Everybody’s Gotta Hustle: Can a Side Hustle Help You Reach Your Career Goals?

HustleIf you are waiting for bar results, job-hunting, or unhappy with your current employment, you should have a side hustle.

What is a side hustle? 

A side hustle is a job or a hobby (which might some day become a job) that you do now in your spare time.  A side hustle can serve a variety of purposes.

It can help you gain valuable new skills. Perhaps you have a dream job in mind, but you need to cultivate a new skill to be better qualified for it. Perhaps you are not likely to gain those skills at your current job. A side hustle can create an opportunity for growth. Working at night or on weekends (either for pay or as a volunteer) can get you the valuable experience you need to be more competitive in the marketplace and/or help you transition to a new career.

It can help you earn a bit of cash. In this job market, you might find yourself working for less money than you expected or even volunteering while waiting for a full-time paid position. How are you supposed to support yourself? A side hustle can do just that. You might be amazed how much money you can make doing a part-time gig. When I was in law school, I was a private SAT math tutor. Let me tell you, this was a great side hustle. I made much more money per hour than I would have made at an on-campus job, and I even met some attorneys (parents of some of my students) who gave me interviews in the process.

It can allow you to try out something new without fully committing to it. Perhaps you are contemplating a job change, but you aren’t certain that you are going to like the new direction you are considering. The side hustle allows you to experiment. You can try out a new type of work or working environment. The side hustle is easier to experiment with than your full-time gig. If the side hustle doesn’t work out, you still have your full-time job to fall back on. And you might try a few different side hustles until you find the right one. It is a safe way to experiment with your career without risking your paycheck.

It can give you the opportunity to work on something you are passionate about. I hate to say it, but sometimes we are not enthusiastic about our work. We might dream about doing work that we would be more passionate about, but until we actually do that work we can’t be sure it is the right fit. If you are able to try out your passion, you may find you are ready to make the leap and do it full time. Or, sometimes, a side hustle allows you to feel better about your day job. If you lack passion at work (and, let’s be honest, some of us aren’t wild about our legal work), feeling excitement and a sense of worth while working on your side hustle can make you an overall happier person. And who doesn’t want that?

What does this have to do with the bar exam? 

A lot of bar studiers wonder what they are supposed to do while waiting for bar results, other than hunting for a full-time job. I would argue that the side hustle is a great thing to work on. Do you have a crazy idea for an online business? Well, you can start working on it now and work on it part time once you do find legal work. Do you dream of working at a law school? Then, try to volunteer at your law school’s legal clinic. Or, consider looking for a side hustle that you can continue (if you enjoy it enough) even after you find full-time work.

But the side hustle isn’t just for bar exam takers.  It is for anyone thinking about making a change. 

If you are unhappy in your current position or if you trying to figure out what might be your next career step, think about whether the side hustle could work for you. Amazing opportunities have come from a side hustle. Take some time to think about how you could use some of your free time to potentially move your career forward.

All opinions, advice, and experiences of guest bloggers/columnists are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, practices or experiences of Solo Practice University®.

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