If you’re interested in entrepreneurship the concept of side projects or ‘hustles’ won’t be new to you – they’re essentially streams of work and income that take up smaller chunks of your time than your main role.

If you think about it right now – you could probably dream up a couple of ideas that would make you a bit of money with relatively little effort; buying and selling, monetising your social media, producing content, blogging – and so forth.

I’m here to give you 6 reasons why you should have started by now – and if you haven’t – how your inaction is limiting your life options:

1. You can start with no investment

The nature of modern marketing means getting off the ground doesn’t have to be an expensive affair.

There are people out there who are looking for whatever service or product that you’re hoping to sell – you’ve just got to find them. Sure, a big glossy TV advertising campaign will find them quickly – but with no money to spend you’re going to need a stronger strategy. Focusing on social media is a great first step.

Now, you’ll see that there are lots of people pushing their services through social media in an aggressive and short-sighted manner. Social isn’t the place to ask people to buy your service – it’s the place to prove your worth and offer value.

Build your professional network, create valuable content, look at what other successful people in the field are doing. Ultimately – interact.

Don’t be afraid of some old-school marketing either. Social can be flooded – which means picking up the phone and offering someone a face to face meet or some paper based information about what you do can really stand out.

2. It develops you and your skills

Sitting at the same desk every day can turn life a little stagnant.

At school, college or university you might have had an aptitude for something creative – writing, design or drawing, but when was the last time you dusted that skill off and took it for a spin?

If you’re lucky, your talent will hang around – but most of the time you need to be exercising it to make it work.

If that 9-5 is getting you down – there’s nothing to say that one of your dormant skills or daydreams isn’t the source of your future income – but unless you try, you’re never going to know.

3. It gives you options

It’s demoralising to know that there’s no option but to keep on the same hamster wheel of work day-in, day-out.

Setting up a side-hustle isn’t going to give you the option to walk away from work the following day – but it does give you some food for thought.

Say you’re putting an hour every evening into a side project – and you’re making a small extra income doing so. Based on what you’ve done so far – could you scale up and say goodbye to the day job?

Maybe you could, maybe you couldn’t – but unless you put the time in you’re not going to find out.

4. It focuses your energy

How you expend your energy dictates a lot of your general feeling toward the world.

There’s a lot of energy zapping activities that don’t give you anything back – beyond perhaps the fleeting twinge of excitement you’ll get finding out who’s going through to the judge’s house on X-Factor.

When you start putting your energy into something that gives back – you’ll start to feel a lot more positive and enabled.

Perhaps a client tells you something you’ve produced is excellent – or you see someone commenting and sharing your content on social media. You’ve created that, from nothing. These achievements, no matter how small in the greater scheme of things – reinforce your worth and value.

You have great ideas and impressive skills that you should be proud of – but they’re doing nothing while you watch TV or play Candy Crush.

5. It forms the foundation of something big

There are many instances of something enormous growing from an idea that started very small. Both Apple and Hewlett Packard started with two friends playing with tech in a garage – and eBay started as a very definite side hustle.

Working on a secondary project gives you the flexibility to be trying something while minimising risk.

They say a successful entrepreneur has failed dozens of times before finding the idea that makes them huge – but these failures don’t have to be spectacular and result in your living on a friend’s sofa.

Journaling what you do can be a great exercise when you’re starting something small. Keep it as a place that you record ideas, successes, failures, projects and more. You’ll look back on it in a year or two astounded at how things have changed.

And if you don’t see any change – shake the hustle up a little more. Try a new angle, ditch a project and try something new. You’ve got a big idea in you, you just need to coax it out.

6. You take control of your fate

The position of employee is a vulnerable one.

Now, that’s not to say that your employment rests on a knife-edge every day – but whether or not you have a job tomorrow doesn’t truly lay in your hands – you’ve got teammates, managers, directors, share-holders and the market as a whole to decide on that.

If you can carve out a niche doing something on the side – you’ve always got something to fall back on should the worse-case scenario occur.

Planning for this worst-case scenario can be a great move too. Ask yourself, what would you do if the company you worked for closed its doors tomorrow?

There’s a good chance that you’ll never need to enact this plan – but if you’ve got a sure-fire way of making sure your bills are paid – then it gives you an answer to an even more empowering question:

“What happens if I decide I don’t want to go to work tomorrow?”