There is no denying the allure of a side hustle. When your career is not panning out the way you hoped it would, or your financial goals have been set back by one of those unforeseen disasters life is so keen to throw at us, it is tempting to take up a get-rich-quick scheme. Even the most skeptical amongst us has eyed a friend’s social posts, touting the #BossBabe lifestyle that allegedly funded her recent vacation in full and wondered: why not me?
There is no denying that the world economy has changed drastically in the last ten years—and it is still in flux. Multi-level marketing companies have exploded, keeping women and parents hooked on the idea that they can change the world with their oils and leggings and nutritional supplements without having to leave their couch or their kids with a sitter. The gig economy promises their contractors that they can make their own hours and work as little or as much as they would like.
Is attaining a lucrative and sustainable side-hustle just a silly pipe-dream? For a lot of people, working a 9-to-5 to pay the bills and then 6-9 for a little extra spending cash seems reasonable. And it’s true: some side-hustles are better than others, if you know where to find them. Maybe you’re selling custom cakes with the help of an edible ink printer because you love designing. That seems like a great way to turn something you love and are already doing into something profitable.
But most side-hustles are not all good news. Here are 3 ways taking on that side-hustle could be hurting you in the long run.
You’re Not Making as Much As You Think
Multi-level marketing companies are known for promising the world to believers. If you work hard enough, if you work long enough, and you put the right amount of effort in, you will see returns beyond your wildest dreams. The upfront costs involved in buying the oils or the leggings or the hair supplements for your “business” are an investment in your future, these companies will tell you. All start-ups need an initial investment, after all!
But how much does maintaining your side-hustle cost you in the long run? Is your investment paying off, and are you even able to tell? A good number of multi-level marketing companies require their sellers to buy monthly or quarterly rations of the stuff they’re shilling, or they will be kicked out of the program. So, if you’re not selling the product fast enough, you might end up with a backload of product that you need to work twice as hard to unload, but you still need to buy more.
Drivers on ride-share apps such as Lyft and Uber don’t fare much better. According to one estimate, Uber drivers in major cities make wages barely topping the minimum wage of most states, coming in at around $10.87. This does not even take into account the cost of regular vehicular maintenance. A significant portion of ride-share drivers spend hundreds to thousands of dollars a month on vehicle maintenance.
It’s important to note that the regular maintenance required by these apps are not covered by the apps themselves, but the drivers. This is because drivers and workers on similar gig apps are considered independent contractors. Speaking of which…
You’re Not Protected
The initial “investments” and hidden monetary costs in taking up a side-hustle can be dispiriting enough. Aside from what your ride-share app or your multi-level marketing company asks of you, however, there are the little—and big—things life throws at you that you must also consider.
What were to happen if you were to fall ill at your day job? You would likely get a few days off and a get well card. Regardless of how generous (or not) your company’s sick leave policy is, you will not receive any of the same protections as an independent contractor or hustler working in the gig economy.
There is no health insurance, there is no parental leave, and there is no paid time off in the world of side-hustles. If you have structured a financial plan wherein your side-hustle is the foundation for keeping your home lit or your children fed, consider what would happen if you were to suddenly unable to work for the next week.
You Are Exhausted
People take up side-hustles to supplement their main career, usually of the much-maligned 9-to-5 variety. There is an avalanche of evidence to suggest that overworking yourself is a recipe for all sorts of disasters: less fulfilling relationships with loved ones, worse health overall, and even an early grave. Much to the chagrin of our #BossBabes, working more than 39 hours a week is unnecessarily risking your health. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that working fewer increases productivity and the quality of the work produced. So if you’re worried about your output at your 9-to-5 and feel as though you are being held back, consider whether all of that energy you’re putting into your side-hustle is sapping your ability to perform adequately at your day job.