It’s no secret that I have mixed feelings about side hustling. Correction: It might be a secret if you missed the post where I called it stupid. While I’m past the point of calling my side hustle names, I do still cringe every time I see it touted as the financial panacea. It’s not always all that it’s
cracked up to be blogged about. But I’m still working on it, so I thought I’d share the state of my side hustle.
In Person is Good
There are tons of ways for teachers to earn extra money. The two that I have stuck with the most consistently throughout my tenure are proctoring tests and tutoring. The need is there, and so is the money. Like all things, though, there’s a catch. You have to know your stuff. Over the years, I’ve gotten offers to tutor that pressure just past my area of expertise. Could I have tested the limits and tutored Spanish 3 or 4? Maybe. But I’ve built a reputation, and I’m not going to gamble with it. Never mind the fact that students and their families deserve better.
Whether it is proctoring exams or tutoring, these in-person side hustles have always been good to me. Though I could wax poetic about how fulfilling I find them (I did that here when a kiddo showed up unprepared to take a national exam), I’ll leave it at this. I can—and have—rake in $20, $40, or even $60 an hour. While I have definitely scaled back, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to totally walk away from this kind of money.
Online Might Be Better
My toes might be in the pool when it comes to online side hustling, but I’m totally still that kid that who is wearing a life jacket, water wings, and about a pound of zinc oxide on her nose. I’m earning a few hundred dollars a month pretty consistently right now, and I am starting to realize this is probably the way to go.
Tutoring and test proctoring have to happen during set hours. Those hours also happen to be the one part of the day that I get to spend with my son now that I’m back at work. To say that I am fiercely protective of those fleeting moments is accurate, if not understated. So there’s some freedom that comes with working online at a time that suits me. Still, I have found online work to be even more unpredictable than face-to-face side hustling. Perhaps it is because I am still finding my footing. Time will tell.
Why I’m Still Side Hustling
I often ask myself why I’m still side hustling. It’s not because I’m overly rested or finding myself with an abundance of time, that’s for sure. I’m also not looking to use it to pivot my career. I’m not looking to make a million dollars. I do my side hustles for the same reason that I teach—I’m passionate about them. I genuinely enjoy them. It’s also because I see it as a way to push myself closer to a goal. Right now, I’m looking to use my side hustle income to offset some of the childcare costs that we are incurring. While I’m not sure I have the time or the client base to cover it all, something is definitely better than nothing.
Less is Definitely More
Regardless of where I land in regards to my side hustles, I’ve come to realize that the less I have to do, the better off I am. Most of you are thinking, “Well, duh,” but it’s really not something I ever expected to see myself type. For most of my life, I’ve clung to busyness like a badge of honor. Earning an income from that busyness seemed to underscore that it was The Right Thing To Do. Now, though, my priorities are much clearer. I will continue to side hustle enough to meet whatever financial goal I’m shooting for at the moment, but I’m not going to sacrifice my priorities for it.
So Tell Me…Where do you stand with side hustles?