I love side hustling and think everyone should do it. Yeah, you hear that? Peer pressure! Everyone should do it! It’s boosted my income, my confidence, and my network. Recently I wrote about the unexpected benefits of side hustling, but today I’d like to illuminate some of the downsides. You might not see them right away as the excitement of extra work comes your way; but for all great things, there are some sacrifices to be made.

Weekends Don’t Exist

I should be really happy that it’s Friday. TGIF, right?! But to side hustlers, it’s just another day. More often than not, it’s a transition from one’s “real job”, to their side hustle. I do all my work on nights and weekends, and try to get as much done as possible on the weekend. Working six or seven days a week can be hard; your days start to run together, and it can be difficult to take time for yourself.

Spending More on Convenience

Last month I went out to eat far too many times. It’s easy to justify if you are running from one gig to the next and don’t have time to stop at home. It’s easy to justify if you don’t have a car, or a dishwasher, and let’s face it, it IS easier to spend $5 on dinner. I can say the same for transportation. Generally I bike most places. However, with the weather and being so tired, I’ve opted for paying for the bus or Car2Go out of convenience.

You Owe More

Working more and making more money means you owe more! This year was the first year I’ve owed to the government. Getting serious about side hustling and making more money requires you to really look at your tax situation, so you don’t get yourself in a pickle.

Thriving on Less Sleep

There are only so many hours in a day and if you are a hustler like me, you need to utilize every minute. This might mean writing outlines for blog posts on my lunch break, answering emails on the bus, or waking up early to finish a project. Lately, I’ve felt what it’s like to be consistently tired. It’s not a good feeling, and it’s not good for your health. Coffee isn’t working and even if I sleep 6 or 8 hours, it still doesn’t feel like enough. You might create a ‘new normal’ for you and get used to it, but I’d also be mindful of this so that your work doesn’t suffer and end up costing you money.

Being a Bad Friend/Partner

This one is the toughest for me.

Last year, the infamous GMD came to Portland and I missed her. Why? Because I was working! I was so bummed to miss out on this opportunity, but I was scheduled for a well-paying, long-term side hustle. More recently, I’ve had to say no to helping a friend move, and missing out on a farewell party to friends leaving for China for 7 months.

That felt really shitty.

I don’t want to be that girl; the friend who is always “so busy” to do anything and so unreachable. I want to be there for my friends when they need me. If I don’t start saying yes, or initiating contact, soon enough people won’t invite me places.

I also want to be present in my relationship. I don’t want all my time spent with my partner to be around dinner, dishes, rent, or laundry. That’s terribly unsexy.

Ultimately, I’d like to feel more balanced with my job, side hustles, relationships and personal time. Side hustling is great, but there are things to consider when giving up your free time.

Do you have any others you’d add to the list? How do you deal with the downsides of side hustling?


Melanie is a freelance writer currently living in Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about education, financial literacy, and empowering people to take control of their finances. She writes about breaking up with debt, freelancing, and side hustle adventures at DearDebt.com.

Currently she puts more than 50% of her income towards debt, while living a frugal, fun life. In addition to her love of personal finance, art and music, she is also a karaoke master. Follow the adventure @DearDebtBlog.

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19 responses to “The Downsides of Side Hustling”

  1. Michelle says:

    Great post that actually talks about the downsides! Luckily, I have a lot more time now since I left my day job. However, when I had my day job I always had to say no to any plans that came my way. I was just too busy and had no time – which is something that all side hustlers experience.
    Michelle recently posted…Do You Value Items In Terms Of Hours Worked?My Profile

    • deardebt says:

      Seriously, you are the queen of side hustling! I don’t know how you did it working your FT job, and basically working FT on your blog. Glad you can focus on the latter now. Hopefully you are experiencing less of the downsides and enjoying the perks of freelancing 🙂

  2. I loved this post! I don’t really consider myself to have a “side-hustle” but I do have a part-time weekend job and a home based business that I run in the evenings and on weekends. I can really relate to these downsides and I too am looking for more balance. I love the $$ and really can use it, but I need me time too. Sometimes I just need a day off, but when I do have one I use it for housework and other boring but necessary things. Luckily, I am single and my BFFs live 3 hours away so when we plan something it is in advance and I take off for it. I don’t have to worry very often about letting someone down by being “too busy” for them…
    Shoeaholicnomore recently posted…Thing Thursday 3/6/2014My Profile

    • deardebt says:

      Um, it sounds like you side hustle! 😉 I love getting the $ too — this weekend felt like Xmas. Got three checks in the mail! But it can be taxing. Strive for balance, fun and making extra $.

  3. I signed up to do extra work on a tv show this weekend, which was 10 hours for 80 bucks total. No lunch included, and it’s in the valley. When I calculated what I’d REALLY earn it would be something like 40 total…not worth giving up my entire saturday for, so I’m not doing it. On the other hand, I’m shooting some photos for three hours on sunday for a friend for $25/hour, for a total of 2-3 hours. It’s outside, and nearby. For me that benefit outweighs the con even though it’s “less money.” I used to take every kind of side job no matter what, but like you said there are cons, and now I try to weigh them all before I say yes. Sometimes it’s not worth a few bucks here and there.
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Let’s Talk About Your ColonMy Profile

    • deardebt says:

      Good move on not working for less than minimum wage! Shooting photos sounds much better. You definitely have to weigh things in like commute, food, energy, etc. It all adds up and sometimes losing a few bucks is worth it if you still have energy and time left over.

  4. I’m infamous! 😉 Hehe. I love this post M because I can totally relate. Try dating another blogger who side hustles like crazy! J spends even more hours than me on his blog, but we have a compromise that we spend one weeknight date night and one weekend date together turned off from social media and our blogs. It helps.

    P.S. Portland and Vancouver isn’t that far way. We will meet someday soon my friend. I just know it! 🙂
    Girl Meets Debt recently posted…Believe in YourselfMy Profile

    • deardebt says:

      Hehe, yes you are 🙂 I can’t imagine how you guys work your schedules. Having one night set a week is helpful though. If Ryan had a regular schedule we could do that, but our schedule is practically opposite. And we will meet someday. I want to come to Vancouver again and meet you and Cait!

  5. I’ve been deep in to side hustling this month. I haven’t gotten over 4 hours of sleep a night in what feels like FOREVER. Just plain exhaustion is the worst side effect.
    Michelle @fitisthenewpoor recently posted…Friday Blog Roundup #20: 20 Reasons Why I Love My LifeMy Profile

    • deardebt says:

      OMG I thought I was bad with mostly getting 5-6 hours. GIRL, you need to rest. 4 hours of sleep is NOT healthy. For the past three days I had an exhaustion headache that wasn’t going away with pills, water, food, nothing. Finally I slept a really long time, and I feel much better. Listen to your body and try to make some time. Exhaustion is really the worst, so try and slow it down.

  6. Okay, things I said yesterday – I take them back, lol! 😉

    Here’s my honest opinion: I do not think side hustling is for me. Although I totally respect other people’s choice, I am not willing to give up on sleep, family, friends, weekends, etc.

    I’ve always said that you can’t earn all the money in the world and it’s true. The other day I read a quote somewhere from the film “Wall Street”: “How many yachts can you water-ski behind? How much is enough?”, and I think there’s a great message there.

    I also think it’s very important to have a HEALTHY balance of work and free time. I’m okay with not earning as much as I have potential to. My free time is much more important to me and it’s… well, it’s priceless.

    Happy hustling, but don’t forget to rest… I hear it’s good for you 😉 Happy weekend, friend! xo
    Eva @ Girl Counting Pennies recently posted…February 2014 Debt Repayment UpdateMy Profile

    • deardebt says:

      I was hoping you’d see this 🙂 Sometimes I do feel like that, like I can’t work enough and I need to make ALL the monies. But still, I’m not debt free yet and it’s going slow. I still need to enjoy life, this short time we have on earth. It’s a balance and definitely not for everyone. This weekend, I’m only working an extra 6 hours so I’m resting for most of it! It feels amazing.

  7. Gina says:

    PREACH! I totally feel you on all of this. I quit my side hustle last week and I’m looking for another one, but I’m not in a hurry because of all the above. 😛
    Gina recently posted…Five on Friday v25My Profile

  8. Honestly, I don’t side hustle. I know that isn’t the PF-way, but I don’t like the trade offs. Plus, my marginal tax bracket is pretty high, so even if I worked okay at $10 – $20 per hour jobs a huge chunk (close to half!) would go to taxes (this is when I hate living in a highly taxed province).

    I used to tutor evenings and weekends during grad school for $25 – $50/hr, and it was under the table, so it was nice boosts, but I can’t tutor anymore since it would be too intermingled with my current job.

    So I work on my blog, hope it doesn’t take over all my evening and weekends, hope that I can make a few dollars off of it, and go with it.
    Alicia @ Financial Diffraction recently posted…A Solitary Woman In A Sea Of Men.My Profile

    • deardebt says:

      You are not alone. I’ve gotten a few comments like that. Side hustling is not for everyone. If I wasn’t so deep in debt, I’d definitely slow it down a bit. I can’t wait for that day 🙂 But for the most part it has been really great for me. Just trying to balance everything! Tutoring seems like a great gig, but you wouldn’t want it to cross boundaries with your current job.

  9. At the moment, i’m kind of treating my blogging as a side hustle, as at some point I’d really like to start generating some revenue from it. Unfortunately, because my blog is so new, I’m spending a huge amount of time adding content and doing SEO.

    Same goes for my two new niche websites (and soon my eBay ventures).

    Unfortunately Mr Ikonz is very quickly getting sick of me sitting in front of a computer all night…
    Mr Ikonz @ Project Ikonz recently posted…Niche website updateMy Profile

  10. I’m definitely into side hustling, and oddly enough, even more so than when I was deep in debt. I guess a blog that generates about $5 a month is a side hustle, just not a very smart one. I do have to make it a point to spend more time on it when my wife is sleeping, because if you get too into your side hustles, you’re going to neglect the things that are more important. But man alive, I do miss the nights of 8 hours of sleep.
    Ryan @ Impersonal Finance recently posted…the classics of personal financeMy Profile

    • deardebt says:

      A blog is definitely a side hustle! I agree it’s important to focus on your partner and not just side hustling. I’m learning that the hard way 🙁 I miss sleep too!

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