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2020 saw a record number of people turn to online business.
Not only to supplement their income, but also, in many cases, to save their sanity. Now that we’re starting to return to the office, however, is this still a sustainable lifestyle for the average person?
In October 2021, the average number of hours worked by full-time employees in the United Kingdom was 36. This equates to just over seven hours a day, plus unpaid breaks (in many cases), and commute time. Let’s say, for example, the average working day from when we leave the house to when we return is nine hours. I don’t know about anyone else, but after that, I’m more than ready to put my feet up, and my favourite series on.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for side businesses and additional income streams. There’s a famous quote I always come back to: “Millionaires, on average, have not just one, but seven streams of income.” Honestly, I think that would be incredible.
There are two ways we can look at this idea though. When I see people working smart, making their businesses work for them, I feel a sense of pride and happiness for them. They’ve got this figured out. On the other end, there are the people who work every given hour trying to build something great—and wear “the hustle” like a badge of honour.
I’m fully aware that some people love what they do and get a lot out of working constantly. What I can’t get behind is the idea that we should sacrifice everything that brings us joy and burn ourselves out trying to achieve the impossible.
I started my first side gig whilst still at school. I would finish my day, do a little studying for my exams, and then stay up half the night designing websites and creating content. As a naïve and arrogant teenager, I was fine with this. I was earning money on the side without the need to wait tables at weekends or collect glasses in a pub. But, what I failed to see at the time was the negative impact this would have on both my physical and mental health.
As an adult, I got involved in various online business activities and ended up surrounded by the “eat, sleep, and breathe your business” types. This toxic culture led me to total burnout. I ended up in financial trouble because I was too exhausted to work. I was too depressed to see anyone, but was still trying to show up online and pretend to be this positive, upbeat person. (Even at my best, I’m not an upbeat, “bounding into the room” type of person.) It took me a long time to find balance.
To hustle, or not to hustle?
I love the idea of women creating something of their own and seeing life-changing results. I love to see them succeed and make themselves happy. What I can’t get behind is the toxicity of “hustle culture.”
There are so many growing industries we can get involved in, so many options for an online business—without having to become a miserable robot. We don’t have to sacrifice the things we love in order to make big things happen. We can choose to work this alongside our full-time employment, or look to grow it into our full-time income.
So, can we really get behind the hustle culture? The answer is yes and no. Side hustles can do incredible things for many people, but we should also ensure we don’t fall prey to the toxic “hustle culture” that can so often come with them.
The side hustle should make our life easier, more enjoyable, and more fulfilled.
Find what makes you happy and run with it.
May your journey be a positive and prosperous one. Good luck.