At Work

Is a Side Hustle Worth the Hassle? Record Number of Aussies Taking Up Second Jobs

By: Amy Cheng

More and more Australians are taking up multiple jobs, according to the latest statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.In the June quarter, this number rose by four per cent, making up six per cent of all employed people or 900,000 individuals across all industries.

Lauren Ford, head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, said these figures have not been seen before.

“This is the highest rate since the quarterly series commenced in 1994, and about 0.5 percentage points above its pre-pandemic level,” she said in a statement.

“The number of jobs worked as secondary jobs also increased, by 5.5 per cent, and passed 1 million for the first time. This highlights that some people work more than two jobs at the same time.”

Is a Side Hustle Right For You?

However, Dr Carys Chan, a work–life researcher at Griffith University’s Centre for Work, Organisation and Wellbeing, said a side hustle is not right for everyone.

“If a person is someone who perhaps like to keep business and personal life separate, in this instance, I wouldn’t say that the person is actually very suitable to have side hustles,” she said in an interview.

 This is particularly true for people who find it difficult to transition between different roles in their life, she said.

For people who find it difficult to transition between different roles in their life… “I wouldn’t say that the person is actually very suitable to have side hustles.”

“There are some people who naturally transition between roles very well because they just like the multiple aspects of various life roles.

“But there are people who don’t transition that well, they perhaps might need more time to transit between different roles.

“And in that instance, I think a side hustle may not be the best option because obviously the person will take a long time to also transition to that side hustle role.”

“It’s not just time, it’s whether you have the energy; make sure you do not actually compromise on your sleep and rest time or other aspects of your life, just for this side hustle.”

Starting a Side Hustle

Time and resources are important when starting a side hustle, however, Dr Chan believes there is something more important.

“It’s not just time, it’s whether you have the energy. Make sure you do not actually compromise on your sleep and rest time or other aspects of your life, just for this side hustle.”

When it comes to choosing a side hustle, a good starting point is to look at things people enjoy, she said.

“Ideally, that side hustle should be something that they enjoy and it’s obviously positive; I mean, we don’t want to engage in a side hustle that could be potentially negative.”

It’s also important to think about long-term goals, Dr Chan said.

“Some people might already have a stable job, but their heart lies in, for example, becoming their own boss or they actually want to experiment and become a musician or artist or piano teacher,” she said.

“And that side hustle… should ideally be contributing to the lifelong goals; the reason why I say that is because, ultimately, if you want to avoid burning out… you want to be driven by something that you really enjoy.”


One of the challenges of maintaining a side hustle is keeping the momentum going, Dr Chan said.

“The early times of engaging in a side hustle is very exhilarating, exciting, so it’s very positive, but when, for example, it becomes more matured, it becomes quite profit-making or (demanding),” she said.

“A lot of people don’t manage that transition very well because then it becomes sort of like a burden.”

“Ultimately, if you want to avoid burning out… you want to be driven by something that you really enjoy.”

She advises people to not be too tempted by the demands of it all.

“If you want to make it manageable, try to keep it small… continue to develop that further but also be conscious of… your primary job, you might want to reduce the load.

“We all have a very limited amount of resources every day, every weekend, every year; we don’t want to be over stretching ourselves.”

Cleaning Business on the Side

Two months ago, Cameron Robertson, 21, began his side hustle, a cleaning business. In his regular job, he works as a real estate agent.

“My mum was doing cleaning for another person that ran her own business and I thought, if my mom’s working for $30 an hour, I wonder how much the boss is making, so I just planned it out and opened up the company and then started the business,” he told Hope 103.2.

As a father of two young kids, Mr Robertson’s long-term goals for the side hustle are for the benefit of his partner.

“(She is) a fulltime stay-at-home mum, she’s got a lot on her plate as well, so… my initial goal was to create a job for her, whether it be an admin job or just helping out with scheduling.”

As for whether he’ll leave real estate and focus purely on his side hustle, Mr Robertson says “no”.

“People have asked me and I’ve told them all the same thing, that I’m never going to leave real estate,” he said.

“I feel like real estate is what got me here and I feel like real estate can take me much further.”

Impact of Pandemic

The changing working environment brought about by the pandemic has made it particularly easy for starting side hustles, according to Dr Chan.

“There are certain reports that some people have managed to do a second or third job or side hustle alongside their fulltime jobs just because you don’t have to be physically in the office,” she said.

“No one is really monitoring you and it appears that they can actually fulfill their fulltime job demands alongside the side hustle.”

Abby McPharlin began her side hustle, a business consulting and marketing management business for small businesses, just out of lockdown.

“I don’t think that I probably would have jumped in as quickly as I did had it not been for the changed working conditions,” she said.

“I work in a hybrid situation, so I’m in the office some days and I’m from home other days; I feel like I’ve had better work-life balance.”

In her regular job, Ms McPharlin is a development manager for a radio station, and started up her side hustle when she realised her friends were struggling with running a profitable business.

“Through a series of conversations that we had had, they asked me to start working for them on the side, and so I did and then it just kind of evolved from there and kept picking up clients.”

As a single mum, her long-term goals for her side hustle are to be financially stable to support her kids.

“I would love to get to the point where I am saving so that me and my kids can create memories and go on adventures… and to not be limited because of finance,” Ms McPharlin said.

For people thinking of starting a side hustle, she advises that they be “super clear” as to what they’re willing to do and the amount of hours they’re willing to give.

“(It’s) being willing to hustle, the name ‘side hustle’ is not just a name, that actually means you have to hustle and you have to be prepared to put in the work.”

Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.

Feature image: Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash 

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