Not for secondary hustle
You must have heard of how you’re supposed to quit your job and become an entrepreneur? You’ve heard these influencers talk endlessly about why you should quit your day job and not work for someone else. And how you should get away from the safety net.
You listen to them and finally begin a stampede in hopes of quitting your day job. You start earning a few thousand dollars by writing online, starting a YouTube channel, or spamming hundreds of random people. Whatever routes it seems to work for you. The dream seems to come true.
The idea of quitting your day job to pursue a life as an entrepreneur is exhilarating. But let me tell you this. Don’t. Not for a side hustle.
Thousands of years of evolution have made the brains of domestic sapiens attracted to novelty. When we see something new, we see that it has the potential to reward us in some way. This potential that lies in new things motivates us to explore our surroundings for rewards.
Anything new, different or unusual is sure to catch our eye. A new phone, a new work environment, a new friend. Changing the color of our hair, wearing new clothes, visiting a new place. In fact, we can even be attracted to newness without realizing it.
Many things that give us a dopamine boost can be reversible. You can always change your hair color if you want. But if you quit your day job for a side hustle, there’s no going back. The security of knowing that you can wake up the next morning and still have a job now is gone. Even if it was boring, you knew the work that was required of you and you were sure to have a fixed income.
Sometimes boredom is good.
Leaving your day job means there is no safety net, no backup plan. You are literally in full swing.
It’s very easy to see the appeal of a side hustle: unlike traditional, darker jobs, the “side hustle” suggests you’re a go-getter who makes the most of your time. You don’t take your skills or time for granted; you graft in order to advance in the capitalist space. It’s particularly focused on creative endeavors and therefore confuses doing what you love with getting paid for it — something many millennials and Gen Zers have come to expect from their jobs but often haven’t found.
The problem, of course, is that secondary hustle as a lifestyle choice doesn’t always correspond to reality. Despite attempts to codify the “secondary bedroom” as an aesthetic, working for oneself in this way is not an aspiration. It blurs the line between work and personal life, with the former spilling over into your home space. It takes space, time and money without necessarily delivering the promised return on your investment. You will soon become someone who will work around the clock for yourself to avoid working an hour a day for someone else.
And, sometimes, life can throw an unexpected curve. There might be an unexpected new member in the family. Or maybe a huge medical bill that can offset your plans. Sometimes the side hustle may not go as well as you initially thought – Demand may decrease and it may take longer than initially expected.
Given the hard, dark truth that 9 out of 10 startups fail, depending on a hustler for the rest of your life doesn’t have to make your life that much easier. This is good news for those of you who have an anxiety attack when you think you have to quit your day job to make your dream come true.
So why do you need to quit your day job? What if we could quickly and easily create an additional stream of income without giving up the security of a full-time job?
Organizational psychologist Adam Grant suggests that entrepreneurs might be better served by jumping into the process. And while cautious and conservative traits may not buy into the popular belief that to be successful, entrepreneurs must be “all-in,” it fits the stories of some of the brightest people in business today.
Even a year after inventing the Apple computer, Steve Wozniak still worked at Hewlett-Packard. The platinum artist john legend released his first album in 2000, but continued to work as a management consultant until 2002. The famous cartoonist Scott Adams and author kept his job at Pacific Bell for 7 years after his first comic book appeared in the newspapers.
These names show that it is normal to maintain your daily work with the secondary restlessness. Doing the work parallel with your daily work gives you extra time to revise and iterate on the business plan. This gives you a buffer in case the original plan fails. And the day job ensures that you have enough liquidity in case of such obstacles.
Airbnb failed four times before finding success. Having a day job gives you that opportunity to fail.