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5 ways side hustles can help you climb the career ladder

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay | 03 December 2019

The modern Australian employee is a far cry from one of decades past: with more tech and social media-savviness, work flexibility, and engagement in an increasingly popular new practice – the “side hustle”. 

Research shows that one in four full-time employees already have a passion project on the side; with business adviser Brian Dorricott predicting this to be an employment norm in years to come. With the flexibility of modern-day jobs and online technologies, pursuing a side business has become more feasible than ever. 

Extra income and entrepreneurial goals aside; a side hustle can also offer plenty of benefit to one’s current role. 

SkillsTalk look into the five main ways a side hustle can help you advance in your main gig.

How can a side hustle help me climb the career ladder?

  1. They build on your confidence.
  2. They sharpen your people skills (and expand your network!). 
  3. They help you gain new skillsets.
  4. They make you a more efficient worker.
  5. They drive your passion and sense of purpose.

1. They build on your confidence.

Though oftentimes restrictive, the established hierarchy in our regular jobs alleviates responsibility of making any final, instrumental decisions. With a side hustle, however, you’ve got to be your own boss – allowing you to build your confidence and leadership skills.

Having a side hustle is essentially having your own business; one that grants you the freedom to manage in the ways you see fit. All transactions, paperwork, and administrative duties are in your hands – and while a daunting role to pull off, it offers plenty of valuable business lessons along the way. It not only tests your skills as an effective manager (brushing up on self-discipline or time management abilities), it also offers the tenacity to try new things and take risks. 

These ventures let you tap into your inner entrepreneur, pulling you out of your comfort zone to meet the right people, build a self-made brand, and learn the new skillsets required to get your hustle off the ground. Such newfound confidence can carry over to your main job; allowing you to perform with a brand-new boldness, discipline and independence to advance to more senior positions. 

2. They sharpen your people skills (and expand your network!).

teamwork concept

Side hustles also offer the opportunity of meeting new people in your industry, helping you expand your connections. 

Our main jobs often have us in the same work environment, with the same people, day-in day-out. But pursuing something new with a side business helps get yourself out there, meeting with fresh new faces to grow your list of partners, clients, or vendors. As such, you get to hone your interpersonal and professional communication skills – helping you not only form better connections for your hustle, but for your main line of work, as well. 

Owner of her side business known as New England Essentials (a brand supporting and empowering women to be leaders), Kerri Koen shares with Forbes on the further benefit of a “side hustle” allowing her to practice her “authenticity” in the workplace.

She explains how intimidating it can be to “bring your whole self” to the office; though having a side gig that not only built on her confidence, but her people skills, to boot – helped her grow more comfortable and open up to colleagues in her main job. This therefore allowed her to build a more meaningful network at work, with people who would offer the necessary support to advance in her career.

3. They help you gain new skillsets.

Unless your side hustle falls under the same profession as your main job, they offer the valuable opportunity of learning new technical skillsets.

Whether it’s the ability to create a website, copywriting, or SEO expertise – pursuing a side business lets you gain new career skills that boosts your drive to take on new, exciting challenges.

In the same Forbes article, Koen shares how a side hustle gave her courage to pursue new opportunities at the office; projects she would’ve normally avoided for fear of being “unqualified”. 

Acquiring new skills outside your comfort zone helps you develop a passion for learning, opening your mind up to challenges at work that could help in advancing your current position. If relevant, colleagues will also likely turn to you for your new expertise and knowledge. 

These new talents will additionally look good on your resume for potential future employers; not only for your technical abilities, but for your initiative and willingness to expand your competencies.

According to McCrindle, there’s no better time than now to upskill – with technology offering mobile, flexible ways of training in your field of choice. Upskilled, for example, delivers all of its courses online, granting full-time employees the ease of updating their “side hustle” skills while tending to their work commitments.

4. They make you a more efficient worker.

productive freelancer

Most of your newly-acquired knowledge may exclusively apply to your side hustle, but you’ll likely gain new (or enhance existing) skillsets that transfer to most jobs, regardless of industry.

These include administrative, time management, and multi-tasking skills, along with the resilience to balance everything under pressure. Managing a business of your own is tough enough, though this stress is doubled alongside your full-time job. You must learn how to spend both your time and energy wisely to make room for all necessary tasks. Honing your organisational skills can therefore help you streamline your workflow in both your side hustle and main gig.

These ventures thus not only strengthen your general working skills, but can boost your overall productivity at work, making you a more valuable, efficient employee. 

Side hustles also exercise skills in creative and critical thinking – both highly regarded abilities for any employer.

New ideas and experimental concepts are much-needed to distinguish your business in a saturated marketplace; bringing these to your current role can help you stand out among your colleagues and help you advance in your position. 

5. They drive passion and a sense of purpose.

Finally, a side hustle lights the fire you need to pursue both your personal and career goals. 

With a side hustle, you’re chasing the interests that engage you most; sparking new motivation and inspiration to take with you to your main job. A successful side hustle often gives a new sense of purpose, thus boosting your happiness levels. When you’re happier in your personal life, you’ll typically bring those same positive vibes to the workplace. As a result, you’ll have greater drive to give your best performance, likely boosting your career in the process.

Plus, being pursuits of actual passion, they feel a lot less like work and more like “beneficial extended play”. These ventures are thus great sources of stress-relief and personal satisfaction, refreshing you for your regular, daily job duties. 

Side hustles additionally help you self-reflect on your goals and true passions. This can further motivate you to pursue more senior positions at your job, or inspire you take on a different role. For example, after running a side business as a freelance social media specialist, you may find yourself better-suited for your company’s marketing department. 

With the newfound skills and confidence you’ve gained from your side hustle, you’ll have a better chance of convincing your managers and demonstrating your abilities to gain the role you deserve.

Ready to take on a side hustle?

With the right work ethic and drive, a side hustle can bring positive impact to your current job – enhancing your skillset, building new ones, and re-igniting that career-driven motivation. 

As mentioned, upskilling is an effective way of gaining the skills you need for your side business. From business and administration courses to those in information technology, Upskilled offers over 80 qualifications to train you in the field of your choice. This nationally-recognised training can give you that necessary boost of industry expertise – for both your side hustle or full-time job. 

Get the skills you need to climb that career ladder, and enquire on a course today

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