How many Side Hustles does it Take to Make a Career


Five, that’s how many.

No—six! Because I’m still looking for one more.

Have you seen those articles? The ones that encourage you to pick up a side hustle while you’re working your main job?

It could be that you are still in the beginning stages of working towards your dream career while working your steady 9-to-5 job, and your side hustle is the passion project you do on the side. Or it could be that you’re already working your dream job, but you need a side hustle to keep things afloat while that dream career starts to pull its own weight in the payday department.

Either way, that side hustle helps you make it through until you can do the one thing you really want to do full-time.

Or—maybe not.

Maybe you’re like me and you have so many passions that you’re not really sure you want to do just one thing.

I certainly felt that way in the majority of the jobs I held in corporate America. Proofreading direct mail campaigns for an advertising agency during my first year out of college certainly didn’t offer the variety I needed. Maybe it would have helped if the clients had some of the more “sexy” products, like the Reebok pitch I got to work on as an intern during my senior year spring break. But the rest of our clients were mostly banks. And I’m not sure anyone cares less about money than I do, so it wasn’t the greatest fit.

As I progressed through my career, I learned that as soon as I ramped up in any new position and learned how to do the job, I got bored. I am so thankful for the people out there who can do the repetitive tasks that are needed in any company because I am not that person.

And I am definitely not that person who stays with the same organization for 20 years—or even 10 for that matter. If I’m not learning something new or being challenged, then I start watching the clock—and that’s when I know it’s time to go.

So it is so thrilling for me to have five different passion projects that I can jump between. I can imagine that it gets confusing for my connections on LinkedIn. Every time I start writing for a new publication, I get all the same people sending me messages congratulating me on the new job. They must think I’m changing jobs every month!

I even had a girlfriend shout her congratulations to me across the parking lot a few weeks ago before asking, “Exactly how many jobs do you have?!” And the truth is that if they went out to my profile, they would see that I am doing all of these things at the same time. And happily so.

Because here’s the thing. I would work ten side hustles or passion projects if I needed to, in order to be doing my soul work.

At this point in my life, not only do I need massive amounts of flexibility in my schedule to do the three hours of school carpooling I need to do every day for my kids—but I also can’t do my soul work anymore.

It is so fantastic to be able to write an article about current events or some cause that I am passionate about, and then be able to switch gears and edit articles about sparkles and magic. To then decide I want to write about careers and helping people find their own soul work. And then write a piece about my encounter with a homeless man for a publication about enlightened masculinity.

Every day, I have the luxury to choose what I want to focus on that day—depending on my mood, my schedule, and what’s going on in the world. And I’m not sure I can think of any one job that will allow me to do more than I am doing now.

I’m not going to lie and say it doesn’t get frustrating some days, because that certainly comes with the territory. When you are cobbling together a career from all your different passions, you don’t have a consistent paycheck and a theoretical pat on the back from your boss.

But then again, I’m my own boss. I am the one who gets to decide when I take time off, and whether or not I want to look for another side hustle. Like I do now. Because as any writer or editor knows, we get paid mostly in peanuts and bylines. Which I will take, gladly. But a cash-cow side hustle that allows me to pay for my daughter’s dance, my son’s sports, and, oh yeah—food? I would gladly take that, too.

Just as long as I have variety and you know you’re not the boss of me, we’ll get along just fine.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

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