Some 44 million Americans are currently holding down side hustles in addition to their main source of income. This type of work appeals to anyone who wants to earn an extra buck, and is particularly attractive to millennials, whose money woes eclipse those of generations before them.
Simple recently surveyed a panel of millennials who have side hustles for their Behind the Side Hustle study, exploring reasons for pursuing a second job and feelings about balancing multiple workloads. Unsurprisingly, they found that 80 percent of millennials do so to bring in extra money. Six in 10 of these hustlers explained that they aren’t happy with the earnings from their main job, while a quarter went so far as to say that they’re struggling to make ends meet.
Thus, it’s safe to say that money motivates. But what else do young people gain from their side gigs?
Some of the most well known brands in the world were born out of side hustles. Facebook, Craigslist and Imgur were all launched by entrepreneurs pursuing ventures alongside their everyday schedules. In Facebook and Imgur’s case, this took place on a college campus, while Craig Newmark set up Craigslist in his spare time outside work.
Below are five ways that side hustles can set millennials up for a more successful entrepreneurial career.
Side hustles teach a strong work ethic
Working a side hustle is a great way to learn about time management, and nothing demonstrates self-discipline like the ability to juggle more than one job. Millennials who work side gigs are also used to having to work hard to achieve their goals. This means they’ll face fewer nasty surprises when they find themselves working crazy hours to get their first venture off the ground.
There are countless other business lessons that can be learned working a second job. In our survey of side hustling millennials, we also found that 45 percent had become more organized as a result, while 44 percent said that their side gig taught them skills that make them a more valuable employee. This sort of insight can be a useful tool for making important business decisions down the line.
It can kick-start finances
Side hustles allow young people the financial freedom to help pursue their dream, as they can work on their new venture whilst living off of their main source of income. And even millennials with side gigs in unrelated fields can work toward their goals: this secondary income can be added to a savings account and then put toward launching their first business.
There’s more time to learn
Although many millennials pursue their dream career as a side hustle rather than a full-time gig due to financial constraints, there are also fewer risks associated with this route. This is because it means there’s more time to learn, so although growth and progress may be slower, any important business decisions are likely to be better informed and more carefully considered.
By gradually reducing their hours in the main role as the businesses grows, millennials can benefit from an extra layer of security. Many of the millennials we surveyed acknowledged that they needed this period of time to learn and grow. Speaking about this balancing act, one said, “It’s my passions and what I want to do for my career, but I need a full-time job while I get established in my side hustle.”
There’s less pressure
Quitting your day job to go it alone full-time is a big risk and puts an enormous amount of pressure on an entrepreneur. The business needs to be profitable enough to cover any living expenses, which can quickly suck the joy out of a situation, turning what had been a dream job into something of a living nightmare.
Besides, many millennials are in it for more than the money anyway. Lucas Puente, lead economist of services marketplace, Thumbtack, explained that millennials are motivated by much more than financial success: “This cohort finds being an entrepreneur financially rewarding, but they are most focused on being able to pursue their individual passion.”
They know the millennial market
Another benefit of being a young entrepreneur is the first person experience that helps tap into this lucrative demographic’s wants and needs. For example, co-working space provider, WeWork, was founded by Adam Neumann in 2010 when he was just 31 years old in response to the rising number of young freelancers and startups in the U.S.
One of the millennials surveyed echoed this sentiment, saying this of their side hustle: “It helps keep my mind busy and active. I think that we should always be challenging ourselves and learning new skills whenever possible.”