The Rise of “Hustle” Culture

Real Business discusses “hustle” culture and the monetisation of hobbies and free time changing people’s lifestyles.   

Even before the outbreak of COVID-19 in late 2019, social media sites had been gripped by the rise of “hustle” culture. Motivational videos, public speakers, influencers, and even celebrities had all perpetuated the idea that to achieve your goals, you had to work incredibly hard, dedicating as much of your time, energy, and resources into working as you possibly could. This could mean taking every minute you could to work on launching your own business, writing your novel, or simply exercising to reach your goal weight. With the rise of “hustle” culture came the monetisation of almost every aspect of our lives. In a world where even our data is sold, using our free time to continue making money outside of work not only became normal, but it became necessary.  

With the cost of living seemingly rising every year, salaries have typically not risen to meet the high prices of our most necessary bills and items, particularly in our major cities. So, having a “side-hustle” has become necessary for many people, particularly young adults, and students. Many students or graduates have taken to selling artwork, handmade jewellery, second-hand fashion, stationary, etc. to be able to carry on earning while taking on unpaid internships and placements to gain the experience that is required for fully paid positions. Sites like Etsy and Vinted make it easy for individuals to make, market and sell small items and gifts in order to make some extra money.  

Although having a second business has become more and more the standard, providing people with an additional stream of revenue, there has been a growing feeling online that people shouldn’t have to monetise their hobbies or free time in order to remain financially stable. As people began to rely on their small, online shops to continue earning during the pandemic, influencers and mental health campaigners brought attention to how harmful “hustle” culture might be to people’s wellbeing and mindsets. As the world locked down, many people became reliant on their side businesses to keep themselves afloat as they were furloughed or lost their main source of income entirely. However, people were at risk of not allowing themselves time to relax or decompress. The idea that lockdown was the time to get your passion project finished or to grow your business swarmed social media, much to the concern of advocates and experts. Burnout and anxiety surrounding work rocketed during lockdown, as people found their lifestyles massively disrupted and the definition between work and home became blurred. People struggled to maintain a work-life balance, as the normal change of environment fell away. A counter movement started, with people urging others to take time off, give themselves a break, and to not feel too pressured to achieve in the middle of a pandemic.  

How will “hustle” culture continue to change our lifestyles? It could continue to influence how we enjoy our pastimes and how we launch our own small businesses. It might continue to have an impact on our ability to define a healthy and manageable work-life balance.  

Do you have a side-hustle just to get you by? Let us know in the comments. 

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