Is Your Side Hustle Worth Keeping? Here's How to Know

by Maurie Backman | Published on Oct. 25, 2021

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Thinking of dumping your side job? Ask these key questions to make the right call.

Different people have different motivations for getting a side hustle. You may be trying to save up to buy a home, and your side job earnings could become a down payment on a mortgage. Or your goal may be to fund an awesome vacation your regular paycheck can't cover.

At some point though, you may find it's a struggle to keep up with your side hustle. Spending your spare time working isn't easy, and you may be growing increasingly drained with each passing week. If that's the case, you might even think about ditching your side hustle altogether. But before you do, ask yourself these key questions to see if that's really the right move.

1. Is my side hustle impacting my health?

Cramming in a side job on top of your main job, plus your many other non-work-related responsibilities, isn't easy. Over time, it can take a toll on your mental and physical health. If you're suffering in either regard, then it could be time to let go of your side hustle. While the extra work might allow you to enjoy more financial freedom, it's not worth compromising your well-being in the process. Health is wealth.

2. Is the extra money making a big difference?

For some people, having a side hustle can mean the difference between paying the bills and going deeper in debt month after month. If you don't have much wiggle room in your budget, a side hustle could make it possible to improve your finances by allowing you to build an emergency fund. But if the money you're earning from that gig is simply nice to have, then it may not be worth keeping your side job. This is especially true if the work is stressing you out or taking up so much of your time that you have few hours left during the week to see friends, pursue hobbies, or just plain feel like a person.

3. Is it possible to reduce my side job hours?

Some side hustles are more flexible than others. If you drive for a ride-hailing service, for example, you can set your own hours and work when it's convenient for you. But other side hustles require you to commit to a preset schedule, such as if you work at a restaurant or retailer and have to sign up for a certain number of shifts. If you're in the latter situation and it's getting harder to maintain that schedule, then you may have to call it quits. But if your side hustle gives you more leeway, you may want to try cutting back before abandoning it completely.

Working a side job could improve your finances in a meaningful way. And depending on the work you do, it could also help you grow certain skills that make you better at your main job. But if your side hustle has become overwhelmingly stressful, then it may be time to reassess the situation. The same holds true if you're not enjoying the work and dread having to do it.

You may decide to dump your side hustle and go after a different gig that's better for your schedule or that you find more fulfilling. And there's certainly nothing wrong with that.

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