5 Questions to Ask Before Starting a Side Hustle

The idea of “starting a side hustle” has been trendy for years now.

The simplest explanation for this appears to be that younger adults today — millennials, more or less — grew up in a struggling economy and a difficult jobs market.

They are thus less likely to have stable careers, and more likely to tap into their own skills and generate multiple income streams.

Thus, the age of the “side hustle” was born.

This isn’t merely a talking point that people get carried away with, either.

According to a 2019 article by Fortune, nearly half of Americans under the age of 35 report having a side hustle!

That’s a fairly astounding figure, but one that speaks well to the new realities of the younger workforce in America.

Because the side hustle concept is becoming so popular (and so useful), it’s only right to devote a little bit of attention to it.

This article won’t tell you definitively whether or not a side hustle is a good idea — that depends on your situation!

But below you’ll find a helpful list of questions to ask yourself before starting something like this.

woman looking puzzled at computer screen

1. Do You Need The Extra Income?

In my article How to Pay Off Debt Fast and Still Have a Life I broached the idea of side hustle as a possible solution to paying off money owed.

This is not the only reason to start a side hustle, but it does raise an interesting question:

Do you need the extra income?

A side hustle can seem like a little bit of fun, or like something you should do because you’re able to.

But it can also take up time and energy, which means you should think carefully about why you’re doing it.

Value your time, and make sure that if you’re going to do it, you’re going to benefit from it.

2. Will it Make Money?

This question might seem almost silly, but it’s one to explore!

As a simple example, let’s say you make your own jewelry, and you’ve sold it a few times at a local craft fair.

This can be the foundation for a more regular side hustle — but do you know that you can scale the operation in a profitable way?

If you need more materials, and you want to start selling online, are you going to be able to generate enough revenue to justify the time and cost?

Often enough the answer will be yes! But it’s still worth sitting down and doing the math to the extent you can.

smiling young girl sitting back on couch using her laptop and holdoing a coffee mug

3. Should You Make it Official?

Starting a side hustle can start off fairly casually.

But if you do want to grow it into a more stable source of income, it may be worth your while to consider turning it into an official business of your own.

This can be a good idea for two reasons.

First is that you may be able to enjoy some tax benefits with an official company of your own (whereas with less specific side income you can actually wind up paying heavy taxes for freelance work).

Second is that setting up a company in the U.S. is — for the most part — surprisingly easy!

ZenBusiness outlines how to set up an LLC in just five steps, and while there are some states that have slight additional requirements, this is generally the whole process. So, it’s better to know the best state for an LLC before you set up.

A few decisions (such as the name of the business) and a bit of paperwork gets the job done!

4. Can You Be Organized?

Just as it’s wise to sit down and figure out what you might expect to make by focusing on a side hustle, you should also give some thought to organization.

As stated above with regard to forming an official company, a side hustle can be very casual to begin with.

Using the jewelry example again, you might simply work on projects when you can, pack them up for a fair occasionally, and come home with a bit of extra cash.

But if you want to make your side hustle more of a business, you’ll need to be more organized about it.

You’ll have to track your costs, schedule your work and manage project expectations, record income and prepare for taxes, and so on.

It’s all manageable, but it’s something a lot of people sort of forget to think about when setting up side work.

woman with headphones around her neck using a computer with camera beside her

5. Is it Something You’ll Enjoy?

Finally, remember to ask yourself if you’ll enjoy it!

There are a lot of different reasons this is essential, but the best and most important one was presented in B2C’s look at why you should love your job: You deserve it!

You deserve to be happy with what you’re doing, and that’s particularly true if you’re devoting extra time to work (as is the case with a side hustle).

That doesn’t mean you’ll love every last moment, of course.

But make sure your side hustle is something you’ll truly enjoy getting into.

You’ll be happier for it, and you’ll likely be better at it also!

woman sat on green park bench using latop with coffee cup next to her

Starting your side hustle

Once you have worked through these questions, if your answers are yes then there is nothing stopping you from getting that side hustle up and running.

If you are unsure about what you could do to earn money then take a look at these posts for inspiration:

The Best Work From Home Jobs When You Need Flexibility

41 Awesome Hobbies That Can Make You Money Right Now

This is a collaborative post

Last Updated on 3rd May 2023 by Emma

About Emma

I'm here to help you become confident in making the best money decisions for you and your family. Frugal living has changed my life, let me help you change yours.

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