A quote by one of my favorite authors (Anonymous) goes: “Find three hobbies you love: One to make you money, one to keep you in shape, and one to be creative”.

Personally, I think this is a great transition from how most people spend their free time: Netflix, Facebook, and News.

When we find a hobby that gets us moving, our energy levels increase. When we find a hobby that gives us a creative outlet, our brains come to life. And, when we find a hobby that makes money, we achieve ultimate freedom and flexibility.

I love side hustles. Why? Because they’ve not only supplemented my income, but they’ve been able to become my full-time income on multiple occasions while traveling, pursuing a dream job, or studying.

If you’re toying with the idea of launching a side hustle yourself, here are 6 great reasons to get started today!

1. You increase your income

Let’s start with the most obvious benefit of having a side hustle – you make money.

One of the most exciting and rewarding experiences is earning your first dollar from a new venture. Whether you’re driving for Uber, selling on Fiverr, or doing one of these other hundreds of activities, that first sale is a rush.

And it only gets better.

For many people, a side hustle adds 10-20% extra to their annual income. For others, it can double or triple their day-job salary.

By spending a few hours a week on a profitable hobby, you can quickly increase your earnings.

2. You save more money

Here’s something to think about: when you spend more time working, you have less time to spend your hard-earned cash.

Although you still want to maintain a well-balanced life, if a portion of your time is spent on your side hustle, you’ll likely spend less time shopping, spending money on in-app purchases, and going out to eat.

Additionally, managing a side hustle seems to increase your knowledge of your own finances. A steady paycheck can make us lazy when it comes to monitoring our bank account – but when you have extra income showing up in the bank, it’s hard to not pay attention!

3. You develop new skillsets

For the last several years, I’ve been a financial analyst. In other words, I do a lot of staring at spreadsheets.

Having a side hustle built around marketing, writing, and blogging has given me the ability to enhance my communication skills (and maintain my sanity) – a weaker area for some finance people.

By picking up a side hustle you have no choice but to learn about sales, learn how to communicate, and learn how to achieve whatever activity you’re pursuing. These added skillsets don’t only help you earn more with your hobby, they can also convert into promotions and raises at the office.  

4. You gain new experiences

Having a great story to tell can make you the life of any party – and your side hustle could easily give you those stories.

Whether you talk about the crazy Uber passenger you picked up, how your blog landed you a free vacation, or your recent project for an awesome startup, a side hustle gives you incredible experiences.

So why not make your life story a little more interesting? Earn a few dollars doing something unique, bizarre, and awesome.

5. You connect with like-minded people

It’s amazing how easy it is to find friends when you begin doing something you love. Why? Because you have another group to “talk shop” with – on a subject you enjoy. Start selling on Etsy and you’ll start building relationships with other artisans. Start a freelance writing gig and you’ll meet fellow writers.

And you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand the value of growing your network. The more people who know, the greater your impact on the world can be. From finding customers and partners, to landing jobs, the greater your social capital, the greater your ability to achieve what truly matters to you. And you have fun in the process!

6. You achieve freedom

The greatest reason to start your side hustle today is because it may be the secret to achieving your ultimate freedom.

Even if you love your job, there’s a good chance that you feel trapped at times. Whether that’s due to a full schedule or a limited bank account, you understand that you are fully reliant on your employer for your livelihood.

That doesn’t have to be the case. By starting a side hustle you give yourself a financial cushion, and an income to fall back on. Now, rather than working your 9-5 because you have to, you can do it because it’s something you truly enjoy.

How could you start hustling, right now?

Talk is talk, until it’s not. If you’re dreaming about growing your wealth, starting a business, or leaving your day job – stop it! Instead, go out and do something about it.

Whether you want to quit your job and become a digital nomad, or simply save up more for retirement, it’s time to get out there and start hustling.

So ask yourself this: what could I do right now to make my first dollar with a side hustle this week?

Now, go do it.

*This article first appeared as a guest post on MoneyCanBuyMeHappiness.com.

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