Let’s face it. Life’s expensive. Earning extra cash may be necessary, and having a side hustle that you enjoy helps can help create work life balance.
Let’s face it. Life’s expensive and saving money is hard. By the time I’m done paying for my rent, utility bills, student loans, groceries and other necessary life costs, I’ve saved nothing and I’m strapped for cash. Cue Operation Savings, which means searching for a side hustle.
But just as life is expensive, life is too short to take on a second job you hate with responsibilities that are tedious. Saving time and money as a millennial is necessary, but having a side hustle you enjoy is important to your overall happiness, too. I should know–I’ve been at it for over four years. Here’s why it’s important to pick side jobs that matter to you.
It lets you hone a different skill you enjoy.
Some of my favorite childhood memories happened at summer camp. From starting as a camper to working as a counselor throughout high school and college, I loved everything from the mulch in my shoes to the smell of chlorine permanently in my hair. With that, unsurprisingly, the pool was my favorite aspect of the day.
When I was a camp counselor, I became a certified lifeguard as a way to save some extra money. I then became Water Safety Certified so I could teach campers how to swim during my group’s assigned pool period–and I loved it. My last summer working at the camp, it not only felt like the end of an era, but I also felt like I was closing the door on an activity I came to love and wanted to continue to learn about. What I didn’t realize at the time is that I didn’t have to turn my back on swimming at all. In fact, I could make my own business out of it.
Between graduation and my first job, I started offering private swimming lessons to families, and going directly to their pools. I soon found out that my passion for teaching swim could also be a lucrative one, pulling in up to $25 per lesson, per child. I was finally adding to my savings. During that time, I also used teaching as a lesson in simplifying and explaining concepts–something I do every day as a writer.
With the start of my first job, I continued to teach private swim lessons and worked part-time teaching swim at a local fitness center in order to use the extra income as my monthly deposit. Ultimately, I stopped teaching private swim lessons after that first year in order to focus on freelancing, but the work ethic, organization and patience it taught me at the time–not to mention some of my adorable students–is something I will never forget.
You won’t burn out.
I’ve made it halfway through this article without mentioning I do CrossFit (so proud), but the time has come. CrossFit is my fitness of choice. The high-intensity functional fitness routine is, however, expensive to be a part of, and as a 20-something it wasn’t fitting my budget and savings plan. So to help ease the cost, I became part-time staff in charge of writing and editing my gym’s monthly newsletter.
I’ve now been writing “The Hook” for four years. Four years is a long time to be doing the same side hustle and still enjoy it. I never resent the extra work, or fitting in writing after a full day of reporting because I am writing about a topic I love for people I love. I’m immersed in the community and get to nerd out about everything from movement mechanics to nutrition tips–all topics I myself seek out and want to learn more about.
Many people think they need to be in love with their main job in order to have a fulfilling life. From my personal experience, that’s not always the case. But if you can surround yourself with passions outside of work–whether that’s fitness training, performing music, or making knit hats–and then potentially monetize them, that sounds like a pretty fulfilling existence to me.
It’s a way to stay connected with friends.
Boston.com was my first job after graduation and it will always hold a special place in my heart. The office itself was lackluster and windowless, but the people inside it were bright, funny, and warm. During those two years, my coworkers felt like family. So when I ultimately decided to take the next jump for my career, I was excited but heartbroken to leave. I wanted to stay connected with these people on both a personal and professional level.
My current side hustle is freelancing, which has allowed me to stay in touch and contribute to the site that I still feel a strong personal connection to, in addition to adding to my saving account. Though no longer full time, taking on freelance articles with Boston.com has allowed me to continue to learn from my favorite editors and write about Boston-centric topics that I no longer cover in my day-to-day reporting. I’m also aware that during busy times of the year, I am not the best when it comes to keeping up with friends, even though they still remain important to me. Freelancing with this team acts as a friendly reminder to myself to check in and take a breather.
Meagan McGinnes is a freelance writer with interests in New England culture, locally sourced food, the environment, fitness, and storytelling. She’s a foodie who shares her love of snacks as a senior reporter at Project NOSH—a trade publication by BevNET that covers natural, organic, healthy, or sustainable packaged food companies and products. Follow her @meaganmcginnes.
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