Should You Take a Side Hustle?

Should you take a second hustle?

You’re in the dentist’s office, browsing the magazines and trying not to think about the co-pay for your upcoming filling. A headline catches your eye: “4 in 10 Americans Have a Side Hustle.” Before you get past the opening paragraph, you’re called to your appointment.

A day later, you’re talking to someone at work as you both walk to your cars. “Got to get home right away,” your co-worker tells you. “My new gig doesn’t wait!”

On the way home, your usual broadcast is interrupted by an ad: “Work from home and make extra cash. Contact us to find out more!”

Is the universe trying to tell you something?

You may have thought about taking on extra work, a second job, or a side hustle. Maybe a little gig on the side. You may especially be thinking about it when bills come due or when your paycheck can’t seem to quite stretch all the way to payday.

You’re not alone.

It’s a sad fact that no matter how hard you work, making it to your next paycheck is not guaranteed. You’re dedicated, talented, caring, and valued by your employer, but that doesn’t pay the rent or the new muffler on your car.

That may explain why the era of one full-time job seems to be over and many people work multiple jobs. In fact, 44 million Americans have a second job or side hustle. On the surface, it can seem like an appealing supplement to your regular work. The average side hustle takes 11 hours per week and can help workers get an extra $12,609 per year. Over $1000 a month can go far. Surely not going after that sort of money is ridiculous?

The Hidden Danger

Before you dive in, though, you might want to look at what’s behind the cheery posts and those news headlines. While side gigs can be a fun way to pursue a passion or to get more money, they are expensive. The time and energy you put into a second job has to come out of somewhere. More often than not, it comes out of time with your families and friends, self-care, sleep time, and relaxation.

You can give up an extra hour of TV a night, but what happens when you surrender your time with your family or shave off hours of sleep? What happens when you’re so busy you collapse or start getting distracted at work because you’re exhausted all the time?

And let’s take a closer look at those opportunities. To even land one, you need to figure out which ones are legitimate and which ones are not. Many of the ads for “work at home jobs” are thinly disguised ads for expensive courses which won’t put money in your pocket. Even some of the “at-home work opportunities” which do pay end up paying just a few dollars an hour—not enough to make a dent in the dentist’s bill.

Then there’s the biggest risk of all. Studies have consistently shown that working more than 39 hours a week can ruin your health, leading to everything from heart attacks and strokes to burnout and dangerous levels of distraction and fatigue. People who work more than 55 hours a week have a 40% higher chance of getting an irregular heartbeat.

Working harder is not the answer. Working yourself to a serious illness will not help anyone get ahead financially.

Walking Away from the Hustle

If you’re considering a side hustle because you’re worried about the bills, there are options. There are things you can do to get back on track while keeping your cardiovascular system healthy. One option is to take a second job with very limited hours. This can give you a small amount of extra money without impacting your life or your stress levels.

A better option is to manage time. Consider this: if you had more time to pay bills or if you got paid more often, wouldn’t you feel less stress about bills? Part of the equation isn’t just that you need more money to make payments but that you need to get payments in by a specific date to avoid penalties and extra fees. When you attack one of these two factors—amount or time—you relieve some of the stress.

The PayActiv benefit lets you change how you are paid by letting you access your earnings before payday. For a single $5 fee per payroll period you can use the benefit as many times as you like. You can even use the PayActiv app to get and pay for an Uber, shop on Amazon, pay bills, and more. By easing some of the payday pressure, the PayActiv benefit frees you up to focus on what matters—whether that’s pursuing a true passion project or spending time on you.

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