When is a Side Hustle Part of Real Income


When is a Side Hustle not a Side Hustle ?
 
NOTE: In no way is the following muse having any go at an individual, being critical of anyone’s output or anything like that …. just an observation and comment that I hope give pause to reflect and think.
 
 
I don’t know about anyone else, but I do follow a few FIRE blogs and some interesting articles. I do look regularly at new contributors and keep getting struck by the notion of a ‘Side Hustle’.
 
One of the things I keep seeing is the people speaking of it and making reference enough times to make me notice tend to be ones who blog a lot and have very active web sites.
 
So what actually is a side hustle ? Is there a definition or scope I wonder ?
 
Me myself I don’t really have any, but in a very real sense my wife does. I play the bagpipes and although I don’t play anywhere near as much as I used too, I did used to play at weddings and funerals a fair bit over the years but not any more (really cannot be bothered any more). A nice few quid that was too. An old pipe band chum of mine essentially does it professionally playing at anything up to 5 or 6 funerals a week and a few weddings over the year also. Going rate in England varies, but a funeral will be between £100 and £150 (sometimes a bit more for big events) and a wedding will start at £200 and go upwards for the all-day and evening playing. Scotland of course has lower rates (a lot more competition !!).
 
So if I contacted a few funeral parlours and put my name about I could quite easily make two or three grand a year if I chose.
 
My wife is a seamstress (big hobby but very very good). She does dress alterations and embroiders polo shirts, makes cushions and the like. Over a year its a few 100 quid and occasionally more. She picks & chooses and does not charge a lot as she loves doing it. The  money really just pays her consumables, her sewing gaggle weekends away and annual maintenance of her (very expensive) embroider machine.
 
These are side hustles. Looking at our combined income this would be at best be a tiny percentage of that … small fry… a real side hustle.
 
What I keep seeing in the FiRe-blog-sphere is people putting 2,3 or 4 articles a week and generalised waffle about with fanfare and ra-ra. They have many 100’s and in a lot of cases 1,000’s of followers and lots of click-bait and advertising on their sites. Those that publish about their ‘income’ do so it seems to show what can be done (even though it rather comes over sometimes as gloating). These ‘side hustle’ incomes can be  20, 30 or 40%+ of their total income.
 
Not a side hustle at all – really Its a lifestyle choice., a job. It is clear in a few cases at least retirement is rather dependent on these income streams – I do wonder about the sustainability…… but it is all individual choice after all and is that not what FiRe is really about – choice !
 
So how does this help us with defining what a ‘side hustle’ actually is then ?
 
    • we could say that its total should be small enough to not matter
    • We could look at it as a percentage of total income (say not more than 10%)
    • We could look on it as being unnecessary to what we need to live well (ie it is not the difference between a basic living and more towards the mid or fat-fire end).

Or we could just recognise it for what it should be …. a bit of pocket-money on the side for doing something we really enjoy.

I do hope no one has been offended – just making an observation
 
 
 

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