Side Hustle: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
December 29, 2023

​The term "side hustle" refers to a job or activity that someone does in addition to their main job to earn extra money. It's often something they're passionate about, like a hobby that can make money or a skill they can offer freelance. Side hustles have become more popular as people seek ways to make more money or explore interests outside their regular jobs. It's a way to use free time productively and can sometimes even become a main career.

In short:

  • A side hustle is a way to earn extra money outside one's main job.
  • It often involves pursuing personal interests or utilizing special skills.

What Does "Side Hustle" Mean?

A side hustle is an additional job or activity separate from someone's primary employment, aimed at earning extra income. It can range from small tasks or freelance work to a full-fledged business that operates alongside a regular job. For example, someone might be a teacher by day and run an online store on weekends or work in an office while freelancing as a graphic designer at night.

Let's dig into its core meanings and usage:

  • It's a secondary source of income, often driven by personal interests or hobbies.
  • People turn to side hustles to earn more money, gain new experiences, or explore different career paths.
  • Side hustles can be diverse, from selling handmade crafts to offering professional services online.
  • They offer flexibility, allowing people to work on these projects independently.
  • Popular examples include freelance writing, tutoring, crafting, and ridesharing.

Where Does "Side Hustle" Come From?

The term “side hustle” is a relatively recent addition to the English language, with its origins traced back to the 1950s. Originally from Dutch, “hustle” meant “to shake,” but over the years, it evolved to include meanings such as  “move quickly” and “give one’s full effort.” By the 1920s, “hustle” had taken on the connotation of “defraud or swindle,” akin to a con job. However, in the 1940s, particularly in Black slang, “hustle” began to signify a “paid job,” a legitimate one at that.

In the 2000s, the term “side hustle” gained popularity due to the rise of the internet and the gig economy. The internet allowed people to earn money through projects on social media, such as blogging or selling crafts on Etsy.

10 Examples of "Side Hustle" in Sentences

To help you understand how to use "side hustle" in different contexts, here are some examples:

  • Please go easy on me as I learn the ropes of side hustling.
  • He started a side hustle as a freelance writer to earn extra money.
  • My side hustle appeals to people from all walks of life, offering something unique for everyone.
  • They use weekends to work on their side hustle, a local catering service.
  • Can you walk me through how you managed to balance your side hustle with your full-time job?
  • While working full-time in marketing, she ran a side hustle as a fitness instructor.
  • Her side hustle of tutoring kids in math helped her pay off her student loans.
  • He converted his love for photography into a profitable side hustle.
  • I'm looking for ways to integrate my side hustle with my current career to create a more fulfilling work life.
  • After months of practice, I have it down to a tee, managing my side hustle efficiently alongside other commitments.

Examples of "Side Hustle" in Pop Culture

The concept of a side hustle is also commonly seen in pop culture, often highlighting the entrepreneurial spirit.

Let's look at some instances:

  • In the book "Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days," Chris Guillebeau guides readers through a journey of turning their passions into profitable side hustles. This book offers a step-by-step framework for launching a successful side project in less than a month.
  • The movie "The Big Short" features a line where a character refers to their investment activities as a "side hustle."
  • “Side Hustle” is an American buddy comedy television series that premiered on Nickelodeon on November 7, 2020.

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say "Side Hustle"

Here are some other phrases that convey the same idea as "side hustle":

  • Part-time business
  • Moonlighting
  • Freelancing
  • Extra gig
  • Secondary job
  • Side project
  • Side gig
  • Supplementary income
  • Passion project
  • Side employment

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Side Hustle":

  • What does "side hustle" mean?

"Side hustle" refers to a job or activity done in addition to one's main job to earn extra income. It often involves personal interests or skills and can range from small tasks to significant projects.

  • How can I start a side hustle?

To start a side hustle, identify a skill or hobby you can monetize, plan how to balance it with your main job, and begin marketing your services or products, either locally or online.

  • Can a side hustle turn into a full-time career?

Yes, many side hustles can evolve into full-time careers, especially if they grow profitable enough and you're passionate about the work.

  • Do I need to pay taxes on income from a side hustle?

Yes, income from a side hustle is taxable. You should report it and pay any necessary taxes according to the laws in your country or region.

  • What are some common side hustles?

Common side hustles include freelance writing, graphic design, tutoring, selling crafts, and ridesharing services.

  • How do I balance a side hustle with a full-time job?

Balance a side hustle with a full-time job by setting specific hours for your hustle, avoiding burnout, and ensuring it doesn't conflict with your primary job's responsibilities.

  • Are side hustles legal?

Side hustles are generally legal, but you should check if there are any restrictions or requirements in your employment contract or local laws.

  • How much time should I invest in a side hustle?

The time you invest in a side hustle depends on your goals, energy levels, and primary job commitments. It's important to maintain a healthy balance.

  • Can I have multiple side hustles?

Yes, you can have multiple side hustles if you can manage them effectively without impacting your main job or personal wellbeing.

  • Is a side hustle suitable for students?

Side hustles can be suitable for students, offering a flexible way to earn money and gain experience while studying.

Final Thoughts About "Side Hustle"

The term "side hustle" is a flexible approach to earning extra income and exploring personal interests alongside a main job. It's useful for those looking to supplement their income, try out entrepreneurial ventures, or pursue passions in a monetizable way.

Here's a quick recap:

  • It's a way to earn extra money while working a main job.
  • Side hustles can range from small tasks to larger business ventures.
  • They offer a chance to explore personal interests and skills.
  • Side hustles require balance, time management, and often adherence to legal and tax regulations.

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