Side hustle has always been considered to be the forte of underpaid employees seeking to shore up their incomes to meet their basic needs. It's often associated with small business ventures such as small kiosk, car wash, movie store among others.
In this day and age of great uncertainty, side hustles must be embraced across organizational functions to include both junior staff and senior managers, by enabling them at the very least to have an extra income stream. A side hustle in this sense may be take the shape of taking up consulting work, speaking engagements, coaching or even developing a product or service.
Side hustles can act as a great hedging tool or shock absorbers against uncertainty in the job market. Globalization, disruption, a charged political environment and other social economic shocks can greatly affect companies and the job market in general. In most organizational restructuring, cognizant of tough business environment, staff are usually the first cost on the chopping board, hence the need for a side hustle to keep you going in between jobs.
Not many organizations can afford to build capacity of staff through scholarships and executive training; worry not as your choice of side hustle can do exactly that. One can engage in a side hustle that helps them practice new skills that they don't currently posses such as speaking engagements (which improve public speaking), consulting (helps in developing project management skills), and product development, which encourages intrapreneurship among many others.
Highly successful professionals the world over have deep and highly heterogonous networks compared to your average professional, who only has good networks within their industry of practice. Attaining a good mix of networks within and outside your industry is quite a difficult task to achieve. A side venture enables you to expand your network without giving up your core connections. That makes you both more resilient, and more valuable to others.
Progressive organizations, especially mainstream media, have realized that having employees taking up an entrepreneurial side hustle is a win-win in the sense that it helps not only the employees in developing their own personal brands, but also the brand of their employer. Last but not least, a side hustle enables you to diversify your income streams as well as raise your income level.
Developing multiple income streams may not seem like a priority when you're already bringing in a comfortable middle-class or upper-middle-class income. But remember when one day you happen to be laid off with little benefit, you will discover the power of options. And even if you love your job and keep it forever, a small dose of entrepreneurship can teach you new skills and enrich your perspective, making you that much more indispensable at work.
Victor Otieno is Director, Research and Innovation at Wylde International