In 2023, the harsh reality is that a full-time job sometimes doesn’t quite cut it. It simply isn’t enough to pay the bills or support your desired lifestyle. Sometimes, you need a side hustle to keep your life in order and your career on track. And know that if you are juggling side jobs and extra project-based work, not only are you not alone, but you’re in good company.

A 2023 study conducted by One Poll on behalf of Herbalife found that nearly half (40 percent) of Americans rely on side hustles or other forms of supplemental income to navigate today’s challenging economy. Sure, many reasons exist to pursue a side hustle to generate incremental income. However, the study found that 48 percent of respondents with a side hustle started that venture only to help make ends meet.


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Other reasons to have a side hustle, according to the study, are accessing disposable income (29 percent), addressing the rising cost of living (28 percent), and being less reliant on a single source of income (25 percent).

These findings are based on responses from 2,000 Americans and 6,500 international respondents from 9 countries. Imagine how the numbers would shift if you only surveyed Latinas, especially when you consider that recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that Latina women working full-time in the U.S. are paid just 57 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. If anyone could benefit from a side hustle to help make ends meet or simply add a financial cushion to the perpetually rising living costs, it’s Latinas.

But where do you even begin? And how do you ensure that your side hustle is worth the work?

The power of the side hustle

There is a real power where side hustles are concerned — you can find time to do not only one job but multiple. You can pursue more than one passion and explore your talents and interests in various roles or industries. 

Instead of being tethered to one job and one job only, you’re granted the ability to benefit from multiple career tracks while learning from a wider net of talent and mentors and making extra money each step of the way. Plus, side hustles grant flexibility and freedom that most 9-to-5 jobs can’t provide. 

But how do you get started with a side hustle, and how do you make sure that your side hustle not only provides you with extra work but also works for you? First of all, seek out mentors who have been in your shoes. 

Events such as The Side Hustle Summit offer opportunities for people to come together to network, learn from other entrepreneurs and gig workers and be empowered and inspired by success stories from others who turned side hustles into successful careers. In addition, many online courses (free and paid) provide advice, guidance, and expert insight into launching a side hustle and maintaining a successful business strategy with those side projects. 

Side hustles can range from small commitments to larger passion projects to one-time jobs, and there really is something for everyone. 

Each type of side hustle has its own unique benefits 

What is consistent across all side hustles is that they make use of all your spare time for something productive, meaningful, and financially beneficial. Side hustles can earn you extra cash, exposure, learning opportunities, and ideas to put towards all your career goals. 

Many people convince themselves they have no free time for more work. But just consider all the time you spend on social media, watching TV, or daydreaming. If you cut out just one hour of that social media consumption, you could use it to make extra money, which in turn can support your larger professional goals. 

Just one hour taking online surveys can earn you over $20, delivering food during your free time could make you extra cash, mowing lawns could earn you over $15 an hour, and freelance bookkeeping work can earn you up to $1000 a month. And remember that $20 an hour over a month could earn you thousands to be put towards other goals. 


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Focus on more than just money — what inspires you and your work?

For a side hustle to truly be successful, it has to be based on something you care about or, at a minimum, enjoy doing. Sure, sometimes work is just work, but to make a side hustle really work for you, it should be based on a passion or a goal that you feel strongly about on a personal level. 

Don’t pick something based solely on the financial upside, urges Anthony Gaenzle, an advisor who has coached small business owners on topics like marketing, SEO, and startup strategy. 

“If you truly want to succeed in launching a new business or side hustle, you need to choose something about which you are passionate,” he said. Consider what skills you already have and how you want to develop those skills further. It’s harder to give up on a side hustle that you feel invested in, Gaenzle explained to “Business Insider.”

Another aspect of side hustles to consider is whether or not the work feels significant in some way. Research shows that a side hustle that directly influences others can be more enriching and, therefore, more empowering and fulfilling. 

It’s also essential that the side hustle aligns with your motives and personality traits. For example, someone who thrives in social environments would benefit less from a solitary gig such as online surveys. 

“Choosing a side hustle should involve consideration of congruence between one’s motives for the activity and the likelihood the side hustle will fulfill those motives,” according to Harvard Business Review.  


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Start with baby steps and be honest about what you can handle

Don’t be intimidated by the idea of adding more to your plate. Instead, focus on small steps that will help move the needle toward your dream career role. For example, if your goal is to launch your own business, don’t invest in a new venture right away. Take on small projects to help you access the necessary skills and experiences without investing aggressive funds upfront. 

“Do small projects that don’t use up a ton of funds first and leave the major hurdles for when you have more capital,” suggests career coach and financial expert Catalina Peña. This strategy allows you to try out new roles before dedicating too much time or investing too much into that side hustle. 

Finally, always be honest with yourself and your goals. If you expect a side hustle to solve all your problems instantly, you’ll be setting yourself up for disappointment and failure. Set a realistic plan about how much effort and time you can commit to your side hustle and what you expect in return. The key is to try to align your resources with your realistic goals for success.