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How Young Workers Are Shaping the Future of Work

Adriaan Brits



Financial stability often feels elusive, especially for younger generations who have lived through the 2008 crisis and a steadily more expensive cost of living without the matching pay raise. 

Perhaps as a result of these economic conditions, a growing number of young workers are turning to side hustles to make extra cash, develop their skills, build relationships, and unleash their creative energy. By selling online tutorials, products, services, and leveraging social media influence, these young professionals are redefining the concept of work and carving out new pathways to success.

Understanding the Side Hustle and Influencer Culture

The phenomenon of side hustles and the burgeoning influencer culture can be traced back to the unique challenges and opportunities faced by Generation Z. Finance Expert Jeannie Dougherty provides insight into this trend, noting, “Gen Z side hustles are either born out of disappointment or attracting buzz with the hopes of becoming an in-demand influencer.”

For many young individuals, the traditional job market has proven to be disappointing, leading them to seek alternative ways to supplement their income. Others are drawn to the allure of social media fame, hoping to create a buzz that will catapult them into the ranks of successful influencers. However, Dougherty emphasizes that while side hustles can be rewarding, they come with their own set of challenges and risks.

The Reality of Side Hustles: Growth and Risk

Those looking to supplement their income through side hustles need to be aware that success does not come overnight. Dougherty explains, “A true side hustle kismet is fun. It helps with your bills and allows you to grow while you learn. You must find out what will go viral and help you stay viral. That can take precious time and money.”

The journey to a successful side hustle requires patience, persistence, and a willingness to invest both time and money. Gen Zers, in particular, need to acquire the skills necessary to scale and grow their businesses. Without wise saving and investing practices, the initial excitement of a side hustle can turn into financial strain within six months to five years.

The Importance of Learning from Failure

It’s crucial to acknowledge that success in the world of side hustles and digital entrepreneurship is not guaranteed. Many individuals experience multiple failures before achieving their goals. Dougherty highlights this reality, stating, “Many digital nomads and entrepreneurs have many financial failures until they succeed.”

Failure is an inherent part of the entrepreneurial journey. Each setback provides valuable lessons that contribute to future success. For young workers, understanding this aspect of side hustles can help them stay resilient and motivated, even when faced with challenges.

Practical Tips for Aspiring Side Hustlers

Aspiring side hustlers can benefit from several practical tips to maximize their chances of success. First, it’s essential to identify your passion and skills, choosing a side hustle that aligns with your interests and abilities. This alignment not only makes the work more enjoyable but also increases the likelihood of success. Next, research the market thoroughly to understand the demand for your product or service, identify your target audience, and study your competition to find a unique angle. Starting small and scaling gradually is another key strategy; begin with manageable goals and expand as you gain experience and confidence, which minimizes financial risk and facilitates learning.

Investing wisely is crucial—allocate your resources carefully, investing in tools and education that will enhance your skills and improve your offerings, while avoiding unnecessary expenditures that could strain your finances. Networking and building relationships with other entrepreneurs and influencers in your field can provide invaluable support, opportunities, and insights. Finally, stay persistent and adaptable; be prepared to face setbacks and failures, using these experiences as learning opportunities and being willing to adjust your strategy as needed. These practical steps can help aspiring side hustlers navigate the challenges and maximize the potential of their entrepreneurial endeavors.



The rise of side hustles among young workers is reshaping the landscape of work and entrepreneurship. While the journey can be challenging and fraught with risks, it also offers unique opportunities for growth, learning, and financial independence. By embracing the realities of side hustles and approaching them with a strategic mindset, young professionals can navigate this dynamic landscape and build a future that aligns with their aspirations and values.

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