Side Gig: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
July 23, 2023

The term "side gig" often refers to an additional job or business a person takes on, apart from their main source of income. These are typically flexible, part-time roles that cater to a person's skills or passions. In other words, your "side hustle" supplements your regular paycheck.

In short:

"Side gig" implies a secondary job or business that one pursues along with their primary profession for extra income, skill development, or passion.

What Does "Side Gig" Mean?

"Side gig" is a modern term that describes an additional job or ventures a person carries out along with their main job. This could be anything from freelance work, part-time business, or any hobby that generates income. The term suggests that while these activities aren't a person's primary source of income, they are important enough to devote time and effort to.

Let's delve into its core meanings and usage:

  • It often symbolizes financial prudence, indicating that someone is diversifying their income sources to bolster financial security.
  • It can reflect one's entrepreneurial spirit or passion, indicating that they are pursuing a hobby or interest in a way that also makes money.
  • Though primarily used in a professional or financial context, the term "side gig" is highly versatile and can apply to various scenarios - from tutoring and babysitting to blogging and selling handmade crafts.

Where Does "Side Gig" Come From?

The term "side gig" has its roots in the world of music, where a "gig" initially referred to a performance by a musician or group. However, its meaning has broadened as the years passed. In recent years, particularly with the rise of the gig economy, the term "side gig" has become increasingly popular. It now reflects the trend of pursuing part-time or flexible work alongside a main job, often to earn extra income, pursue a passion, or gain new skills.

Historical Example

"I got a side gig working for the local Tucson paper until we started putting out our own Daily Apex."

- The Fabulous Sinkhole and Other Stories, 1995

10 Examples of Side Gigs in Sentences

Here are some examples of the term "side gig" in use:

  • Managing a full-time job and a side gig could be a boon or a bane, depending on one's time management skills.
  • He took up freelance graphic designing as a side gig to supplement his income.
  • Pro tip: If you're passionate about photography, consider turning it into a side gig.
  • Side gigs can be a great way to pursue a hobby while also making some extra money.
  • His side gig as a graphic designer aligned with his passion for art and creativity.
  • I hear you, it’s hard to juggle a side gig and a family, but you have to do what you have to do.
  • So it goes in the world of entrepreneurship, where nearly everyone has a side gig these days.
  • He started dog walking as a side gig, and it grew into a lucrative business.
  • When you need extra cash, consider taking a side gig.
  • "No guts, no glory," he said as he quit his boring job and pursued his side gig as a stand-up comedian.

Examples of Side Gigs in Pop Culture

The concept of "side gigs" often appears in pop culture, typically reflecting the hustle culture and the idea of financial independence.

Let's explore some instances:

  • Olamide's song "At Your Service" includes the line: "Girl, I'm not trynna make you a side gig."
  • In the book "Concrete Rose" by Angie Thomas, the phrase is used: "He's also running a dangerous side gig dealing drugs, despite promising his mother he'd avoid the riskier and deadlier side of gang life."
  • "The Sige Gig" is an episode of the podcast series Slate Money.
  • The phrase "side gig" appears in a discussion about becoming an NFL referee on "Because of the time and experience required, an elite official gets in the game early, usually as a side gig for youth sports or ..."
  • The phrase was mentioned in an article titled "Josh Tatofi Explains His Creative Process, and a Surprising Side Gig" in Hawaii Business Magazine.
  • The book "Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days" by Chris Guillebeau encourages readers to start their own side gigs.

Other/Different Ways to Say "Side Gig"

There are numerous alternative expressions that convey a similar meaning to "side gig."

Here are some of them:

  • Side hustle
  • Part-time job
  • Freelance work
  • Moonlighting
  • Secondary job

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Side Gig":

  • What does "side gig" mean?

"Side gig" refers to a secondary job or venture that a person engages in apart from their primary profession. It usually serves as an additional income source or as an outlet for pursuing a hobby or passion.

  • How can I use "side gig" in a sentence?

You can use "side gig" to describe an additional job or income-earning activity. For example, "If it weren’t for his side gig as a freelance writer, he would not be able to pay his bills on time."

  • Where does the term "side gig" come from?

The term "side gig" originates from the music industry, where "gig" referred to a performance by a musician or band. It has since evolved to mean any job or task, particularly a secondary one.

  • Is having a "side gig" common?

Yes, having a "side gig" has become increasingly common, especially with the rise of the gig economy and digital platforms that facilitate part-time or freelance work.

  • Can a "side gig" turn into a full-time job?

Yes, it's possible for a "side gig" to evolve into a full-time job, especially if it proves to be financially rewarding and aligns with a person's passion or long-term career goals.

  • Does a "side gig" always involve earning money?

Generally, a "side gig" is a term used for income-earning activities. However, it can also refer to meaningful or productive activities outside of one's main job, even if they don't necessarily generate income.

  • How can I find a "side gig"?

There are many ways to find a "side gig." This can include using freelance job platforms, networking, starting a small business, or monetizing a hobby or skill.

  • Can a "side gig" benefit my career?

Yes, a "side gig" can benefit your career in various ways. It can help you gain new skills, build your professional network, and may even open up new career paths.

  • Is balancing a full-time job and a "side gig" hard?

It can be challenging to balance a full-time job and a "side gig," especially without good time management. It's important to ensure that your "side gig" doesn't interfere with your primary job responsibilities.

  • Are there any downsides to having a "side gig"?

While a "side gig" can provide extra income and personal satisfaction, it can also lead to overwork or burnout if not managed properly. It's essential to maintain a balance and ensure that your "side gig" doesn't negatively impact your primary job or personal life.

Final Thoughts About "Side Gig"

"Side gig" is a term that's become increasingly relevant in today's gig economy. Many people find value in pursuing these additional ventures, whether for financial reasons, personal satisfaction, or career growth. The idiom highlights the evolving nature of work in our society and the various opportunities available for those willing to explore outside their main jobs.

Here's a quick recap:

  • A "side gig" represents a secondary job or venture a person engages in alongside their primary profession.
  • People often have "side gigs" for extra income, to pursue passions, or to gain new skills.
  • "Side gigs" can range from freelance work and part-time businesses to monetizing a hobby.

In our dynamic world, having a "side gig" can serve as a valuable tool for financial growth, skill development, and personal fulfillment. It reflects the adaptability and versatility that modern workers often need to thrive.

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