by Amy Robles, Guest Contributor
You are a military spouse. But dependent is never the right word to describe you. And while you love your sweetheart serving our country, you know that your home, life and world would never be the same without your continued effort.
But let’s be real for a moment. You need a side hustle.
What is a side hustle? Nick Loper defines it as the work you do after-hours, on your own time to help you escape the 9-to-5 rat race. His site, SideHustleNation.com explores various methods to make money during your free time. Not sure where to start? Nick shares 79 Side Hustle Business Ideas You Can Start Today.
So instead of following #CatVideoGames (yes, it’s really a thing) or… ahem… studying intently how Chris Hemsworth worked hard to become People’s Sexiest Man Alive, consider your side hustle. Like peanut butter needs jelly, you need a side hustle.
Need more convincing? Here are 5 reasons you, me and every milspouse needs a side hustle.
1. Make Money. There’s not a military spouse around you who is “Rolling in the dough like a baker’s knuckles.” The military provides a lot of perks to make our lives run more smoothly through transitions, but every move costs a little more than you expected. Kids need shoes faster than you budgeted for… and maybe you do too. A little extra cash can go a long way.
When you start your side hustle, your photography business/dog walking service/house cleaning biz/virtual assistant gig can make money. Real money. Sure, it’s going to take time. And you’ll have to learn some new skills. But with consistent effort, you’ll be earning cash.
What if you started your side hustle and put all your earnings in your holiday gift fund or “Let’s go on vacation when we get through this deployment” fund, monthly massages for me fund or “that purse” fund. But making money is only the beginning.
2. Be Location Independent. You know how hard it is to find a company to work for in your new PCS station. What worked in the last market does not mean a home run here. Try being location independent. Ugh. That’s a horrible buzzword used by snooty entrepreneurs. Let’s break it down.
Those coffee houses packed with people sipping java and clicking away madly at their keyboards? Yup. They are location independent. Many have their own biz, without the cubicle. They call themselves “Location Independent.” But really, they choose where and when they work.
Having your own side hustle puts you in charge. You don’t have to wait for someone to offer you a position. You have it established. As soon as you move into your new place, you can jump right back to work. Your business is location independent. Pinkies up? You decide.
3. Have a Career. Not Just a Job. Your reputation is your brand. With your own side hustle, you can build a consistent business brand over time. You are a NextGenMilSpouse. You are wicked smart. You know you will not be like our mother’s generation who worked at a retail shop at the last PCS location, then office politicking at the next and cleaning houses at the following one.
You are creating your own career. The skills you develop in your side hustle will build on one another. Instead of learning this database in Delaware or that company’s software while you live in Seoul, you are creating an entire body of your work. You can use the knowledge you acquired in one location to make your efforts even more powerful in the next.
With an online business as your side hustle, you can work from your home assisting clients from around the globe. You’ll be able to keep up with them as you move regularly and build a massive testimonial base for your career. A great testimonial on your work allows others to trust you quicker.
How amazing would it be to have your photography portfolio with pristine images of families by the beach in Hawaii, on Swiss ski slopes, in fields of wheat in Arkansas at sunset or couples kissing in front of the Eiffel Tower? (Insert swoon here.) The diverse locations of your military life can enhance your side hustle and build credibility.
4. Make New Friends Quickly. As a side hustler, you must connect with people quickly. This is great when you are moving to a new place. Sure, the military member connects with people at work, but those first few days (and weeks often) can be lonely for the spouse. And no one wants to talk about it.
Your side hustle gets you out of your comfort zone. It prompts you to reach out and connect with others. The motivation to earn some money actually allows you even more reason to make friends quickly.
Anyone can create an entire social network online. How much more influential can you be when you are meeting people in person at your new location? Offer to meet for coffee and chat. Find out about the new person: are they dying for 50 Shades of Grey to hit the silver screen? Does this new friend like quiet nights at home? Really, get to know this person. When they start asking about you (and they will when you are genuinely interested), you can tell them about your booming business. No sales push. It’s just part of you. How’s that for a win?
5. Frame Your Creative Outlet. We all have that “one thing” that we could talk about for hours.
- Gushing over your eyeliner? There’s a way to make that your side hustle.
- Going ga-ga over this incredible recipe that has amazing flavor and is gluten-free? You could make that a side hustle.
- Love making door wreaths to welcome friends? Side hustle. Boom.
- Do you know how to change the oil and check all the filters in your car? You could make a legendary home-based lube, oil and filter side hustle. This could be at your home on your schedule.
If you enjoy something so much that you are passionate about it, think of how you could make that your side hustle.
Your side hustle is your place to create. Your place to step away from the crazy, busy schedule that life can be and enjoy your side hustle time.
A creative outlet all while you’re making money? Sounds like it’s right up your alley.
A side hustle gives you the freedom to make money, be location independent, have a career (not just a job), make new friends and frame your creative outlet. You are developing yourself as you support your military family, moving around the globe and taking it all in stride.
Oh, and you’ll still have time to watch Scandal.
What’s your side hustle? Share it in the comments section below.
Amy Robles is a Navy wife, mom, podcaster and blogger. In 8+ years she’s made several homes around the Pacific Ocean. Like most people, she believes life is better with the Muppets and nachos. Tweet her @itsamyrobles. Read how she and her husband paid off $25K of debt this year at womanenriched.com. Listen to her talk Money, Milspouse, and Mom on The Family Knot podcast.