Should You Start a Side Gig or Focus on Getting a Raise at Work

Photo by @Saigon on Flickr
Photo by @Saigon on Flickr

The decision whether to take on a side gig or focus on getting a raise at work can be a tough one to make. Watching colleagues make more money while you work just as hard or harder can make you think that focusing your limited efforts on getting more from your employer is the best way to go. But seeing friends or neighbors who are working their way out of the rat race by spending their spare time creating their own business makes that possibility seem attractive, too. If your free time is limited, you might have to choose between raise or side gig. Of course, like most things in life, the right path for one person isn’t necessarily the right path for everyone.
Before you decide which path to choose- side business or getting a raise at work- consider these questions:

Is getting a raise a real possibility at your job?

Some bosses are reluctant to give raises at all, or only give raises on a specific schedule. If you’re not in line for a raise, a side gig might be your best bet. If your boss tends to reward top performers and has a history of giving raises and promotions to people who help bolster the company’s bottom line, then putting yourself into that track might take less effort and be more rewarding in the long run for you.

Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit?

If running your own business or freelance endeavor sounds fun, then toiling away for a raise might not be in your best interest even if it promises more monetary return in the short term. Staying at your present level might give you the time and safety net to form a successful business in your off-time. Building a side business could be the path to financial freedom over the long term if you can keep up the momentum over time.

Do you absolutely love or really hate your job?

If you have strong feelings about your current job, that can influence your long-term plans with regard to the company. For people with an enjoyable job, focusing on a raise and promotion is often the better choice because it embeds you further into the workplace. People who hate their jobs should be looking for alternatives, either side gigs or other employers, instead of going for a raise in a company they hate.
As you can see, the choice of whether to dive into a gig lifestyle or make more at work isn’t simple. Assessing your personal goals and priorities makes it much easier, though.

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