5 Ways a Side Hustle Can Advance Your Career

The other day, I was in a meeting with my entire company when everyone started clapping for me. I work at a company with a supportive culture where we regularly celebrate one another’s accomplishments, so the clapping wasn’t particularly surprising, but what they were congratulating me for was. It wasn’t a campaign or piece of content for a client—in fact, it wasn’t related to my full-time job at all. The CEO had announced that I had an article published in Fast Company, a personal goal for my freelance writing career. It was that meeting that got me thinking more about the ways that a side hustle can help your full-time job.

There is a common misconception that having a side hustle is detrimental to one’s career. The myth is that if you’re doing something on the side, you aren’t 100 percent focused on your full-time job. I’ve found the opposite to be true: My writing and marketing outside of work makes me better at my job. I am constantly learning about new industries, fostering relationships, being creative, and making my writing stronger. Still skeptical?

Here are five ways that a side hustle can actually help you at your full-time job.

5 Ways a Side Hustle Can Advance Your Career

1. You learn new skills.

With a side hustle, you’re constantly learning new things. Whether you’re designing websites, writing a blog, coding, or managing a freelance writing career, you are continuously learning and improving your specific skill set. I recently starting editing our company’s blog. Even though it was a new project, I had a head start because I’ve been managing and editing my own for years. I was able to tap into my knowledge of SEO, writing catchy headlines, editing, understanding what an audience wants to read, and consistently brainstorming new post ideas. Ideally, your full-time job is related to your part-time gig and these areas of expertise will make you better at both.

2. You expand your network.

For your side hustle to be successful, you need to find new clients and grow your professional network. You can learn from other people’s career paths and insights at every stage of your career. Meeting new people helps you grow as a professional.

3. You strengthen your personal brand.

Part of running a side hustle is building and maintaining a personal brand. You become recognized as an expert. Specializing in a skill and having a personal brand makes you stand out and be seen as indispensable at work. People at work are likely to turn to you for advice on your expertise. One of my colleagues has an extremely popular Instagram profile so we always turn to her for advice on working with influencers or Instagram best practices. Similarly, people come to me for blogging advice and even career advice since that’s the subject of most of my freelance writing.

4. You become more confident.

When you are working on a side hustle, you have to be a self-starter. You have to learn new skills, meet new people, and build your brand and business on your own. This autonomy makes each accomplishment feel even better. Knowing that you can be your own boss and meet your goals on your own will increase your confidence.

5. You become happier.

When you’re doing something you’re passionate about, you’ll be happier in all aspects of your life. Having a side hustle isn’t easy. You’ll find yourself working long nights, early mornings, and weekends. But if you truly love it, it’s worth it. I’m happier at work and in my personal life when I am doing something I care about.

Having a side hustle brings more than an extra income—it can help you at your full-time job. Just make it clear that you will give 110 percent at work. You may find that you’re happier and more confident in all aspects of your life.

This article is by me and it was originally published on Levo League. Image via Domaine Home.

31 Responses to 5 Ways a Side Hustle Can Advance Your Career

  1. Congratulations on having your article published in Fast Company! That’s amazing that your company recognized you for it and it shows that they really care about your professional success outside the office. I think having a side hustle can definitely help you in your full-time career, and you’re fortunate to work for a company who acknowledges that.


  2. Alicia says:

    I 100% agree with this post! My blog has helped me so much in my career. It actually got me my first job out of college! Side hustles are so important!

    xo, Alicia | Alicia Tenise

  3. Mikayla says:

    I am all about creating a better brand and being happier! These are awesome advantages to having a side hustle. Congratulations on the article! That’s a huge milestone!

    Mikayla | A Seersucker State of Mind.

  4. Courtney says:

    Agree completely! My blog has definitely helped me so much on my career path, particularly with networking and online presence!

    Courtney//As We Stumble Along   

  5. Jess Zimlich says:

    I love this post, Elana! You make such good points. Having supportive collegaues at your full-time job makes all the difference in the world 🙂

  6. Jenny says:

    Congrats on getting your article published — that’s amazing!
    I feel like my blog has definitely helped my career wise because I am learning so much on both ends.

    xoxo, Jenny || Breakfast at Lillys

  7. Nicole says:

    That’s so exciting that you got published & reached a personal goal for yourself! I think it’s so important to have goals for your achievements outside of your profession. I wish I had more inspiration to hustle a liiiiittle more on the side of my job and my blog. This gave me some motivation to though! x Nicole | http://www.changeanddress.com

  8. Ashley says:

    My “side hustle” has made me such a better public relations pre-professional! I love this article, so helpful!

  9. I agree! Writing and blogging and everything that comes along with it has been such a huge asset to my current job. It’s helped so much, especially with social media. I think your last point is definitely the most important. When something makes you happy, it’s totally worth it, even if it you means you have a few extra things on your plate.

  10. Felice Raina says:

    Side hustles are definitely worth it. It has helped me with internship and also job opportunities. Love this post

  11. Annaliese says:

    Love this! This totally encouraged me about why I spend so much time blogging even though I’m a full time college student right now. And congrats on your article!

    xoxo A

  12. Gina says:

    This is SO relevant to me right now, Elana! Thank you so much for encouraging us as we work more outside of work! I never thought of this perspective of how your side hustle or freelance work can inform your full-time job and make you better. I can definitely see that in my own life, yet I can sometimes get distracted at work thinking about my blog! I’m juggling my first full-time job, blogging and freelancing at the moment, and it is indeed long hours and a lot of work, but I try to keep it all together! Congrats on getting published in Fast Company! It’s so good to know there are similar people out there striving for their goals! Thanks so much for this post!!

  13. Lauren says:

    YES YES YES! This is so perfect!!!! I don’t think a lot of people understand this. I am 100% with you on this one, sister!

    The Fashionista’s Diary

  14. Lindsey says:

    I’m in the midst of doing this myself! I’m definitely seeing some personal growth in my skill sets, confidence, and happiness!
    xx, Lindsey

  15. Nicole says:

    GREAT post!! I’m always hustling at work trying to better myself and get promoted! The only way to go is up, staying stagnant will kill me!

    Nicole // Chronicles of Home

  16. Allison says:

    I love this post! I’ve been wanting to develop my blog into more of a side hustle, but I’ve been worried what my higher ups would say!

  17. jazmine says:

    Congratulations on being featured!! I agree with this post so much. My dad kindly reminded me that it’s not just a side business but a huge part of who I am. Love this.

  18. Annie says:

    OMG this is exactly what I needed to read today! I have been struggling so much this summer with working three jobs, blogging, and stressing out about studying abroad in the fall and reading this inspirational post was perfect! Thanks 😀

    Annie // Annie N Belle

  19. Ashley says:

    Such a great post!!! I completely agree with you!! My side hustle has been a little off lately with everything going on in my life, but now that the wedding is over, I plan on devoting more time to the blog!

    xo Ashley

  20. Aww congratulations on the publication of your article!! Great post, I’ve talked to so many people with tunnel-vision who reject even the concept of a side hustle and this post eloquently answers them!
    xx, Mikkaela

  21. TheCareerHero.com says:

    Building an original personal brand is very important to succeed in job interviews and in general in your career.You need only a bit of preparation! I wrote about a useful guide here

  22. Great post and totally agreed with your thoughts!! And congrats on your article!

  23. Morgan says:

    I love how your blog helped you achieve your goal!! Many people think blogging entails little to no thought, but its a serious side hustle and can land you so many opportunities. Congratulations girl!

    How 2 Wear It [] http://how2wearit.com

  24. Ashley Mason says:

    Congratulations on getting an article published in Fast Company! I totally agree with you that a side hustle can help advance your career. Like you said, you learn more and it gives you more experience! I’m hoping my blog (used as a side hustle!) will help me with getting a job because I want to go into the social media/PR/marketing field. Great post!

  25. Macarena says:

    Congrats on your accomplishment! I totally agree with you. My bosses weren’t too happy with my blog at first but once they saw how much I’ve grown and how I’ve been able to help them, they love it!

    xo // http://www.thematerialgirl.co

  26. Yes, yes, and YES! All so true. Also, props to writing for Levo, Elana!! I absolutely love Levo League and had no idea you wrote for them. I’ll have to stalk their website for you now!

    Coming Up Roses

  27. Hopefully one day my side hustling will work for me. It’s been quite the struggle, but yet it has made me realize my capabilities of side hustling.

  28. Nancy says:

    These tips are great and so true! Freelancing allows you to not only grow your brand, but to understand your brand, and the direction you want to take in building that brand and your career.

  29. First of all, that desk is gorgeous! My blog is my side hustle, and it’s taught me a lot about marketing! Also, it really helps you get organized and fully enjoy your life.

  30. Elana you are so spot on with this! I absolutely agree with you, I think having a “side hustle” (loving that!) is extremely beneficial. I’ve had people purchase custom designs from me just because they like my writing style. Your tips are so amazing, and congratulations on your Fast Company article! 🙂

  31. Reese says:

    Amazing story Elana <3

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