What is a Side Hustle and can it work for me?

An introduction to the Side Hustle

What is a Side Hustle and can it work for me?

Working in Career Coaching, the Side Hustle has often been the solution to seemingly insurmountable career hurdles for my clients, but its still a relatively unused practice. I am a HUGE fan of the Side Hustle, so I’d like to properly introduce you to the concept and if you have a big idea you’d like to try, maybe it could work for you.

Side Hustle Def

The good old Nixer

‘Nixer’ from the word ‘nothing’, (as in no tax or insurance), was a job you took on the side. A nixer could range from regular un-declared work, to once off jobs, but maintained a simple premise; work outside your ‘proper’ job. During the boom, nixers fell out of fashion. We were all earning enough in our jobs to need extra cash or to rock the boat looking for career change. It became more difficult to find extra work that was not recorded and the responsibilities of extra income was seen as too much hassle.

With the recession, there has been a huge change to the understanding of a job. People don’t simply work 9-5, Monday to Friday any more, and they don’t always work in areas they find fulfilling, so a gap has opened up that suits the Side Hustle. A Side Hustle is not just an extra job, but a personal project beyond the confines of your ‘proper’ job.

What makes it a Side Hustle?

It might be a regular evening job someone maintains outside of their job, like Teaching. It might be contract work someone uses outside their job in a freelance capacity like Graphic Design. Sometimes it’s the professionalising of a hobby someone loves like Blogging, or the practice of developing professional skills like Coaching. It might even be the starting of a dream someone has to write a book.

There is no restriction on what counts as a side-hustle. The only qualifier is to begin with, it doesn’t count as your main job or source of income. It may or may not make money. You may or may not have customers. You might be the only one who even knows about it for a long time, but it’s a project that’s yours that you work on in your own time.


How does a Side Hustle develop?

Vol SH New BusSome of the most common themes I have come across include:

  • Unhappiness in a job that provokes people to look for more fulfilling work elsewhere
  • Creatives taking work that lets them stretch their creative muscles more freely than within the confines of a job
  • People who are ‘testing’ a new skill or hobby, trying it on to see if it fits
  • Someone trying to create a business from the ground up in their own time.

Volunteering is a common way people end up in a side hustle. Whether they join for fun or professional curiosity, people who enjoy volunteering outside of their main career often use their volunteering to kickstart a Side Hustle. Many people who work full time in the Events industry came from a volunteer background first, then worked their way to a freelance side hustle. Eventually many graduated a Side Hustle to a full time job or business in the industry.

What are the benefits to the side hustle?

Some of the amazing benefits I have seen personally include:

  • People getting a job based on the experience gained through development of a Side Hustle that they would never have gotten through their ‘main’ job, for example Social Media Management.
  • People getting a promotion at work based on relevant external experience they gained in their own time such as an in-house Trainer
  • People being able to leave jobs and industries they do not like in order to safely pursue a dream of starting a new business they have laid the foundation for.

There are a host of other benefits including; continued professional development, up-skilling, growing your network and in all cases, having a lot of fun doing something you’re passionate about.

Some great examples of what could count as successful Side Hustling in Ireland today include:

  • Marissa Carter reportedly had the idea for Cocoa Brown Tan while working and used her maternity leave to fully research and develop what is now an internationally recognised product and brand.
  • Suzanne Jackson of SoSuMe fame started a fashion and beauty blog after being made redundant in 2010. Six years later she is ranked internationally as a key online influencer and has a hugely successful beauty range
  • Clare Cullen is a vlogger in her spare time. Her YouTube video ‘Shite Irish Girls say’ has over 1.5 million views. She followed up her success with a series of videos called ‘ The Irish Bucket List’ and earlier this year she was commissioned to write a book with the same name.

Why would it work for me?

Whats so appealable about the Side Hustle is the privacy. Many women I work with have big dreams that they have lost sight of for various reasons. Those dreams and ideas are always in the background niggling, waiting to be realised. The Side Hustle works in two ways for them:


  • Reality Check: Being practical most of us are not in a position to head off chasing our dreams. The side hustle gives you the opportunity to chase those goals without losing the security your day-job provides. Using evenings, weekends and annual leave you can commit to ‘testing’ your idea and seeing if there’s the potential to make it work more permanently
  • Safe Space‘:Unfortunately many of us have been lead to believe that our dreams are silly or unattainable. Many people desperately want to try something out but are afraid of the embarrassment of failure. Having a Side Hustle means you can test out the potential of the idea without making any grand announcements and if it doesn’t work out, there’s very little damage control.

How do I get started?

The great thing about a Side Hustle is that it is your own personal project, how you do it and at what pace is completely up to you. There are some serious things to consider depending on your own hustle like insurance, legal responsibilities and tax, but none of this is insurmountable. Each part you learn is another piece of learning you can bring to your next job, promotion or even your own business.

Ultimately a Side Hustle is a fantastic blend of starting your own business, as a project, in your own time and at your own pace. A fantastic combination for budding entrepreneurs!

As always, if this is something you are interested in and would like to discuss more, please drop me an email for more details on arranging a tailored session just for you!

Get In Touch

If you like what you’ve read or if you’d like to chat, just drop me a line.
I would LOVE to hear from you.