Side Hustles vs. Second Jobs: Which Is Better for Me? (2022)

If you’re looking to supplement your 9-to-5 with a second job or side hustle, the most important question to ask yourself is, “What am I looking for?” Is it more money you want? More creative fulfillment? More meaning? A combination of some of these things? Or something different altogether?

Below, we offer advice to help you answer this question along with some examples that can help you on your search.

More money

There are plenty of reasons you might want a second stream of income. Even if you love your job and the compensation is adequate, you might want a little extra to save for retirement or a vacation, or you just want to have a little more spending money. If you find yourself in this boat, a second job might be the right choice for you. With second jobs, the income is more predictable. You’re paid an hourly rate, and you work a set schedule of hours. You essentially set the amount of hours you work and control how much extra money you earn. Examples of second jobs include coffee shop barista, boutique sales associate, or freelance work.

As for side hustles, they are not out of the question when it comes to making some extra cash. While income can be less predictable, you never know—your side hustle could eventually be more lucrative than your first job. Some people take their second job and turn it into a career, which can be easy with something such as real estate. With real estate, starting your career in the industry is particularly interesting because you do not make a salary or an hourly wage. Instead you make commission on the homes you sell, and it could be months before you sell your first home. In the meantime you would have no income if this is your only job, but if this is your second, your current income will be sufficient to hold you over until you are able to sell homes like clockwork.

More creative fulfillment

There’s no rule that you need to get creative fulfillment out of your full-time job. And just because you may work in a rigid field doesn’t mean you don’t have a creative side that needs to be expressed. So, if you want to get more creative fulfillment, you might consider turning a hobby into a side hustle. For example, you might design and make your own jewelry and wear it on a daily basis. This fills your time and makes you feel fulfilled, but why not take this a step further and start your side business? This can create even more fulfillment, while also being profitable.

A second job isn’t out of the question when it comes to having more creativity in your life. There are plenty of jobs out there that can still be a creative outlet while having the structure of a job. This could include part-time work in the film industry, or being a freelance photographer. These types of jobs allow you to have the creative fulfillment you need without the stress of starting up a business, which is no small feat. This sticks with more of the traditional route of employment, without giving up the creativity you seek.

More meaning

If you’re someone who enjoys giving back to the community and doing volunteer work, you may find more meaning in a second job than you first expected. Nowadays, there are plenty of employment opportunities that are coupled with the opportunity to give back. Nonprofit organizations are a great first step in this area, and you can even take your skills from your first job into your second. One example is if you are an accountant from 9 to 5, you could be a bookkeeper for a nonprofit from 5 to 9. If you have a background in design, you could become a web designer for a nonprofit.

If working for an organization isn’t your ideal second commitment, you can definitely try a side hustle. Instead of working for a large company, you can do work independently. These kinds of opportunities include tutoring or providing pet care services. Virtual tutoring can be a great opportunity to teach students across the world without traveling all the way there. Second languages provide a great tutoring subject, or could also help you teach other subjects in a country that speaks another language. Providing pet care services can definitely be good for the soul, especially if you are an animal lover. Doggy daycare on your days off can fill your days with more joy and your pockets with some more cash.

More knowledge

Learning doesn’t stop once school stops, and some people actually chase new knowledge. Learning something new is a great way to add new excitement to your life. There are side hustles out there where you can walk in with minimal knowledge and walk away with new information. One of these side hustles includes testing apps and websites. You may not know much about digital information, or what these companies are even about, but you can learn new information all while making a profit.

You can even get a second job doing something you have little to no experience with. These jobs include becoming a tour guide in your town. This is best suited for people who live in a popular area who have free time in the summer months, or those with local tourist attractions. Becoming a tour guide allows you to also learn more about your town in order to tell other people about it. You can take a deep dive into the history of your town and the people who used to live there, and in turn make a profit.

More people

While you may love your coworkers, you may want to meet people and make friends outside of the office. A second job is a great way to meet new people in your community, and while you may not meet your best friend, you can at least have some more human interaction than what you get in your cubicle. Waitressing and bartending are two popular second jobs that involve talking to new people practically your whole shift. These kinds of jobs will definitely keep you busy, so if boredom is something you are trying to escape as well, this may be right up your alley. If you want a second job that is less strenuous, you have options such as babysitting or working at your local bookstore. With these jobs you can meet new people in a more intimate setting and have the opportunity to establish deeper relationships. While the quantity of people you meet might be less, the quality of your friendships with them could be better.

Side hustles also provide great opportunities to meet new people. One of the best options when it comes to side hustles if you want the chance to get to know someone from a completely random walk of life is becoming a driver for a rideshare company. You typically need a car that is safe for the road, a clean background, and of course a drivers license. If you drive on a daily basis anyway, you already have the needed experience. Not all of your passengers are going to want to divulge their deepest secrets, but you can easily come across people who you can chat with and learn just a little bit about during their 20-minute ride downtown.

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