Should I Work Full-Time or Get a Bunch of Side Hustles Instead?

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  • A full-time job may not be your most profitable route to earning money.
  • Depending on the circumstances, working a few part-time gigs could be a better financial move.

In some cases, a string of part-time jobs could be more profitable than a full-time job.

Working a full-time job has its benefits. For one thing, you're guaranteed a certain number of hours each week, which may lead to a more robust paycheck. And it often means you get workplace benefits like health insurance, paid time off, and access to an employer savings plan for retirement.

But working full-time may not be the best solution for you. If you're struggling to find a job you like, having to do it for 40 or more hours a week may be draining. In some cases, you can actually earn more money by going the freelance route. That's because freelancers generally don't get benefits, so they tend to command a higher wage on an hourly or project basis.

If you're not thrilled with your main job, or if you have a side hustle or two that you really enjoy, you may be contemplating swapping your full-time role with a series of side hustles. But is that the right move for you?

It's all about crunching the numbers

It's easy to assume that a full-time job will pay more than a bunch of side hustles. But that may not always be the case.

Let's say you earn a salary of $40,000 a year, and that you do so by working 40 hours a week for 50 weeks. That's an hourly rate of $20.

But what if you're currently making $25 an hour freelance writing on the side, and you also have a restaurant gig that allows you to earn up to $40 an hour in tips during dinner shifts? If that's the case, and you're able to put in enough hours between your two side hustles, it could make sense to ditch your full-time job and ramp up your writing and restaurant hours.

That said, when running the numbers, you'll need to calculate the cost of losing your workplace benefits. What happens if you need to take a couple of sick days? If you're a freelance writer and part-time restaurant worker, that could mean losing a few days of income.

There's also health insurance to consider. If you have a spouse whose workplace plan you can join for little money, that may not be an issue. If you're single, you'll need to see what buying insurance on your own will cost you.

A mental component to consider with side hustles

You may do the math and determine you can do well financially by working a bunch of side hustles instead of a full-time job. But will that lack of stability wreak havoc on your mental well-being?

There's something to be said for the security of a full-time job. You can be busy as a freelancer until one day, some clients stop needing you and you're suddenly left with a giant income gap on your hands. You'll need to think about whether you want to take that risk.

The state of your savings account should play into that decision, too. If you have a lot of money socked away for emergencies, then you may feel more confident working a bunch of side hustles knowing you have cash reserves to fall back on if your income takes a temporary hit.

Should you really quit your full-time job to freelance?

Working full-time isn't the ideal setup for everyone, and you may end up better off with a series of side hustles instead of a single full-time job. Of course, you might also decide to keep your full-time role and work a side gig on top of that. Ultimately, you'll need to see what works best for your schedule, wallet, and mind.

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