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Why Is Having a Side-Hustle Even More Important Now, and How to Start One?

Updated: Apr 29, 2020

by Lee Xin Hui, Rachel. |

Crunch is partnering with Hey Alfred - the smartest financial assistant app powered by Ai to help you track all of your financial assets; to bring you this series.

In this series, we want to provide you with helpful information to gain better financial literacy. Through this journey, you will learn how to manage your money better, save more and secure your finances for the future. If you often find yourself clueless on money matters like paying your first income tax, applying for loans or even how to save more without feeling miserable, this series is just for you.

We got your back. It’s time to take control of your #MoneyMatters.

Times seemed to be simpler before adulting: we go to school, we graduate, we get a job, we try to climb the career ladder or we settle depending on what we want in life, we survive. I don’t know about you, but I am not very at ease with the thought of being financially lacking, especially when a sudden pandemic has put a halt into most people’s income. Sure, a stable 9 - 5 job would have sufficed, but what happens when the company is forced to shut down, rendering the employees (ie: you and me) jobless? What if the economy takes a plunge and suddenly even bare necessities burn holes in our pockets?

That is why we always need a back-up plan to survive; and in financial terms, we call these back-up plans a ‘side hustle’. Read on and you will learn why it is important to have one, even when there is no pandemic going on.

1. It gives you a peace of mind

Working in two jobs firstly takes your worry off of a sudden change; when you suddenly find yourself in the face of retrenchment or any other last-minute circumstances that’ll cost you your day job, at least you’ll still have another source of income while you search for another.

If your side hustle is a self-employed business, having it alongside your stable job helps lighten the burden of using your existing savings to fund your own business.

Plus, if you’re just starting out, you might not even generate revenue, so having your main income to sustain you will give you a peace of mind so you can better focus on growing your business.

2. It can help fulfil your ‘do what you love’ dream

We all have that dream to ‘do what you love so you wouldn’t have to work’, until reality sets in and we realise ‘what we love’ sometimes isn’t something that pays well. While I don’t agree with the initial phrase because what you love will also require a certain amount of (if not more) work, having a side hustle of your choice can help fulfil that dream of working on something you're actually passionate about.

Whatever your dream job is, there’s always a place for you to fulfil that, you just have to dig deep enough and work hard enough. We’ll talk about how to do that further in this article.

3. It allows you to live more comfortably

Although balancing two or more jobs means harder work and lesser free time, the rewards you reap will eventually be worth it. One way to organise your spending is to have your main income to fund your basic necessities, and your side income to fund your occasional luxuries. That way you won’t risk relying solely on one source of income, and you’ll also have extra to pamper yourself. After all, we’re all hustling so that we can give ourselves a more comfortable life, so while you cannot afford that with only your day job, maybe your side income will get you that pair of shoes you’ve always coveted, or if you save up more maybe it’ll get you that long-awaited dream vacation.

4. It contributes to your savings or your emergency funds

If you’re living by a ‘suffer now, enjoy later’ philosophy, your side income can go into your emergency, retirement funds or your house mortgage since you don’t have many materialistic needs. Changing your perspective of what a ‘side hustle’ allows you to view your side job as something weighty, worthwhile and definitely not just ‘extra’ for disposable and short-term term luxuries.

It may not seem much to you now, but if you’re consistent in adding in a little more each month, it will grow significantly, and by the time you retire, you’ll be able to enjoy life without having to worry about your finances.

With COVID-19 putting us all in an unpredictable situation, now more than ever is why you need to build your Emergency Fund; keeping in consideration of troubles like losing your job, sudden medical bills, car repairs.

The fund would typically be 3-6 months’ of living expenses. However, only 24% of Malaysians are able to sustain their living expenses for at least 3 months - in fact, 52% of Malaysians have difficulty raising even RM1,000 as emergency funds. (Source here.)

Now that you’ve understood the importance of having a side-hustle, here are some ways to get you started.

1. Monetize your skills

The best way to monetize on a side hustle is doing something that you love to do or something you’re good at. That being said - might be hard to narrow down a specific skill you’re good at.

You can monetize your digital skills such as copywriting or freelance your design skills. Hiring freelancers is cheaper than a full-time employee, so it’ll be more apt for you if you’re looking into a side hustle with less commitment to the company. If you have a knack for baking, you can also offer your services and earn some extra bucks! Also, if you have any shareable skills such as language, music, or fitness, look into tutoring over Skype or Zoom.

A quick search of the hashtag #copywriting on job networking sites such as LinkedIn will show you a myriad of employers seeking out freelance copywriters. All you have to do is to reply back to the posting with an “I’m interested” comment. There are also other platforms like Fiverr or Upwork to explore for more opportunities.

2. Spring clean and sell

The best thing to do during the movement control is to reflect on your clothing choices and shopping habits. While the majority of us are abiding by the MCO, this might be the best time to tackle home projects and Marie Kondo your living space.

Ask yourself questions like, “Have I worn or used this in the last 6 months?”, or take the Kondo approach: if an object sparks joy - keep it, if not - let it go.

Some suggested websites to sell your items on are Carousell, Depop, Instagram or use Facebook Marketplace.

3. Answering surveys

Spending way too much screen time? Put it to good use by answering surveys.

Many companies thrive on championing their customers and deliver products and services to meet their demands. Surveys are a great way to fill up some time in between your lunch breaks or during your Netflix binge sessions.

Check out websites such as Vase, Panel Place, WowApp, or Milieu to get started.

4. Finding odd jobs

If you’re not into monetizing your hobby and want to separate passion from the profession, you can also try finding odd jobs on Grab, Goget, or other similar platforms in your radar. These jobs mostly require minimal qualifications, all you need is a good working ethic and your diligence (as with any other jobs); so start asking around and see if any place is looking for an extra hand.

5. Invest

With the rise of inbuilt apps, e-wallets, and auto systems, there are many ways you can invest your side hustle stash through robo-advisory apps, licensed cryptocurrency or even savings in terms of properties or gold. By investing those Ringgits - whether you’re earning 100MYR to 800MYR, you’ll set yourself up for a brighter financial future.

However, do keep in mind that investing comes with certain risks, so do your due diligence and research thoroughly before making a decision in your investments. More importantly, make sure you have settled your debt and you have enough cash in hand for investing.

The best thing about side hustling, aside from the extra income and reaping the rewards in the form of self-development and fulfilment, is that you can literally make money from doing almost anything, and you can often do them from the comfort of your home, which is a good bonus especially in times like the Movement Restriction Order. Whether you’re a student looking for some extra pocket money, or a working adult looking to maximize your income, do give side-hustling a thorough consideration. All the best!

If you’d like to learn more about what COVID-19 means for your money, do check out this article.

You can also learn more about the writer on Instagram.

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