I read the following stat the other day about “non-traditional” work arrangements:
I would wager most people in the gig economy aren’t living the lifestyle of the gal in the picture above. But there is no doubting that more and more people are taking an interest in starting a side hustle or finding alternative options to the traditional 9–5.
From Uber to Upwork, it has never been easier to pick up extra work on a flexible schedule. These true gig platforms make it easy to make the transition into a full blown side hustle.
In 2016, I took my first stab at starting a business on the side of my full-time job. At the time I wasn’t looking for much. I just wanted to find a way to supplement my income and mitigate the perceived risk of working for someone else. In the 4+ years since, there have been plenty of late nights, bad ideas and false starts.
After lots of trial and error, I finally managed to pivot my way into a fairly consistent side hustle that generates revenue in the low five figures every month. If you are interested in that story, check out my post chronicling, How I Built A $1,000/mo Side Hustle.
While everyone may have different reasons for seeking out a non-traditional work arrangement, I’m quite confident that at least one of the lessons below will hit home for you.
Here are the 6 Benefits I’ve Experienced from Building a Side Hustle.
1. More control
Side hustling gave me the opportunity to regain control over more aspects of my life.
In my 9–5 job I was often told that I had autonomy and could make decisions for myself. That was only partially true. At the end of the day there was always someone else directing the goals and ultimate decisions.
But in my small side hustle sphere, I was at the helm of the ship. When I started my Print-on-demand business I felt as if I was finally taking charge of something 100% my own.
I instantly became responsible for the creative direction, strategy, marketing and finances. Building a side hustle gave me an outlet for my creativity, allowed me to choose what I wanted to work on, and as I started making a small income I felt more and more control over my finances!
2. Learn outside of your job description
Getting paid to learn new skills at a full time job is amazing but generally limits learning to skills that are directly relevant to the role. On the other hand starting a business of my own created another avenue to learn skills that fell outside of my traditional job description.
The skills I learned were dictated by the nature of the side hustles I started but I was able to consciously guide the direction of my business. This allowed me to indirectly choose when and what skills to focus on developing.
For Example: My first few “failed” side hustles forced me to learn the basics of multiple e-commerce platforms like eBay, Etsy, and Amazon. When I finally had my first success, it was with Print-on-Demand.
For me to grow that business, it became important that I learn the basics of design. I started familiarizing myself with Photoshop, Canva and InDesign.
Each subsequent step along my side hustle journey taught me the value of ‘just-in-time learning.’ I learned new skills along the way that have made me infinitely more valuable in the traditional career world.
3. Connect with people on the same path
Most people don’t share the same passion needed to grind through the ups and downs of building a business. When I got my start in the world of side hustles, even close friends and family did not understand the opportunities I was chasing.
Starting a side hustle sent me down a unique path to pursue my passions.
As I got more established in my business niche, I began to share snippets of my journey with friends, family, and even strangers. This led me to documenting my processes, learnings and failures on my blog and YouTube channel. Over time this storytelling process attracted people that shared similar interests.
What I wish I had known at the beginning is you don’t have to wait for others to come to you. Building a side hustle gave me an ‘excuse’ to reach out to other individuals pursuing the same things.
It has allowed me to get my foot in the door with other people who are doing interesting things and further along on their journeys.
In other words, choosing to start a side hustle provided me with a unique common storyline to connect with other people following along the same path.
Starting a side hustle won’t be all rainbows and sunshine but it can reinvigorate a sense of excitement in life.
For me this manifested as an eagerness to work on my various projects for hours at a time. Each day, after working my full-time gig and commuting 30–45 minutes home, I would immediately get to work on my side hustle. Often times this meant staying up late into the night to make progress towards my goals.
Excitement is a condition of physiological arousal. — Source
This Hubspot article makes two other great points about excitement.
First, excitement is a great way to stimulate action. When starting to work on a new project I always leverage my sense of excitement to help get things going. Leveraging this state of arousal makes the first steps of a new side hustle journey much more manageable.
Second, excitement is temporary. While excitement may get things going, it will ultimately wear off. Once it does, you will be forced to rely on self-drive and the habit of consistency to maintain motivation.
5. Built-in fulfillment
I’ve always been a big believer in goal setting. This is a practice that I have personally kept for the last 5+ years. When I started building my first side hustles, one of the first things that I did was to establish goals for myself.
By setting and achieving goals I challenged myself to grow. Goals help create a connection with a bigger vision and connecting with a bigger vision promotes a sense of fulfillment.
Each subsequent level of achievement re-solidifies this sense of fulfillment. I found this while building my various online income streams. When the initial excitement had worn off, the pull of achieving new goals pushed me to continue working through the tough times.
Now that I know this, I make it a point to remind myself of how good it feels to achieve goals. That gives me an added incentive to keep working!
Pro tip: using excitement to get started and then fulfillment to sustain motivation is a great formula for expediting the side hustle journey.
6. Discovering my inner voice
The final, and arguably most important, benefit I’ve found from building a side hustle is the discovery of my inner voice.
We all have an inner voice.
Some people are seemingly in-touch with theirs from birth, others find it later in life, and some never truly recognize theirs.
I am somewhere in between. But as I’ve explored my passions and built businesses around them, my inner voice has become increasingly defined.
This discovery process has made me more confident with who I am and the direction I want my life to go.
In conclusion, there are many benefits to starting a side hustle. Undoubtedly countless more than the ones I have mentioned here.
The best part about these learnings is that they don’t just benefit my business. Each new skill I’ve acquired has served me in every aspect of life.
I encourage you to try your hand at building a side hustle and if you are interested in one of my favorite ways to start an online business check out my other Medium article: Print On Demand: The Complete Guide 
Wishing you the best!