Side Hustle Definition: What is a Side Hustle?

Side hustle: work done for income in addition to one's primary job.

An AI generated image of a stern-looking bear dressed like a 1950s accountant.
This stern looking bear dressed like a 1950s accountant is an AI's vision of trying to capture the idea that sometimes having a side hustle represents a bearish outlook.

Side hustle: work done for income in addition to one's primary job.

side hus·tle /sīd ˈhəs(ə)l/


1. Slang. work done for extra income supplementary 
to a person's main or primary job. 

2. Slang. work done to follow a passion not necessarily 
to generate a primary income.

What is a Side Hustle?

A side hustle is an additional or part-time job that is taken on by an individual in addition to his or her regular full-time job.

It provides this side hustler with the opportunity to earn extra income, pursue a passion or creative endeavor, or simply supplement their existing income. Side hustles can range from driving for a rideshare service, selling items online, or providing a service through a freelancing platform. The beauty of side hustling is that it allows for flexibility and creativity to reach financial goals.

Side hustles are becoming increasingly popular among millennials as they seek to break free from the traditional 9-5 job model and create income streams that give them more freedom and autonomy over their lives.

For many, side hustles are a way to explore new career paths and create multiple sources of income while also expanding their skill set. It can also be a great way for entrepreneurs to get their businesses up and running without having to quit their day job.

The key to successful side hustling is setting realistic goals and managing your time effectively. It’s important to understand the risks associated with side hustling, such as sacrificing job security or not yielding enough income to cover taxes. However, if managed properly, a side hustle can be a great way for individuals to explore additional opportunities and achieve financial freedom.


Although we just noted that side hustles are popular with millennials, the term is significantly older than one might imagine.

First, the phrase is somewhat obvious in its construction. It is almost certainly derived from a word and a phrase: "hustle" and "side job". The word "hustle" means to move quickly or energetically, while a side job implies an additional source of income that you pursue on your own time. Put these two together and you get someone who is actively working on something else besides their full-time job - hence why we now refer to these activities as side hustles.

Sites like the Merriam-Webster dictionary website and the Grammarist argue that the phrase was first used in the 1950s. Early on the hustle portion of the term could imply a scam, but soon side hustle was used to describe a regular job.