A lot of young adults, myself included, followed the traditional career model growing up. You get good grades in high school. Then you go to college, work hard, do an internship, try to network, then graduate. After a lot of job applications and a couple years working low wage jobs, you land an entry level position in your field and everything is good. You slowly work your way up and get progressively more and more money. That’s how it’s supposed to work right?
The problem is that a lot of colleges are failing to prepare people for the real world. I’m not going to bash colleges too much, I already wrote an article about how college is not worth it for most people. They have their pros and cons depending on what you study and your finances. What I’m going to talk about instead is two things: 1. Why the traditional career model I mentioned is not working for a lot of people and 2. Why entrepreneurship and side hustles are becoming more and more popular.
Let’s get back to the scenario. You are fresh out of college and looking to get into your field of study. Your first order of business is to apply to positions you want. This varies a lot by industry, some majors will land you a decent job right out of the gate. For most majors though you will have to put in a tremendous amount of networking, applications, and contact to get a decent position. Gary Vaynerchuk has a great video on how school is failing entrepreneurs that you should check out. Another big obstacle is that a lot of ‘entry level’ positions require a few years of experience and additional skill sets that college may not have prepared you for. This leads many people to take a below-par job that will pay the bills but is not satisfying or challenging. This is the situation I have been in since I graduated almost 4 years ago. A job like this is fine if it’s temporary, but most of these jobs are unrelated to their major/desired field, so they are stuck in these roles while not getting the experience they need to move out.
If you never went to college or any type of vocational/trade school, then you are fighting a bigger battle. An associates or bachelor’s degree always looks better than nothing and will give you preference over other candidates, but how do you get into something that pays well and you are interested in? People are becoming bored with the 9-5 office job. A lot of them don’t like their boss, co-workers, and the corporate environment. They don’t want to be stuck in a position with no upward mobility. They want a job where they have more flexibility and their hard work is rewarded. Many of us are working jobs we barely tolerate and seeing no way out.
This is where entrepreneurship and side hustles come into play. The beautiful thing about these is that you have more control over your destiny. You can pick your own hours, pick the type of work you want to do, and have more overall freedom. They are different types of work but share some attributes. An example is monetizing a blog, which can start as a side hustle and turn into a full, registered business.
A ‘side hustle’ is any job you do outside of your main job to make extra income. Popular side hustles are Uber driving, waiting tables, creating artwork, etc. These are becoming more and more popular for a few reasons. The first is that it is an escape from your main job. Like I mentioned, people are getting bored with their main job and want some variety. These side jobs provide a change of state and sometimes a creative outlet. I have a co-worker who creates custom artwork using glitter and paint. And another one who has her own podcast. Side hustles also provide extra income. Making an extra $100 a week or so is very attractive to a lot of people. Especially with the cost of living going up for millions of people. Side hustles are mandatory for some people. Rent, student loans, car payments, these bills can add up to huge amounts. This money can also be saved up or invested. The last reason is that sometimes people just have too much time on their hands. Why sit around at home binge watching Netflix or scrolling through Facebook when you could be making some extra money? Side hustles are providing an escape and improved quality of life for many people.
This leads me to entrepreneurship. I have become romanticized by the idea of running my own business and not having to report to a boss, that is a dream shared by most people. If you like your job and are satisfied with it, I’m not knocking you. It’s just not everyone’s cup of tea. We live in an age where it has never been easier to start your own business. Blogging, digital marketing, YouTube, drop shipping, and other industries didn’t exist a couple decades ago but are now becoming attractive alternatives to the traditional career models. Now the big disclaimer here is that it is NOT easy to make a lot of money using these methods. It will take a huge amount of effort and dedication to start any kind of business. You will have to invest a lot of time and money. But the payoff can absolutely be worth it. If you are struggling to get a good job or hate the one you are in, you can create your own. If you have a skill set but can’t find an employer, you can become a freelancer. Get registered, learn how to do cost-efficient marketing, figure out tax requirements, and then learn how to beat your competitors. Many people start a side hustle then turn it into an actual business. I have a friend from High School that is a Masseuse for hire. She went to massage therapy school and couldn’t find a job, so she just created a Facebook page and did word-of-mouth advertising. Now she is making a decent living and her own boss. She sets her prices and what clients she works with. Not bad!
I urge everyone reading this to take action if you are not satisfied with your life. Don’t get stuck in a dead-end job that you dread going to in the morning. Most of us spend at least 40 hours a week working and that is a large chunk of your life. Start a side-hustle, brainstorm business ideas, think about your goals and dreams. If you could do anything for the rest of your life what would it be? Work hard and keep hustling!