How to Keep Your Side Hustle in Perspective

Side hustles are a many splendored thing. Whether you run an online shop, freelance on the side, or juggle a number of gigs full-time, you're one of the 37 percent of Americans who bring in money from extra jobs. It's certainly an indictment of the system that so many people can't survive on available salaried incomes, but it's also important to understand what your side hustle means in your own big picture.

Entrepreneur contributor Rahul Varshneya published some words of warning last week, urging freelancers of all stripes to understand the difference between a side hustle and entrepreneurship. "Sure, you can walk dogs after work to make some extra money, but that is not a business," he writes. "If you want to grow a true business, you will need to invest both your time and money in order to profit."

For Varshneya, it's important to remember that almost 7 in 10 of side hustlers start their gigs in the first place because they're already working to close a financial deficit. One of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself (and your stress levels) is to decide early on whether you're building something bigger or just filling in some gaps. There's no moral judgment attached to either, but starting a small business requires careful planning, as well as a clear understanding of your likelihood of success.

American workers might be majority freelance by 2027, if not sooner. There's no time like the present to figure out whether and how you want to be part of that.