I have discovered that one of the most interesting questions you could ever ask an employee or someone working in business is:

What’s your side hustle?

Side hustle as energizer

It’s a most revealing question. Not everyone has an answer, which is a statement unto itself. Some may think their current gig is everything they need. Others may have never contemplated it. But when someone does talk about their side hustle, it’s invariably uplifting. The eyes light up and energy flows. With every book on Amazon [see here] that talks about a side hustle, the sub title is about making money. But I think it means a lot more to people. As this partial screengrab taken from the SideHustleNation.com homepage encapsulates, a “side hustle” is not so much about the hustle as in a ‘discourteous manner’ or a rushed activity to get more money. It’s about the thing you do — typically on the sly, outside of your ‘regular’ hours — that provides you a sense of freedom and motivates you to the core.

Choosing to spend your spare time…

The clinching characteristic of a side hustle is that people are prepared to dedicate their spare time to it. It’s like a passion project, where you can’t quite relinquish the reins of your standard job. If you have a side hustle, the typical thought is: wouldn’t it be great if I had more time to spend on it? However, something that generally stops people from converting the side hustle to the real deal is whether it will be sufficient and sustaining.

Encouraging the side hustle

If you’re leading a company, the question you might want to be asking yourself is: How can I have more members of my team consider their present job as their “side hustle”? Failing that, how can you empower and encourage them to have a side hustle such that they will be grateful for the energy it bestows on them? Your employees’ long-term engagement may depend on it!

Ultimately, if one’s work is not satisfying, the natural tendency will be to seek fulfilment elsewhere and to dedicate more discretionary energy to that other activity than at “work.” But, if work can’t be the side hustle, make sure you encourage everyone to explore theirs. Their long-term energy depends on it.

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