The Dark Side of a Side Gig

by Diana Chin 

Side gigs – it makes us feel pretty rebellious and empowered and gives off a sense of high that you’re making money on your own terms. No matter the age bracket, you’ll be sure to encounter someone who may have nonchalantly spoken about their side hustles while working at a day job. For most of us, we have a reason to take up a side gig. Thanks to the wonderful world wide web, finding ways of making money is a no-brainer. Websites like Upwork, Fiverr, and Etsy offer an unlimited amount of potential in creating another source of income.

While there isn’t a rule book on how many side gigs you should take upon, there are some of us that may have encountered the negative side effects of having a side gig. I had the pleasure of speaking with Aileen Maria, SAG/AFTRA Actress & Model who was kind enough on sharing her thoughts about her modeling and acting projects while working at her day job. Here are my points below on what makes a side gig go sour:

Not Being Treated Fairly

When I asked Aileen about the working conditions at her modeling and acting gigs, she recalled a moment sometime in September 2016 that during her shoot was uncomfortable since they were forced to sit on crates while the weather was extremely hot. She found out that they were planning to do three modeling shoots, instead of one as advertised. To make matters worse, one of the cameras hit her along with another model. While she was paid for the duration, she received a letter two weeks later that management overpaid them and was asked to return the amount back to the agency.

Be wary of side gigs that ask you to do more than what is intended. I always say that it’s best to document and provide receipts on what should go down during the project. Trust your gut if something doesn’t feel right.

Total Burnout On Your Project(s)

Ever hear the saying “Biting off more than what you can chew”? Our side hustles can easily turn into a mess if we’re not able to prioritize which one needs to be completed on the list. During my time as a professional tarot reader, I started to become overwhelmed by the number of clients asking for my services while working at my full-time job. Aside from stress and depression, it made me feel inadequate. It took some courage (and some truth bombs) from my support group that I decided to walk away from my business and focus on my self-care.

Remember – your physical and mental health is more important. If you feel that your side gigs are risking your health, it’s time to take a break. Give yourself a vacation from the hustle, instead of being a slave to it. You’re no good if you’re constantly running on empty and not producing the results that you want.

Your Debt Keeps Rising

When we receive our first pay from our side gigs, the temptation of spending it right away to reward ourselves for our hard-earned work is a normal feeling. Yet, you’re staring at your credit card bill and wonder if you’ll ever pay it down. If one of the main reasons for taking on a side gig is to pay off your debt, stick to the plan! Otherwise, it defeats the purpose of having a side gig in the first place. Budget to the best of your ability and make sure that the amount that you receive from your side projects goes towards your debt.

Have you encountered a moment where your side gigs didn’t live up to your potential? Got any stories to share? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!


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