the process

quitting the side hustle

a lot of finance blogs right now are writing about starting a job on the side, a freelance gig, a hobby that pays – something that qualifies as a side hustle. in general, we’re all for increasing earnings. but we’ve recently done just the opposite – quit the side hustle that was actually hurting our ability to earn and save and retire.

we can only assume that for a lot of people, the hourly rate of the side hustle is higher than the practical hourly rate of the full-time gig. for us, though, our side hustle (she used to teach some fitness classes in addition to a full-time job) had a lower effective hourly rate because of travel time associated with it and, even at its peak, only ever netted about $10,000 extra per year. granted, that’s plenty of money. but, we realized that in order to earn that money, she had to restrict travel for work, which restricted how much she could commit to projects, which restricted her upward mobility and earning potential.

in a little over a year since giving up the side gig, she has been promoted and has seen her earnings climb more than enough to cover the lost side hustle income. so for us, the best money decision was to focus completely on our full-time jobs and not commit time and energy to the side hustle.

what does that mean for you? it just means do your own math. there are probably lots of situations where the side hustle makes tons of sense, like it did earlier in our careers, when $5,000 or $10,000 made a bit difference, and let us save more. but consider that at some point, holding onto a side gig might actually be holding back your ability to move up and earn more in your main job.

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Categories: the process

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6 replies »

  1. Kudos to you both for making that decision. It’s always hard to turn away money. I always look into side hustles but feel like my job demands so much of my time and I would have higher earning potential focusing on my day job. If I ever stagnate, I would look more seriously into side hustles.

    • I’m super convinced that doing that side hustle was holding back my income potential at my main job, and I absolutely believe that dropping it has helped us earn more. So it’s all good!

  2. This is a great article. I often think of this in terms of, “If i quit my side hustle and spent that time instead getting better at my real job, what kind of return could I expect?”. Of course there are other things to consider as well. Do I really want to be doing my full time job an extra 3-5 hours a week (especially if it is something I’m not passionate about). Do I want to depend on a single source of income, a single employer? I think this becomes less relevant the stronger your skill set becomes, however. Thanks for this article and the perspective though.