Why I choose to keep my side hustle


If you type “side hustle” in your google search, loads of articles pop up both for and against running your own side show. Many articles in favor list the benefits of starting a side hustle such as earning extra income and getting tax breaks. While those things are nice, there are actually so many other meaningful reasons why having a side hustle can be a good thing.

My side hustle started in 2015 when I made 10 or so postcards and listed them on Etsy. Three years later I run the same shop, offering the same postcards, plus greeting cards, art prints and wedding stationery. I don’t make a ton of money and it takes a lot of time and effort to keep it going. That’s why I’ve toyed with the idea of shutting it down more than once. The question of whether to keep the business or not has been on my mind a lot lately as I’m easing back into work from maternity leave. After much consideration, I’ve decided to keep my side hustle and here’s why.

1.Mix things up

My side hustle is completely different than my business here. Instead of offering complex, in-depth services, I offer a simple product that is already made. This helps me satisfy more creative needs than one. While I love the strategy and seriousness that goes along with my branding business, I sometimes crave the fun and simple design work of creating a greeting card or art print, and I’m able to fulfill that with my side business. Plus, having an Etsy shop on the side allows me to design things that wouldn’t necessarily fit into my branding business. And I’ll take the opportunity to design fun, different things any day.

2. Take a break

Having a business on the side provides the chance to take a break from my more “serious” work. Helping people create the business of their dreams isn’t something I take lightly. Designing and selling a greeting card allows me to unplug from heavier work. It also helps keep things fresh and new. I don’t feel stagnant in my design work, and if I ever hit a creative block, I can switch gears and design something quirky and lighthearted to help get the creativity flowing again.

3. Boost productivity

You know Newton’s whole law of inertia, “an object in motion stays in motion”? That couldn’t be truer for me. In fact if there ever was a phrase that sums me up, it might be that one. When I keep busy with several to-do lists and constant brainstorming, I feel energized and inspired.

When I first quit my full-time job to start the card-business, I somehow fell flat. Even though I had a lot new time to work on my dream job, I lost the motivation. I couldn’t think of new cards to design, new products to offer and new ways to market myself. It was only after deciding to go freelance under my own name that the creativity started flowing again.

4. Relieve stress

Even dream jobs come with pressure and stress sometimes. When I’m working on a big project, it can be easy to lose sight of the end game and get bogged down in the nitty gritty details. I can spend days in the zone working on design concepts, revisions, file prep, etc. It’s sometimes nice at the end of those days to get an order that I can complete immediately with little to no thought. There’s a satisfaction that comes along with receiving an order, packing it up and shipping it off within the day. A side-hustle can bring in those small wins that help you get through the bigger and more important work tasks that aren’t so glamorous.

5. Learn new things

Finally, running a side business allows me to constantly learn new things. I love the challenges that go along with running an online shop, providing customer service, brainstorming new products and creating physical items that go out into the world. I’ve also had the chance to learn about new passions. When I first began the card shop, I dealt mostly with typography and (analog!) hand-lettering. Only later, through designing new cards, did I learn of my passion for digitizing  and vectorizing hand-drawn work and even later still, my passion for illustration. This benefit is two-fold because not only do you get the pleasure of learning new skills, you’re also able to beef up the resume a little. I’m proud of my little shop and happy to show it off when people ask what I do in my free time.

Over these last few months, I’ve thought a lot about the pros and cons of having a side hustle and ultimately decided to keep mine. What do you think? Do you have a side hustle that you’re not willing to let go? Let me know in the comments below.