4 Reasons Why You Haven’t Started Your Side Hustle

UPDATED: August 6, 2021
PUBLISHED: September 22, 2020

You want extra income. You like the idea of working on something interesting, fun, or new. And you want more time flexibility than you’ve had in the past. A side hustle is perfect. Now may be just the right time for you to get started.

But wait! If a side hustle is so good for your sense of fulfillment and your pocketbook, why haven’t you already started one (or scaled the one you have started)?

I’ve heard a lot of reasons why people aren’t chasing their side hustle or aren’t all-in on their dreams to reach the next level of their lives. Here are a few you might be familiar with:

1. You are scared.

The fear of starting something is usually about two main fears: What happens if you fail? What happens if you succeed and can’t sustain it? I’ve found the best way to move through these fears is to play them all the way out to the end. What will actually happen if you fail? You’ll lose the hours you spent, the $50 you invested, and the hope that this thing will make you any money. Is that really enough to stop you from trying? And if you succeed and find yourself overwhelmed, ask for help. You just might be the one giving someone else a side hustle one day.

2. People will see you do stuff.

I don’t know why, but putting ourselves out there and showing the world—or at least the people in our immediate sphere of influence—what we’re thinking, feeling, and hoping for is hard to do. The idea that others might judge us, laugh at us, or even reject us is a real stumbling block toward following our hearts to a side hustle. But think about it this way: If they’re judging you when you try something new, what are they already saying about you when you’re stuck? People are going to talk and have opinions no matter what you do. Why not do what makes you happiest?

3. You’re already doing so much.

Whether you’re a single parent, a full-time employee, or someone juggling multiple part-time jobs, you probably already feel like your time is limited. The idea behind most side hustles is freedom—earning that little bit extra so you can take time off and enjoy it with family or finally being in charge of your schedule so you can be there to help with your kid’s science project. Be realistic about the time you have, but also consider what time you’ll get back if you go for it.

4. You don’t know anything about technology/marketing/fill-in-the-blank.

Everyone is learning. As the author of this column, I probably qualify as one of the preeminent solopreneurial experts in the country. I am the authority. But you know what? I still take continuing education courses online regularly. The world is constantly changing, and so are the skills you need. Don’t take that as an indictment against your abilities. Take it as a challenge. Pick one area you want to learn about and find a mentor—maybe a neighbor, an online teacher, or even your teenager. Learn as you go. But go!

If you’re thinking of starting a side hustle, remember that while some obstacles are very real, others are only in our heads. Take some time to sort out what’s really holding you back and then move ahead with clarity.

The Industry That’s Still Growing

With nearly every industry scaling back or experiencing a loss this year, it’s important to find the areas of growth that still exist and see if you can join in. 

Just as the world was closing its doors and businesses were facing permanent shut-down without profits, the direct selling industry picked up steam. Between March 2020 and April 2020, 80 percent of the top 50 direct selling companies in the United States showed revenue growth—in some cases, record-breaking growth. That progress continued through the spring, according to survey results. 

  • 12 companies achieved all-time record revenue in June
  • 70 percent of surveyed companies reported growth from June compared to May
  • 28 percent remained flat or declined
  • 30 percent showed single-digit growth
  • 42 percent grew double-digit and 
  • much more

Direct selling companies provide products and services backed by research, funding and fully formed marketing systems to independent entrepreneurs or side hustlers. The individual has constant access to the marketing, support and technical resources of the company providing the products or services.

If you’re searching for a place to anchor yourself but all you’re seeing are sinking ships, look closer at direct selling. You might just find a whole new adventure.

Ask the SideHustler:

Q: With everything going on in the world and so many unknowns, I can’t see how this is a good time to start anything. What am I missing? 

A: Listen, I can’t make a guarantee that any time is the perfect time for you to start a side hustle. Your levels of experience, skill, and motivation all play a part in how well you do no matter when you start a new side business. I can however point you to companies and success stories that began during difficult times and hope you feel inspired to push ahead anyway:

General Motors – Way back in 1908, after the San Francisco earthquake and a financial panic led to a recession, William Durant and Charles Stewart Mott, who were already the owners of Buick, founded General Motors. Heard of them?

Electronic Arts – Known as EA to gamers and kids alike, the company was founded at the tail end of the recession and global energy crisis in the early 1980s. Trip Hawkins actually left a job at Apple to launch EA in 1982—talk about a gutsy move.

Chicken Soup for the Soul – Now a full-fledged media company, this emerged from one book, a side hustle for author Jack Canfield, who went through 144 rejections by publishers before finally releasing his now-international bestseller in 1993. Tough times require persistence and belief.

Mailchimp – Ben Chestnut and Dan Kurzius founded this contact management service in 2001, at the time when Nasdaq had lost 75 percent of its value following the 9/11 terrorist attacks and corporate scandals like Enron. Can you imagine founding a digital contact management service during the dot-com recession?

Uber, Airbnb, Groupon, and Square – All founded during the recent Great Recession between 2007 and 2009. Sometimes what seems like a small, simple idea is the start of something big.

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This article originally appeared in the September/October 2020 issue of SUCCESS magazine.
Photo by GaudiLab/Shuttersock.com

Amy Anderson is the former senior editor of SUCCESS magazine, an Emmy Award-winning writer and founder of Anderson Content Consulting. She helps experts, coaches, consultants and entrepreneurs to discover their truth, write with confidence, and share their stories so they can transform their past into hope for others. Learn more at AmyKAnderson.com and on Facebook.