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Do You Know Exactly What Side Hustle Means?

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Have you ever heard of a side hustle? The term has been around since about 1950 and is pretty popular today, especially with more and more people freelancing and working at home. But what exactly does side hustle mean?

Side Hustle Definition (short version)

There are different schools of thought as to exactly what a side hustle is. I’ll take those different ideas and combine them for this definition of a side hustle.

A side hustle is a freelance job in which you work part time, usually online and usually for yourself, in addition to your full-time job. A side hustle allows you to have more than one income stream. Many people even have more than one side hustle, giving them multiple income streams.

Grab a free download of 101 side hustle ideas right here!


Now you know in a nutshell the definition of side hustle. Read on if you want some more insight.

Find Out Exactly What a Side Hustle is - plus get a free download of 101 side hustle ideas

Side Hustle Definition (long version)

People who have side hustles usually are freelancers who work for themselves on the internet from their home or wherever they wish, but this is not always so.

Some people who have part-time jobs as employees working for companies in addition to their regular jobs – such as people who work at a store or work as a driver or do lawn maintenance – may say that this part-time job is a side hustle.

When you do earn money on the side working for a company at a part-time job in addition to your day job, you absolutely can say that is a side hustle. Or you can say it’s a part-time job, or you can call it whatever you want to call it. There is no right or wrong with this.

However, more and more people are earning extra money at side hustles not by working for others in person but by working for themselves on the internet either at home, while traveling, or wherever they wish. So the most common and popular side hustle definition means working part time online for yourself.

People who work for themselves are usually called freelancers, so most people with side hustles who work for themselves are freelancers.

According to the internet, the term side hustle first came into use in the 1950’s during and after the recession.

I’m guessing that the reason the word hustle was made a part of this term rather than the word job is because people were so desperate for money they felt like they were hustling or moving quickly, to get it.

Man facing away from camera working on his side hustle on a laptop mounted on stand at a desk

Times have changed, though, significantly, and not entirely for the worse. As Chris Guillebeau puts it in his book Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days, “A side hustle is not a part-time job…It is an asset that works for you.”

A big part of the reason that a side hustle works for you rather than you working for it is because so many side hustles are done online, in your home, with you as your own boss.

With a true side hustle you don’t simply earn additional money on the side at a part-time job working for someone else. With a side hustle you earn additional money on the side for you. You decide what the job is, how to do the job, when to work and when to stop.

Grab a free download of 101 side hustle ideas right here!


You don’t need experience or a degree to earn money with a side hustle, unless that particular side hustle requires it. There are tons of freelance side hustle jobs that require no experience or degree.

A part-time job is usually simply a way to earn extra money so you can get by, all the while wishing you didn’t have to do it. A side hustle is usually something that you do, all the while wishing you could do more of it.

Ideally, your side hustle will be something you’re passionate about and something you love. Many people end up turning their side hustles into full-time jobs. Not because they have to, but because they want to.

Woman working on a MacBook sitting on a brown sofa with a plant in the backround

How Do People Start Side Hustles?

All side hustles – like all jobs, period – do require that you know what you’re doing. You may already know how to do the job at which you want to earn side hustle money. If you do, that is perfect and you can get started quickly.

If there’s a certain type of work that you’re interested in but you don’t know how to do it, you’ll need to take training or train yourself.

Taking training will probably cost some money, but not necessarily. There are lots of free online training courses you can take to learn how to do specific types of jobs so you can earn money with them as a side hustle. Free online training may not be all that comprehensive, but it might teach you enough so that you can go ahead and get started.

There are also hundreds of paid online courses in which you can learn in depth how to do specific jobs which you can earn income with as a side hustle, or full time.

If you know you want – or need – to earn money on the side but don’t know what type of work you want to do, you can try Work at Home School. This is a bundle of 30-plus online courses which teach you how to do several different freelance jobs as side hustles as well as lots of other important info about working from home. You can read what I’ve written about Work at Home School here.

You can also find lots of other information about all kinds of online courses which will teach you different side hustle skills here on World of Freelancers.

Choose the right side hustle for you, work at it as much as you need to or want to, and you can become one of the people who turns a side hustle into a full-time job that they love.

You can grab a free download of 101 side hustle ideas right here!

Images by Christina  Madison Yocum Karolina Grabowska

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