The Top Reason People Start A Side Business May Not Be What You Think

Key points:  

  • Approximately 57 million people own a side business that is not their main source of income, according to the Hartford survey.
  • Most side-business owners who have full-time jobs said that the primary reason to start a business was financial. Only a small percentage of them are seeking a passion.

More money:

That is the clear and straightforward truth about starting a side business.

According to The Hartford, around 57 million Americans have a side hustle. The insurance company conducted an online survey of 4,135 U.S. adults in May, 1,033 of who said they had a side business.

More than half of this part-time business owners work full-time, and they say it takes about 10 hours or less a week. Half of those with a full-time job said that at least some of their time off is working on a side gig.

But the most interesting finding was that no matter the age of the business owner, almost two-thirds said finances were the key driver of starting a side hustle.

A vast amount of passion projects or the escape of a rat race.

That makes sense, says Nick Loper, the creator of Side Hustle Nation.

He started his first side business with money, and it became a passion

Loper’s enthusiasm is simply side hustling now. Its platform covers a variety of facets of starting a side event, with listings of ideas, information on affiliate marketing, starting a forum, and resources for aspiring side hustlers.

Loper quotes Cal Newport’s “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” which says following your passion is ridiculous advice.

First of all, real passion is uncommon. Second, “there might not be a market around your passion,” Loper said.

Another reason for not starting a company around something you love: when you find yourself struggling to monetize and scale, it can cut into your enjoyment. However, you should certainly have some interest and expertise in the field.

As his original side hustle, Loper created a footwear shopping comparison site in 2004, and it wasn’t an undying passion project. But it did show interest, and the rise of e-commerce has made it a viable business model.

One caveat: “If you’re only doing it for the money, you’re unlikely to be inspired to keep going if you don’t see immediate results or returns,” Loper said. “When it begins to work, is [money] enough to keep you going?”

         Loper says side hustles should be fun, and keeping an open mind about a  business’s chances of working out is best.

Loper said Many individuals fall into the pit of thinking that they need this paradigm-shifting, never-been-done-before concept.” “But the majority of business ideas were done before.”

He points to Google – which was not the first search engine invented – and the spread of numerous sushi restaurants in many communities as evidence that successful companies do not need to break new ground.

For a short period of time, pursue a new enterprise. Loper said, “If you see any results, awesome.” Only move on to the next idea on your list if it’s not working.

         Although small-business owners want extra money, according to The Hartford, it is not enough for most to take their company full time. Approximately 25% of side business owners said that their business could become a full-time job or a primary source of income. And the third said it was extremely unlikely.

“It’s empowering to make the first dollar,” Loper said. He quotes a friend who said, “We’re in the transition to a freelance economy. The ones who would be primed for success are those who already think of themselves as entrepreneurs.”

A side-hustle mindset will fit perfectly into an existing 9-to-5 life. “Think of your day’s work as your biggest client,” Loper said. “You don’t have to be your only customer.”

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