Across the Personal Finance ecosystem, I’ve read many articles where writers have taken time from their lives to earn side income.
They’ve earned this side income through various means such as rental property management, tutoring, course offerings, consulting, being an Uber or Lyft driver, completing surveys online, and others that I can’t readily remember at the moment.
I admire the perseverance and commitment that many continue to have and to be able to earn from these various avenues.
And while side income is a great way to propel you into financial independence and freedom for the future, it may take away some of the freedom you are presently enjoying.
Time Is Money And More
During a short period of time, I thought maybe I should carve out some of my own time and explore ways to earn side income. I can consult on finance and accounting matters, tutor high school or college students, and complete surveys myself. But then I realized that all of these tasks require the same thing: TIME.
To be honest, I don’t have a lot of time. My wife and I both work full-time and have two young boys. On most weeknights, we hit the ground running once we get home (i.e., prepare dinner and semi-prepared for the following day), review homework, feed kids and then have about an hour or two to ourselves once the kids are asleep to catch up on laundry, (sometimes writing for me) and then we are more tired than our kids. By the time we’re done, we’re more tired than our kids. 🙂
I also realized my family deserves my time. I already spend time working on this website and publishing content once a week. Plus I spend time reading and commenting on many other websites as well. I feel it’d be unfair to ask my family for more time. Time can’t be created. We all have the same 24 hours per day and it’s all about how we choose to use those hours and minutes.
I suppose it’s the accounting mentality engrained in me that’s always thinking about balance – and in this case, it’s work time and personal time. And I prefer to tip the scale towards the latter.
Let’s face it if you earn a side income that requires effort it’s very rare that would not feel like work. You may be working on something you prefer outside of your regular 9 to 5 job, but it still is work and requires your time.
Side Income Feasibility May Depend On Your Stage In Life
If you are young and single, you may have more time available to earn side income. I say more time available because as I said earlier, we all get the same 24 hours. You may have greater motivation too.
For someone who just graduated college with tens of thousands of dollars in student debt, it may make sense to earn side income that you can earmark to pay off your debt as quickly as possible.
You may think a bit more about a side income if you’ve paid off all your debt (excluding mortgage), are well into your career, have a family, are contributing significantly to your retirement account (I’m on pace to contribute the maximum by this time next year), and have a well-funded emergency fund (3 to 6 months) depending on if you’re a two-income family.
Don’t Underestimate Your Career And Its Potential
Don’t feel pressured to earn side income especially if you are into a stable career with growth potential. Instead, work to optimize your primary career. Volunteer for challenging projects when you don’t have a clue what to do and learn on the fly if you have to.
I remember a quote from Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, “[i]f somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”
Consider becoming certified in whichever field you are in to increase your chances of a bump in compensation or even a promotion. Or consider moving into a smaller organization. Because resources are scarce in smaller organizations, you can gain skills quickly, excel in creative thinking and problem solving, and may be able to market yourself better (i.e., lay the groundwork for a stronger position in a shorter time-frame).
You May Be Earning Side Income Already
Focus on your investing philosophy and stick to it. Remember, you are still earning side income if any of your investments pay dividends. Gain comfort in that you have worked hard to save your money and used it to invest in something you believe in and are reaping the rewards of that investment.
And the best part is, dividends are arguably one the purest forms of passive income. You literally sit in front your computer and see the dividend income hit your account, boom! 🙂
And if you’re invested in bonds, you’re probably earning interest income as well, another super passive form of income.
I’m not discouraging anyone from achieving their financial goals by earning side income. Remember that if you want to pursue side income and are still able to maintain a quality of life, both physical and mental, then go for it.
But don’t do so because it is something that is becoming more and more popular. At the end of the day, you may or may not achieve financial freedom faster, but you will definitely lose time that you will not get back.
Join The Discussion:
- Do you earn side income apart from your regular job?
- How many hours per week do you dedicate to earning side income?
- Have your relationships benefitted or suffered as a result of taking time to earn side income?
- Do you think people who don’t earn a side income may be lazy or are not spending their time wisely?
I use Personal Capital because (1) it’s free, (2) it tracks all of my accounts and overall net worth, (3) my account balances automatically update, (4) it shows how my investments are diversified and allocated in various sectors, and (5) can use built-in tools like “Investment Checkup” to get….wait for it…free personalized advice!