Why Side Hustles Are the New Shiny Object Syndrome?
Photo by Alekzan Powell on Unsplash

Side hustles are the latest go-to rage today. From one hustler to another, the sea is plush with sailors trying to find some shore. Frankly, I didn’t know what a side hustle means a few years back. I was hustling, but the word never meant anything to me. In India, it is a side job or extra income. 

Anyway, from taking coachings, proxy homework for students, projects, selling comics and newspapers, blogging, and a few more stints at other things, my gigs kept changing. 

It was the Shiny Object Syndrome that got to me. With the advent of the internet and information availability like Cherapunji rains, every shiny new gig or hustle blew me off. After all, that guy on Instagram with his Oakleys is vacationing in Hawaii by hustling. 

Who’s stopping me from doing what he does? Let’s get on with what he does. And here goes the discipline and good old saying of “sticking with something for a while.”

Shiny object syndrome is when we focus our attention on something current and trendy yet drop it as soon as something new comes along.

Familiar to you, Ain’t it?

Perhaps, you are amongst those people who try everything but don’t stick with something long enough to reap benefits from it. 

You went into some online hanky-panky, it did not work out. Everybody was making big in the e-commerce business, and you tried but in vain.

Copywriting, yes, you heard the mean salaried of these people are in a good range, and then bang. You tried copywriting but failed and left.  

Who knows what’s next on your plate? Website, affiliate marketing, dropshipping, or something else. 

When you dive deeper into this phenomenon, the trend is self-explanatory. Our constant obsession with gigs and hustle is a trend confirmed by the CNB study that says, ” Over the past 20 years, the gig economy workers operating as independent contractors have increased by a whopping 27%.”

Why Side hustles are the new Shiny Object Syndrome?

Since the gig economy is here to stay and with more people working from home, you can expect all sorts of tooth clenching numbers in the coming years.

Anyway, our problem stays. With more to choose from, distraction is a concern. 

Back to our question. If side hustles are crucial and the way forward, why do most of us fail?

Why side-hustle is the new Shiny object syndrome making us hop from one to another leaving us nowhere?

Selecting the wrong hustle

We choose our side hustle basis the incorrect process. While side hustle should be your passion project or something that aligns with you, it becomes “I will do what that guy (remember the Oakley one) is doing” or ” I will do something that can earn me more money according to the latest trends.”

Neither works while selection and your plans and aspirations fall flat on the face only to stay there.

Important to note is how the marketers make it look so easy. I keep seeing people over my feeds standing rooftop some million dollar apartment, only to convince me of the ease with which they reached there. It all looks so achievable that we leave our core skills to pursue something that ain’t true.

We fall for the gimmick believing each word and the aesthetics assuming this is it. The problem arises when it starts to look bleak, and we convince ourselves about how we messed up. Alternatively, we start looking for the next shiny object.

Since we focus on the result rather than picking the right hustle, it becomes a thorn in our path. This random selection eventually becomes failed venture forcing us to find something else.

Treating side hustle as an easy alternate

Perhaps, the biggest mistake made by all of us. What’s side hustle for you is an actual job taken by you on the side. It doesn’t make the job easy or any lesser. No job in the world is a classified side hustle.

The mistake of taking it too lightly leads to burnout in terms of results. While we get daily reminders of how people are making it big with their hustle, we reach nowhere close to glory. 

I remember starting work on Appen for some easy money and work on the side, but it never worked out. Even trivial tasks like editing, translating, or sharing pics require time and energy. Just the thought or notion of it being easy spelled doom for me. It should be easy, but rewarding was my thought. Yes, it was not rigorous as my day job, but it demanded time and patience.

People who make a living fortune out of a side hustle are the ones treating it as their main job. They don’t hustle as it’s their side but like a permanent job. 

What you call a side hustle is a full-time gig for many. People achieving extraordinary results are dedicated and committed to the goal. It is exactly like the saying, “what you sow is what you reap.”

The hustlers taking it easy find the wheels coming off quickly, exposing them to reality. Eventually, they move to the next one.

The problem of plenty

Choices spoil us. They are good to have, but they are a problem in this world. It’s easier when you have fewer options and to make something out of them. While we may think having choices is a blessing, they are not. Moreover, our reasons for getting into the hustling world are unclear and influenced, making all the options a problem. It messes us and leaves us wanting.

There’s only so much you can do, but this consistent influx of information and new events screw our heads. 

Today, you read about the fabulous life of a digital nomad and immediately try to be one. The high-flying life of a self-made entrepreneur who hustled with the day job excites you. That dropshipping guy becomes your hero. Some random stranger selling exotic something over Amazon attracts you. 

Do you see where I am going with this? These are a few I could think of; imagine the trillion bytes of information and choice available out there. It is overwhelming, and before you know it, you end up doing everything and eventually nothing. 

There is still a silver lining, but before you hop again

Always stick with a couple of side hustles first and then take it forward. See what works for you and explore the why of you being in this play. There is no point picking every latest or trendy one hoping for quick money. The problem is not the hustle but the way you do it. Before you know, you’ll be again looking at some new hustle while making nothing out of the existing one. 

We often underestimate the potential and the effort side of the hustle. Social media and the internet expose us to the world of quick bucks and effortless fame. While we fantasize about a wonderful life through a side hustle, the transition period struggle is the real deal. 

The key to success is sticking to hustle for a period before you move out finding richness in the unknown, only to initiate the cycle again.


  • Always do something that is an extension of you.
  • Learn, gain knowledge, and stick to it.
  • Treat your hustle like a job and not an alternate.
  • Don’t just wish, but do it.
  • Don’t expect immediate results but long-term prospects.

Do not fall into the trap of shiny object syndrome and wish for something to happen. Start, even if it is small and gradually build on the ones you pick. Show up regularly and have faith.

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