3 ways to decide if starting a side hustle on top of your full-time job is right for you

woman typing on laptop
Many Americans have taken on side gigs as a way to earn extra money.

  • A side gig is a great way to add extra income or explore your passion outside of a full-time job.
  • Look at your savings and current workload to determine if the gig economy is right for you.
  • Network with other creatives to get a sense of whether or not the financial rewards are worth the extra work.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Side gigs can be a lucrative way to earn extra cash or expand your horizons – but is it worth the extra stress to have a side hustle and a full-time job?

Although the last decade has seen “the gig economy” blossom and prosper like never before, the concept of the side gig has existed for ages. Anyone looking to earn more money has found that an additional job of some sort is the quickest and easiest way to gain additional financial security.

With the pandemic, millions of Americans began picking up extra “gigs” working for companies including Instacart, Amazon, Uber, and countless other businesses that filled an important niche during COVID. Women were already at the heart of the gig economy long before the pandemic, and many more found themselves starting new side jobs over this last year and a half – perhaps while also holding down full-time positions and caring for loved ones … But working a full-time job and side hustle can be incredibly time consuming, and not always doable with everyone’s schedule. Here’s how to know if doing both may be right for you.

Working “second shift”

Before COVID, many women were likely already working a “second shift” as the primary caregiver for loved ones (such as children and aging parents) and were acting as the caretaker of their home. Once the pandemic hit, millions of women added “teacher” to their list of jobs, and the lines between work life and home life became particularly blurred … Even if your partner worked from home, you most likely continued to do a majority of the domestic work. As a result, it might not be possible to put extra time and energy into a side hustle right now.

And even if you have time for a side gig, taking it on might not be the healthiest option. Over time, it can become just one more ball to juggle rather than a financial relief or a place to put your passion and energy. Finding the elusive “work-life balance” – which, by the way, is a misnomer – becomes even more of a challenge and can take a toll on your mental and physical wellness. In fact, research shows that people who work more than 55 hours a week develop depression and anxiety at a higher rate than those who work standard hours.

We all need to give ourselves a little more grace and realize that working a full-time job, a side hustle, and taking care of a household isn’t always the right choice.

Is the side gig economy right for you?

If you’re deciding whether adding a side gig to your plate is the right move, consider the following:

1. Do you have an emergency fund?

If you have an emergency fund that can cover at least three to six months of non-discretionary expenses, that’s great! And it might mean that you don’t need to take on a side gig for the sole purpose of gaining extra income.

If you don’t currently have an emergency fund – or if it’s not enough to cover the essentials for a few months – then a side gig could be beneficial. Regardless, consider putting your emergency fund in an online account that generally pays higher interest.

2. How much do you have saved for retirement?

Ideally, you should save at least 15% of your net income for retirement. If you have access to a 401(k) through your full-time job and your employer offers a match, try to contribute enough to reach your match – and don’t forget that whatever your employer is contributing counts toward your savings target!

If you don’t have a retirement plan or can’t save 15% right now, that’s okay, too. We’re all at different places with our careers and savings goals. A side job that helps you bring in extra money can help boost your savings.

3. Can you devote energy to a side gig?

Extra money is certainly nice to have, but that is only one piece to consider. A side gig takes a lot of energy, resources, and time. Make sure it’s something you’re passionate about because there will be setbacks and days when you don’t feel like you’re making progress. Research and network with people who have similar side jobs to determine what it will take to add the job to your current load. If it seems like the side gig will add too much stress or unhappiness to your life – and take away from what you’re already doing – it might not be right for you.

Ultimately, it’s important to determine whether the financial rewards of a full-time job and side hustle outweigh the potential downsides. Burnout is real and very prevalent right now as people take on too many responsibilities. It’s important to make sure you have the time and energy not just for work and home life, but for yourself as well. If your side gig becomes successful enough, however, it might just be your ticket to pursuing your passion full time.

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28-year-old Tyra Myricks makes 7 figures and has 5 side hustles. Here’s how she typically spends a day.

Tyra Mavericks
Tyra Myricks

  • Tyra Myricks, 28, makes seven figures a year working a day job and five side hustles.
  • She works for Drake, has a fashion line, a branding company, a website for entrepreneurial resources, a pizza shop, and co-owns a gym.
  • To Insider, she breaks down what a typical day looks like.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

If the Land of Side Hustles had a queen, it would surely be 28-year-old Tyra Myricks, daughter of hip hop legend Jam Master Jay. It all began in 2009 when she launched a fashion label while still in high school that eventually helped pay her way through college. She initially went to university to study pre-med but dropped out after the label saw her earning over double her tuition.

She took the streetwear world by storm with celebrity partnerships, and advertising on Instagram’s TMZ the Shade Room. In 2012, she rebranded the company now known as Wealth as high fashion streetwear.

“It’s not the business you do, it’s what you do differently,” she told Insider.

Aside from owning a fashion label, and branding and merchandising company, she’s also the co-owner of The Method, Los Angeles’ first Black-owned gym. Myricks is also about to launch a pizza shop with T’yanna Wallace, daughter of rapper Biggie Smalls, and she’s co-creating a platform to provide young entrepreneurs with resources to start their own businesses.

“It’s not an easy game,” she said of being an entrepreneur. “Everybody on the internet shows the glorious side, but nobody shows the treacherous side where it’s hard to get up in the morning.”

Her day job, of course, is working as director of design, merchandising, and development for Drake’s OVO lifestyle brand, which earns her six figures a year. In total, she makes about seven figures a year and says a secret to her success is knowing how to constantly be agile with the opportunities life brings.

To Insider, she breaks down how she puts that process to use on a typical day.

She wakes up at 5:45 in the morning

Waking up before the break of dawn, Myricks prays, takes a shower, gets dressed, and downs six espresso shots. Her first stop this morning is to The Method to prepare the gym for opening.

Around 6:30 a.m. she leaves the house and puts on gospel music as she drives downtown, trying to beat the morning traffic rush.

At 7 a.m. she opens the gym and gets breakfast

She arrives at the gym and inspects everything to make sure space was cleaned properly before closing the night before. She also folds extra towels and gets the system ready for patrons.

Myricks became co-owner in the gym after investing a substantial amount last year, though she declined to share how much she gave. There are no employees at the gym, though it has 17 independent contractors. It opened in a new location last summer in the middle of the pandemic. Myricks remembers that day clearly because a few days later, the city of Los Angeles shut down again due to COVID-19.

“It was a grand opening, grand closing,” she said.

Tyra Mavericks
Tyra Myricks

During the shutdown, they moved classes outdoors, which helped cover overhead costs (rent is $6,500 a month). Currently, the club has nearly 300 members, giving it a feel of exclusivity, which is something Myricks prizes in all of her entrepreneurial endeavors.

Membership is $99 a month, another reason to ensure service is top-notch. “What’s stopping someone from going to planet fitness for $30 a month?” Myricks said.

After opening the gym she gets breakfast. This day: a green smoothie.

Then, she preps for her day job

Myricks is also the director of design, merchandising, and development for rapper Drake’s OVO lifestyle brand. At 9:30 a.m., still at the gym, she prepares for a Zoom call with the OVO team to discuss upcoming projects. That lasts until about 11 a.m.

Cofounded by Drake in 2011, OVO is known for selling high-end streetwear and has done collaborations with Canada Goose, and the Major League Baseball, as well as having hosted pop-ups at Nordstrom and the once-popular retail store Colette in Paris. “I look at the recipe and formula a lot of successful people use and get little pieces of that to create my own recipe and formula to be successful,” she said.

Tyra Mavericks
Tyra Myricks

Afterward, another business partner meets her at the gym to discuss upcoming projects for the branding agency they own together. Drake offered Myricks a job after seeing some of the branding and merchandising work her agency did for an artist signed to his label. She moved from New York to Los Angeles in 2017 to take the job.

Without giving exact numbers, Myricks said she makes six figures a year from working at OVO, where she leads the design team, approves and denies designs, and deals with manufacturers overseas. “It’s a constant 24-hour job because China and other manufacturers are 12 hours ahead of us,” she said. “When you ask what is a day like – it’s literally a day. It’s a constant revolving door that never stops.”

At 11:28 a.m. she starts working on her fashion side hustle

Next, she heads to the factory she co-owns with a business partner and begins ordering fabric for her Wealth fashion line which she primarily sells online and in one store in downtown LA.

“This isn’t because other stores aren’t interested,” she said. “We like to keep exclusivity.”

She also discusses plans with her business partner on renovating the space next door to expand the factory, makes sure production is on track and approves new patterns for sweaters. There are 16 people currently working for her company, and the brand produces about 2,500 units each week. Each item sells for between $13 and $1,300.

Tyra Mavericks
Tyra Myricks

Finally, it’s lunch time

An assistant brings her lunch around noon, which today is a grilled chicken salad. Before eating it, however, she heads to the screen printer to drop off samples for Wealth’s upcoming fall/winter collection.

When she gets to Wealth headquarters around 2 p.m., she finally eats lunch as she packs all of the orders that arrived the day before, preparing to ship them to customers.

Next, she orders a double shot of espresso from Blue Bottle Cafe. Then, she keeps it moving.

Around 4 p.m. she finally ships off the Wealth packages, then heads to the Inflamed store downtown, the only brick-and-mortar location that sells Wealth. There, she restocks and checks inventory.

On to another side hustle

Next, she heads to a meeting at the pizza shop she’s opening called Juicy Pizza to discuss patio design and merchandise. Myricks said she came up with the idea of Juicy Pizza because, as a New Yorker living in Los Angeles, she felt there was “no good pizza in Los Angeles.”

Tyra Mavericks
Tyra Myricks (L)

“The more I thought about how to bring that New York theme to Los Angeles, I felt, who represents New York more than Biggie Smalls?” she continued. So she called her friend T’yanna Wallace, daughter of the late rapper, and presented her with the idea. “She loved it,” Myricks said.

Myricks also knew the importance of reaching out to Wallace because, being the daughter of the late Jam Master Jay, she knows first hand what it’s like to have people profit from her father’s name and career. “I was like I don’t want you to invest anything,” she recalled telling Wallace. “Let’s just make money together. Let’s make moves.”

The shop is set to open later this year.

Last stop: a dinner reservation downtown

At 7 p.m. she meets two friends at a Latin restaurant called Dama downtown, where she orders a celery salad with pineapple juice, Mexican corn, and an Oxtail Tostada.

She picks up shipping bags from the storage unit before heading home.

Around 9 p.m. she finally arrives home and begins to unwind, if only for a moment. She answers emails before starting her next project, a website for celebrity client merchandise, which is part of the branding agency she co-founded.

Around midnight, she falls asleep. In five hours, she will get up and do it all over again.

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