1. Side hustles help you create a life you love
Why not get paid for the things you’re already going to do with your life anyway? If you enjoy doing something, spend a little time and energy getting good enough that others will pay you for it.
When I was into swing dancing, I was spending about $10,000 a year taking lessons and traveling all over the country to competitions. Once I got good enough to teach it, I was able to go to the same competitions for free and get my hotel rooms and flights comped. Instead of paying $10,000 a year, I began making $5,000 a year, just by taking something I loved to do anyway and turning it into a side hustle.
2. Side hustles can provide tremendous tax benefits!
One of the worst things about a W-2 is that you get all that income and have no way to write a lot of it off. By having a side business that legitimately makes you money and investing in it, you can write off more of your income.
The difference between a W-2 employee and a business owner is that the employee has to pay taxes first, then spend the rest, while a business owner gets to spend money first, then pay taxes on what’s left over. As a result, the difference in the taxes you pay is astronomical.
3. Side hustles can help you transition into retirement
A lot of people look forward their whole lives to retirement, but then they don’t know what to do with their time once they get there! Retirement doesn’t have to be about sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch. Instead, use that time to get rid of all the things you don’t want to do in life and keep only the things you‘re most passionate about.
If you’re in your 40s or 50s and you start building a side hustle now, by the time you get to retirement you’ll be a pro! You’ll keep a stream of income, continue to build relationships with great people, and maintain your excitement about life.
Plus, building a $10,000, $20,000, or even $30,000-a-year side hustle now can make a massive difference in how much money you’ll get to have and spend during your retirement years. You won’t have to pull as much money out of other assets, like life insurance or the stock market.
Not only can side hustles help you continue to create life satisfaction and meaning in retirement, but they can also help you keep creating income and getting those tax advantages.
4. Side hustles can help offset the type of income you have
A lot of our clients at Big Life Financial have great W-2 jobs with a steady income, but they also have streams of passive income like real estate properties, books, or online courses.
By adding these income streams, they are able to write off a lot of expenses that they wouldn’t have been able to write off with just their W-2 jobs. They can take the dollars that would be taxable and get them offset with some of those passive losses.
This combination of both having a steady stream of side income and offsetting your losses through tax advantages can be very powerful, especially if you are in the process of trying to eventually transition from your W-2 job to your side hustle as your main gig.
What if you’re not sure what to do for your side hustle?
In my experience, many people don’t know themselves, what they truly enjoy, or their purpose in life well enough to even know what kind of side hustle they’d like to create. A lot of people get stuck before they even begin.
If you’re not sure what you might want to do as a side hustle, I would highly recommend meditation, which I’ve been practicing for years now. Once you’ve figured out who you are and why you’re here on this earth, it becomes a lot easier to build a life you love — through your side hustle and even your main stream of income.
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