So.. what’s with all the side hustles?

Often nicknamed the ‘entrepreneurial generation’ millennials have been running side hustles for years. In fact, one in ten Australians are running a side hustle right now, making an average of $24,000 a year. 

And in a time of ample student debt, a lack of employment opportunities and an increasing trend towards renting due to out-of-reach property prices, it’s no surprise that the younger generations are taking a DIY approach in order to achieve their earning goals. 

As a millennial myself, and someone who has always sought out various side hustles on top of my regular 9-5 I wanted to look a bit deeper into why it’s becoming the new norm to have a side hustle, and why, despite this, it still feels like we’re not getting any closer to reaching our financial goals. 

What’s driving this?

Thanks to the internet, smartphones, and the explosive growth of e-commerce, we’re living in an age packed full of opportunities that are primed to the tech-savvy millennials. 

Younger people are also increasingly choosing flexible – but less stable – working arrangements, with one in five millennials working in freelance, contract or casual roles. 

There are the well-known app-based gigs like Uber and Airtasker. The day job with the freelance extension – graphic designer anyone? Not to mention that thanks to sites like Amazon, Etsy, and Shopify, hobbies have become much easier to commodify. 

The side hustle also offers something worth much more than just money: a feeling of fulfilment. Something that can be hard to find in your first job out of University. 

So why, despite the side hustle, does it still feel like we’re not getting anywhere?

Commonly referred to as “generation screwed” (thanks Baby Boomers), our goals aren’t much different from those before us, albeit they might be just a little further out of reach. Data from Westpac Life showed that with four in five millennials aspiring to own their own homes, customers between 25-34 are putting 10 times more money away for their house deposit, when compared to saving for holidays or travel. And yet, it takes first-home buyers an average of 6.7 years to save for a house deposit. Despite the supplemental income for many, millennials tend to still be on the back foot. 

Where to from here?

“The Millennial Generation. The ‘Me’ Generation. Well, it’s true. We do have a sense of entitlement, a sense of ownership, because, after all, this is the world we were born into, and we are responsible for it.” -Evan Spiegel, Snapchat

As the quote above articulates, this sense of responsibility might be the reason we’re so determined to have it all, on our own terms. Through testing the waters trying different side hustles we’re able to experiment to find we’re most passionate about, gain experience and achieve our goals. And until we find what we’re searching for – I don’t see the side-hustling generation going anywhere any time soon. 




Guest author

Victoria is a freelance digital nomad, currently based out of Melbourne. Spending most of her time crafting content for clients across five different time zones for a marketing and software start-up, in her spare time she likes to write interest pieces on the changing workplace today and generational shifts. You can contact her via LinkedIn.