How Much Side Hustle is Too Much?

I recently quit my side hustle.

You know that nagging feeling that surfaces when you've worked too much? Have completely neglected proper diet and exercise? Or didn't budget for enough alone time?

This time, I actually listened.

Even a side hustle with one of the coolest, most progressive companies in existence couldn't make working 60+ hours a week sustainable. I realized two weeks ago when I was blind-sided by a nasty migraine mid-shift.

I was forced to close my computer, retreat to my dark bedroom, and complete my work before my day job the next morning. I sent my manager my two weeks notice shortly after.

Viva La Side Hustle

I've written before about the importance of a side hustle, and I still think it's true.

Wage stagnation continues to be a major issue in the United States.

Despite several years of growth, American wages are still 1.2% lower that where they were at the beginning of 2009. This may be contributing to the growing interest in side hustles and earning additional streams of income.

Nick Loper started Side Hustle Nation for this very reason.

His community is dedicated to helping people earn more money, pay off debt, learn new skills, use free time more productively, and escape the rat race. He hopes to inspire others to reach financial freedom.

What I Learned From My Side Hustle

In addition to helping me reach $11,200 in savings over the past four months, my side hustle taught me a ton about customer service, fluency in several major software platforms, and helped improve my communication skills.

The extra money was attractive, but I also experienced a huge amount of professional growth through the day-to-day responsibilities of working for a tech company.

Software is constantly changing, and working in a support role requires an ongoing commitment to learning about these changes. I enjoyed problem-solving and loved offering advice to our customers.

Despite all that, I've been neglecting Cashville Skyline over the past few months, and I'm sorry for that. I'm even more disappointed I've been so careless with my health and wellness.

Saving money is great, but living a sedentary, overweight lifestyle has created a type of debt that may be harder to pay off.

Those drawn to the side hustle lifestyle will always be in danger of working too much, but guess what? Long hours don't actually lead to greater levels of productivity. In fact, it can even lead to inefficiency and decreased innovation.

Side hustlers should check in with themselves frequently, listen to their body, and attempt to maintain a balance.

If you just laughed at the thought of work-life balance, you're probably in need of a side hustle adjustment 🙂

What's Next

I've re-aligned my priorities:

1) Health and wellness
2) Career growth as a digital marketer
3) Cashville Skyline

I'm not planning on adding any new side hustles or professional commitments that aren't related to personal finance or this blog.

I've shifted my side hustle perspective and started thinking about what's best for me long-term.

It wasn't easy to part with the extra $1,000+ a month (or the perks), but I'm looking forward to generating additional revenue from my own projects.

Readers: How Much Side Hustle is Too Much?

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Discussions — 34 Responses

  • Kirsten May 11, 2015 on 5:23 am

    I’m in awe of people who successfully side hustle. As a mom with a long commute, I could never seem to find the balance that worked for me and my family. Extra money is awesome but I don’t *need* it to make ends meet… I had to give it up after missing a deadline. I realized I was totally in over my head!

    • Kate Dore Kirsten May 11, 2015 on 6:47 pm

      Kudos to you for trying to make it work, Kirsten. I can’t image adding children and a long commute into the side hustle picture!

  • MJ May 11, 2015 on 7:33 am

    You make an EXCELLENT point about priorities and wellness. It’s true about the sedentary lifestyle and the debt it creates. That’s very sell said. It really resonated with me.

    • Kate Dore MJ May 11, 2015 on 6:48 pm

      As I said earlier, now I just need to learn to take my advice. Haha. I’ve learned that’s often much easier said than done.

  • Grayson @ Debt Roundup May 11, 2015 on 8:41 am

    I commend you for doing so. I’ve been there before. I was running a large business on the side and it was literally killing me slowly. I never slept, didn’t eat well, and never exercised. I closed it down after finally realizing it wasn’t worth the risk. Now, I still side hustle, but I don’t have to.

    • Kate Dore Grayson @ Debt Roundup May 11, 2015 on 6:56 pm

      Sounds like you made the right choice, Grayson! No job or work is worth the health risk.

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach May 11, 2015 on 8:52 am

    It’s one of those things that you know it when you feel it. Health issues, low energy, cranky, etc, are all symptoms of burnout. Always best to take care of yourself first!

    • Kate Dore Tonya@Budget and the Beach May 11, 2015 on 6:49 pm

      I think I’m finally starting to listen to my body more now that I’m getting older. I know how much you prioritize wellness, Tonya! It seems to have served you well.

  • Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life May 11, 2015 on 9:21 am

    It’s so easy to get caught up in the side hustle. Prioritizing health and wellness and meeting with friends and family helps me make sure I don’t lose perspective.

    • Kate Dore Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life May 11, 2015 on 6:50 pm

      Amen, Stefanie! Friends and family are definitely an important part of my life too.

  • Shannon @ Financially Blonde May 11, 2015 on 12:24 pm

    I had a side hustle last year that was consuming WAY more of my time than I expected it to and many core projects of mine ended up neglected because I didn’t have the energy to focus on them because the side hustle drained me. I missed the money as well; however, I was able to push forward with my core projects and I am much happier with the results of those activities than I was upset over the loss of income.

    • Kate Dore Shannon @ Financially Blonde May 11, 2015 on 6:52 pm

      You seem like you already do so much, Shannon! I can’t image you adding more to the mix. I hope my decision yields similar results.

  • Anne - Money Propeller May 11, 2015 on 1:58 pm

    Amen. I find myself constantly reminding myself that it’s okay when I don’t feel like blogging (my side hustle), because there’s no point in burning myself out over it. Life is for living, and I am not desperately in need of the extra coin, so it’s okay if things slip through the cracks and I just don’t feel like it.
    I’ve been on about a two month slow down on the blogging front, and it’s not too bad 🙂

    • Kate Dore Anne - Money Propeller May 11, 2015 on 6:53 pm

      That’s great, Anne! I’m definitely happier with the flexibility of Cashville Skyline and my personal finance projects. It’s nice to take a step back when it’s needed.

  • NZ Muse May 11, 2015 on 4:23 pm

    I go through phases myself – go really hard then step back. I’ve been pulling back for a few months now and still enjoying it. Figure I’ll probably start to get antsy again at some point.

    • Kate Dore NZ Muse May 11, 2015 on 6:54 pm

      That’s interesting! I think I went through something similar last fall after I quit my job. I worked part-time for a few months and wasn’t as concerned with working and income during that period.

  • Income Surfer May 11, 2015 on 7:00 pm

    Good for you Kate! A life work balance is hard to achieve, and I also lose productivity when I work too many hours. I bet it was hard to walk away, but your body should reinforce that you made the right decision within a few days.

    • Kate Dore Income Surfer May 11, 2015 on 7:51 pm

      Thanks for the encouragement, Bryan! Hopefully I’ll learn and maintain a better balance in the future.

  • Michelle May 11, 2015 on 7:08 pm

    It’s so important to listen to what your body (and mind) are telling you. I faced a similar decision with quitting my full-time job. I just couldn’t manage the hyper commute anymore (and I didn’t want to) and I was worn out. There was no balance in my life and I was really depressed. I’m very thankful that I finally, finally listened to myself! I can’t wait to read more about what comes next.

    • Kate Dore Michelle May 11, 2015 on 7:52 pm

      Good for you, Michelle! That’s really encouraging to hear. I can’t image suffering through a long commute every day. I seriously get grumpy if it takes me longer than 20 minutes to get home!

  • Femme Frugality May 11, 2015 on 9:54 pm

    This resonates! Spring and Fall are rough for us with my husband in school on top of about a million other things. Summer is coming and things slow down for me at work, too, but I’m really going to try to remember this and make sure I don’t ramp up the side hustle too much and instead take some much needed take-care-of-me time.

    • Kate Dore Femme Frugality May 12, 2015 on 6:19 am

      Take-care-of-me time is so important! That’s great you’ve recognized patterns and can try to get ahead of them.

  • Tre May 12, 2015 on 9:36 pm

    It’s amazing how little you move when you work long hours at a desk. Sounds like you are making the best decision for you now.

    • Kate Dore Tre May 13, 2015 on 7:33 am

      I’ve been reading about the risks of sitting for long periods of time, Tre! I try to stand up and at least walk across the room every hour.

  • Redeemed Finance May 14, 2015 on 1:35 pm

    Just found your blog and love the writing style, it really flows well. Second, I hear you on the side hustle grind. I’ve made it a personal point to never do a side hustle for longer than two seasons at a time. Regular work schedule + 20-25 hours after hours and on weekends in my opinion isn’t sustainable mental health wise for prolonged periods of time. Sometimes you just need to rest and focus on “me” time (and/or “family” time).
    Nice to meet you,
    – Rich (27)

    • Kate Dore Redeemed Finance May 14, 2015 on 2:17 pm

      Hi Rich! It’s a pleasure to meet you and thanks so much for reading. I know I’ll never stop side hustling, but 20+ extra hours on top of a full-time job was too much for me!

  • Dear Dividend May 14, 2015 on 10:10 pm

    I’m glad you made the choice that felt best for you. Earning money, paying off debt, etc are important but living life is even more important. I work 40+ hours a week and have thought about a side hustle on the weekends. Sure it would help me boost my income but it would also take time away from my family and from trying to enjoy life outside of work. I wish you the best with your latest decision.

    • Kate Dore Dear Dividend May 15, 2015 on 7:13 am

      Thanks so much for the encouragement, Dear Dividend. It’s definitely a tough balance, and if I had kids the decision would be a no-brainer.

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  • Caryn White March 2, 2016 on 10:12 am

    I too had trouble with over doing it, I had a full time and part-time teaching job plus ebay and online lesson plan sales. After my husband walked out on us, using the fact that I workaholic. Funny how he didn’t work at all and complained I worked too much. LOL. I took a year off from my second teaching job to refocus on myself and the kids.

    I am now back in full force working even harder than before BUT I now have scheduled down time. I don’t open the computer or do any work on Friday after 3 PM (call them date nights). And also I have a special dinner with each child every week…no electrics allowed. I even try to go for drinks at McD with my friends at least once a week. This allows me to focus more when I am working and prevents me from forgetting that money isn’t everything. Getting out of debt is a great goal but not if you have to sacrifice your health or relationships.

    • Kate Dore Caryn White April 10, 2016 on 9:46 pm

      I’m really sorry about the trouble in your marriage, Caryn. But I’m really happy you’ve found a way to find a balance. I’ve learned a lot over the past couple of years. It’s still a struggle, but I’m trying to be a lot more protective of my non-work time. Thanks for reading!

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