Lisa Robbin Young

What Is The Real Cost Of Your Side Hustle?

We all have our own business dreams. Maybe you're struggling to pull the trigger or have no idea how to start a business without compromising your ideals. I've been there! But, setting up your side hustle and working on it in the off hours, could be the springboard to something that’s worth going full time on.

At least, that sounds good in theory.

A side hustle isn't without consequences and opportunity costs. But, if you know what is going to cost you and how to keep that in mind as you work, you’ll be in a much better position for eventually launching your side hustle into a full-time income.

Time Costs

You're going to sacrifice your "off time" from your job and plow it into your side hustle. Is it worth it? Who will you not get to see? Who will you not get to spend time with because you're working your side gig? How long are you willing to let that go on? Is it worth it (to them as well as you)? This is time you will not get back. If there are other things you'd rather be doing, DO THEM. Regret is one of the biggest thief in anyone's life. Don't let it rob you of yours.

A side hustle can also cost you time and money by simply not valuing your time appropriately. Working dollars for hours is a hard row to hoe if you're not being well paid. Do the math: are the hours your investing in your side hustle paying off in ways that are equal or greater to the hourly rate you're currently earning at your job? If not, why not? What will you do differently?

Energy Costs

Side hustles also imply an energy cost. You have to dedicate not only your time and money, but also your psychic/mental/physical/emotional energy. Let's be frank: you only have so many spoons to go around!

If you’re a seasoned side hustler, you’ll know that doing two jobs at the same time is a challenge. You spend all day toiling in your day job and then have to spend yet more energy in the evenings and weekends trying to get your side hustle going. Dividing your time in this manner can take a toll on you!

Fortunately, there are ways you can save your energy for the tasks that really matter. Hiring a Squarespace website designer (or my wordpress site designer) for instance, is one idea. Allowing an accountant to manage the financial side of your business is another. Remember, the more tasks that you can pass over to other people, the more spoons you save for the truly important things in your business that only you can do. You can delegate or automate to free you up to serve your customers and clients in ways that only you can. 

Hard Costs

Whether you're paying for blog hosting, data storage or protection, licensing, certifications, or things like training and coaching, there are investments you need to make in your business even if it's just a side hustle. Those costs can make it a challenge to dive in - especially if they begin to outpace your current income.

A side hustle can start in seemingly small ways and quickly balloon into full-time projects that aren't making full-time income. Especially if you're still in a day job, you need to set and honor boundaries around your side hustle. That includes time boundaries as well as financial and energetic ones.

That may mean turning down or firing clients, or having "work hours" for your side hustle. It can also mean delegating or outsourcing if you've been trying to do it all yourself. Companies that offer hosting, storage, and managed IT services are all over the place (DreamHost and Dropbox for example). Automation tools (IFTTT and Zapier come to mind) make it easy to have those services all "talk' to each other and work together to save you even more time and energy. Sometimes it's worth a couple extra bucks to have everything integrated. Sometimes, it's not. Part of your job as the business owner is to know the difference and make the decision that best supports your company.

Sunk Costs

No, not SKUNK costs (although, they can stink!), but SUNK costs - an investment you've already made that you can't recover... like that annual non-refundable subscription that you barely ever use, or the time you've already invested in building up a social media presence on a particular platform only to have them make changes that make it harder to build your audience (Yeah, Facebook, I'm giving you the skunk eye!).

You get out of a side hustle what you put in, and if you’re not committed to being consistent with it, it will always feel like an uphill slog. Notice, though, I said consistent, not frequent. You don't have to work your side hustle every day. Find a frequency that works for you and be consistent with it. Face your fear of failure here; if the reason you don’t want to face your side hustle is due to the perfectionist that you are, let go a little, and make a plan

While a side hustle can appear to be the corporate escape hatch you've been looking for, it comes with its own set of issues. Stay true to why you developed the business in the first place. If you can't stay in alignment with both your values and your budget, it might be time to do things differently - or quit before you start.

I'm not trying to be a pessimist here. The reality is that ANY business requires an investment of resources. If you're not ready to make that investment for the long term, it's a cost you can avoid by not starting in the first place. On the other hand, if you're ready to make the commitment for the long haul, and want support to see you through to a full-time income doing what you love, consider joining us in the Creative Freedom Incuabtor. Doors are open for a limited time. We'd love to welcome you in!

You might also like:

MacGyver or Alias? Your brand "character" determines who are your raving fans


You Are The Most Important Product Your Company Offers


New for 2020: Creative Freedom Incubator LEVELS are here!