26310019_mIs your side hustle costing you tons of time?

And not making you tons of cash?

Mine was.

I learned the hard way this summer that not all side hustles are worthy of your time.

A mistake I’ll never make again.

To preface, I never intended to make this side hustle a full-time job. It was purely for extra income to pay some bills and build savings.

If you hope to make your side hustle a full-time business it’s understandable to work for less money in the beginning as you work towards a goal.

However, if you keep a side hustle solely for extra income you must make sure it’s serving it’s purpose.

My Side Hustle Fail

I started dog walking at the beginning of the summer to pay a few bills while I built my online business and gained more freelance writing clients. I figured it would be the perfect side job to get exercise while making money.

The problem was it used more of my own resources and effort than I planned.

Plus, I didn’t lose any weight. What gives?

Why Calculate Effectiveness of Side Hustling

It took me four months to face the music that dog walking wasn’t an effective way to make money no matter how many dog walks I took on.

Every side hustler should do this type of self reflection to determine whether their hustle is useful sooner than later for one main reason.

A side hustle isn’t your main source of income, yet it takes up your valuable free time.

And time is precious.

Don’t you want to make sure every extra hour you work is bringing in enough bacon to justify the time spent?

How Not to Waste Your Time

First, decide how much per hour your time is worth and don’t consider working for anything less than that per hour.


Remember time is precious so think about what it means to you. After all, side hustling hours could be spent with family, exercising, reading a book, or doing other activities you enjoy.

Next, add up the time it will take you to complete the tasks of a side hustle. Include everything in your calculation that you do to make it happen. In my case, it should have been travelling to and from each dog walk.

Now, multiply your desired per hour rate by how much time it takes you to complete ALL of the work.

Afterwards, we’ve arrived at our base rate, but we’re not finished just yet.

Lastly and most importantly, take the cost of resources used to do your side hustle and add that to your base price.

Your equations should look like this:

1. Desired hourly rate x Time to complete your task = Base price for your services.

2. Base price + Cost of resources = Effective pricing for your hustle – no exceptions!

The effective pricing is the very minimum you should charge or accept for side hustle work. Otherwise you run the risk of making less than your time is worth or losing money by supplying your own resources.

Put plainly, if you’re not making this amount in your side hustle it’s time to seriously consider whether or not you’re wasting your time.

What does this mean for you?

Dog walking happens to be a perfect example of how factoring in effort exerted and resources used can make a hustle ineffective. This same thinking can be used across the board to judge the effectiveness of side hustles like web design, writing, or tutoring for example.

Sure, I was making how much I wanted to per hour at face value. But including the travel to and from the walks, plus gas, traffic and the occasional parking fee, I was making far less than my desired base rate.

Not smart.

How about you? Have you done work that cost you  more of your time than it was worth? How do you ensure you take on side work that pays what you’re worth? Share below!

Taylor Gordon

Taylor Gordon

Taylor Gordon is a money blogger and hustle coach. Her passion is helping budding creatives and freelancers earn their first dollar outside of the rat race.