Generating sources of passive income, developing a strong career, or starting a business you are passionate about while working isn’t easy. It takes commitment, time management, and a passion for longer-term success. But the sooner you start, the sooner you reap the rewards!
Working 40+ hours a week on this site and freelance writing, making almost all our meals at home for cheap, and being a mother to two little boys doesn’t leave a lot of downtime. But I am no stranger to hustling and actually love being busy. Graduating college with honors, completing two majors and a minor while playing hockey and working during the school year, in three years is one of my proudest accomplishments.
I got asked often why I was in “such a rush” and why I thought it was worth it to cut off one of the “best years of my life”. I never ever understood the question. College was never meant to be the best years of my life. So why wouldn’t I trade a year of expensive school for a year of a well paying job? Why would I give up a year of my precious time? I wouldn’t. If your goal is to live like nobody else, you have to be willing to hustle like nobody else. And to start as soon as possible!
1 – Time is your most precious resource
We all know the power of exponential growth and compound interest in investing. So why aren’t we trying to put the most dollars away and develop the most sources of income as early as possible? Why aren’t we chasing our passions and giving ourselves the most time for success?
The ramp period is the most painful part of any passive income or business venture. These are the months or years when you are putting in the most hours, making the least money, and learning your craft. This is when many people give up. But if you can power through the tough times, you can benefit from the spoils for years to come.
Would you rather face the tough work now or delay the work, and the profits, into an unknown future?
2 – You have fewer responsibilities
The hardest part about finding time to work on Mama Fish Saves now is balancing the time I get with Fuss Fish. On the average weekday, I get less than an hour with him. So taking even a few minutes on my precious weekends can kick the mom guilt into high gear. But when I was working 80-90+ hour weeks on Wall Street building my career, I never felt guilty. I didn’t have a spouse at home. I wasn’t giving up time with my kids. My only responsibility was myself and it felt natural to take the time to invest in my own future.
Digging in and doing the work is always easier when your responsibilities are fewer. You naturally have more time as fewer people/pets/things are rallying for your attention. If you have to stay up until 2 am putting out a fire, you’re welcome to skip breakfast the next day in exchange for those extra 20 minutes of sleep. There isn’t a tiny person jumping on your bed demanding eggs.
Responsibilities grow with time. I know eventually one child will turn into two, Fuss will have sports games and activities I want to attend, and he will stop going to bed at 6:30 pm and taking 2+ hour naps. Do I wish I started developing passive income before I had kids? Of course! But it doesn’t mean I should delay even more now.
3 – You’re bolder and more creative
So you’re young. You’ve got more time in front of you and fewer responsibilities surrounding you. How do you think you behave? There is a reason you see teenagers swinging off precarious rope swings and attempting trampoline backflips but you don’t see many older adults doing the same. The younger you are, the more risks you’re willing to take.
Maybe we get set in our ways as we get older. Maybe we just have a better sense of the reality of the risks. But, in general, the earlier you start investing in yourself the more faith you have in your own abilities and success. And that faith goes a long way. If you’re always worried about the consequences of failure, you play scared. You don’t take the risks you need to in order to differentiate yourself from the competition and become successful.
Raise your hand for that new career opportunity, start the business you’ve been dreaming of. It won’t be easier tomorrow.
4 – You can fail and learn
Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first TV job. Dr. Seuss’s first book was rejected by 27 publishers. Jerry Seinfeld froze his first time on stage as a stand-up comedian and was booed offstage. Not every career, passive income, or business venture you pursue will work. You won’t enjoy everything you try and will want to change course. That’s ok!
Starting early means you have more time to find your path and develop your skills. Maybe you think you would love being a landlord but you really enjoy doing DIY maintenance and hate dealing with people, so flipping houses is better for you. Just getting going gets you closer to success. We all need time to learn.
Start early and hustle for what you love
Making the time to invest in yourself is hard. We are programmed to view our lives as full and busy. But you have the ability to build financial freedom for your family if you just change your mindset. Find a source of passive income, a great side hustle you can do from home, or come up with an entrepreneurial idea that you are passionate about and get started today! Think of what you could build for your future self!
What are you hustling for? What is something you discovered to better yourself that you wish you knew earlier? Drop a note in the comments to share your experiences!
7 thoughts on “Why It Pays to Hustle While You’re Young”
Enjoyed the post. Lots of good points.
I don’t know why more people don’t recommend early graduation. Saving $25k for a year of college, while earning money on a job is a huge swing in a young adult’s net worth. There is lots to be learned in the job market that just can’t be taught in college.
I know a lot of younger people who drive Uber after work. If I didn’t have family responsibilities I may do that as well. The older you get the more ways you have to find truly passive income – like dividends. 🙂
Looking back now, I wish I had hustled more when I was younger. There were definitely many wasted hours spent at the mall, gossipping with friends, and driving around aimlessly when I could have been doing more productive things. Sounds like I needed you a decade ago to kick me into gear!
Great list! I would add that the younger you are, the more time your savings (even a small amount) has time to grow and compound for your future self if you can avoid draining it to fund your dreams! Also, there could be significant tax advantages while your income is on the low side that you could be taking advantage of (Roth and Saver’s Credit, for example), whereas once you make it big (which we hope you will if you hustle enough) the portion of your income that goes to paying taxes of all types will be a major adjustment for you. With a little planning – the fruits of your young labor can be maximized!
Our 19 year old is a great example of working extra hours to earn more (because what else will he be doing but goofing off online and playing games) and certainly taking big risks while you are young. He may be soon relocating to a new state where he knows noone, if a job he is going for works out for him! It’s not a high-paying job, but he is still in ‘test and see if it sticks’ mode to see if this is the right career path for him. So with a safety net to fall back to, there is no better time than now to get our there and try it out!
I spent my 20’s in medical school and residency and fellowship (which I finished close to age 33).
I am now 37. occasionally put in 80 hours/week at my day job the way I did in residency, but that’s the exception.
It definitely pays to work extra hard in your 20’s. My schedule isn’t “easy” now (especially with 3 kids and a working spouse and still working nights/weekends/holidays), but it’s a better schedule than I had 10 years ago.
I finished college with a positive net worth because of side hustles / part-time work, it is amazing how it can be beneficial long-term.
So much easier to hustle, working long hours before kids are in the picture, but young parents can get pretty creative to do it all. I dragged my young kids around to many a Home Depot on the weekends, buying supplies to work on our rental homes. Just as you said in your post, you have to put in the sweat equity early with a lot of investments so you can enjoy the passive income later on. In this regard, I think blogging and real estate investing are similar. I’m finally enjoying the mostly passive side of my rentals, but my new effort to build a blog is kicking my butt, ha ha,