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Is your career side-gig worth the effort?

Putting money aside, what about personal growth?

So many of us fantasise about turning that lifetime hobby into a side-hustle and making some money from something we enjoy. Then, one day, you can throw in the towel at the day job and move on to your true calling.

It all seems rather rosy. Instead of spending your evenings watching the television or dodging out-of-hours work queries, you could be studying for that online course, knitting, designing your website, writing…but is it worth it?

Of course it is, and not just because it keeps you out of the abysmal overdraft if you make enough cash.

It’s said that if you possess a skill, then you possess the potential to make money from it. The money is probably the most obvious advantage of taking one of your skills and turning it into a side-gig.

It’s only logical to consider the financial side first. If you need a little extra to save up for a holiday or a deposit, or if you’re prone to overspending, it could act as great damage control.

That £20 or £30 a week won’t seem like much in the beginning, but you must play the long game. Your career is not going to appear after your first article or your first finished piece of jewelry. Patience is key – and meanwhile, you can enjoy it as a good side-earner.

Putting money aside, what about personal growth? It’s a little less concrete than the money that comes into your bank account, but it’s arguably more important.

There is something that feels wasteful about staring at the evening news or soap operas when you could be doing something to better your career. Not that this means that free time is banned. It does mean that you could get a whole lot more out of using your free time wisely.

It can be difficult keeping a long-term goal in mind when you can see how tough it is to get there, but there’s no harm in trying. Even if you don’t gain a full-blown career, you will have grown as a person in the act of trying.

If you start sooner rather than later, you could be giving ‘future you’ a real boost. You could gain connections, a growing network of clients or customers, and much more that will all accrue over time to build a career rather than a simple side job. Your clients will remember your amazing work – and hopefully they’ll tell other people about you.

That’s how a network grows, and it’s how your small money earner can snowball into something bigger. Again, it’s all about keeping the far-off future in sight. Your personal development is one thing, but going freelance with your skillset could do wonders for you professionally.

Next time you hear David from Human Resources talk about his evenings spent designing his own board game or learning to speak Russian, take a look at your own skills. Think about how to turn them into a way of earning money and then receive the benefits. It goes far beyond the cash.

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