Side Hustles are Overrated

A Google search shows considerable interest in so-called ‘side hustles’. The idea is, it is possible to supplement your income by earning extra money on your own, in addition to a regular job or going school.

Most of the hype surrounding side-hustles is unwarranted, and it’s much harder to be successful than one may be inclined to believe.

A major problem with side-hustles is that the pay is terrible. Driving for Uber, for example, not only is a lot of work and requires following Uber’s terms of service, but the pay works out to less than minimum wage. One of the benefits of a side hustle is you get to specify how much you charge, and there is much more autonomy than a regular job, but many such ‘gig economy’ jobs require forfeiting such autonomy. Same for installing WordPress templates or basic coding work, in which you will be competing with people overseas who can do the work for just a few dollars an hour. Same for writing books and publishing them to Amazon: there is a considerable amount of work and competition involved, high expenses (such as cover design and editing), and thin margins.

From the post Misconceptions about Student Loans and Student Loan Debt, and How Young People Make Money:

The odds of someone without a degree becoming rich and or successfull, unless they have a high IQ, are pretty slim. That is what the cold, hard data says. Selling books on Amazon, installing WordPress templates, driving an Uber, and other ‘alternatives’ to college as recommended by these pundits, will barely make minimum wage and involve a lot of effort for little pay, and plus you’re competing with low-skilled workers from overseas for many of these freelance jobs. Even Peter Thiels’s fellowship program of paying entrepreneurs $100,000 to dropout of college produced very few successes even though these applicants were chosen by Thiel himself, so they must have had a lot of potential compared to the typical college drop-out.

Another problem is, you will be competing with people who have made your hustle their full-time job. Who do you think is going to be more successful: someone who dabbles in something or someone who does it as a full-time job and has considerably more experience and whose livelihood depends on it? Someone who writes books for a living on Amazon will have such a huge advantage over someone who allocates only a few hours a day to it and has no experience. Even something that seems very simple can have a significant learning curve involved.

To make money on one’s own terms requires mastery and that everything work correctly. As the saying goes, those who cannot do, teach. Someone who is competent can make a living teaching writing or as an English teacher, but only the best can make a living writing best-selling books.

Airbnb is much more like a side hustle in that one has much more control over the terms and there is less work involved, although obviously the initial costs are higher being that one needs an actual property to rent out. Renting is is one of the closest things to a ‘passive income’ that one can find.

Stock and option trading is perhaps the best ‘hustle’ for those who don’t want to spend hours a day writing books or driving for peanuts on Uber, which is why I am working on my second wealth-creation guide.