Exposing the Truth: The Worst Side Hustles You Should Avoid

worst side hustles

In today’s evolving economic landscape, the attraction of side hustles has grown exponentially, presenting a viable solution to financial constraints. Yet, as with any gold rush, not all that shines is gold. Today we’ll be talking about the ups and downs of side hustles and some of the worst side hustles out there.

While the prospect of additional income is enticing, it’s essential to delve deep and discern the real from the mirage. This article delves into various side hustles, exploring their hidden intricacies, evaluating the balance between time, financial return, and stress levels.

From delivering for Instacart to being a personal assistant or baking cookies, we uncover the less obvious facets of these endeavors and guide you on navigating this exciting yet complex world.

1692188913 pexels tim gouw 52608Side hustles can be great, or crushing. We’ll give you some thing to look out for!

Table Of Contents:

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For many, the allure of side hustles is undeniable. The idea of pocketing extra money, and possibly achieving a greater financial cushion, is tantalizing, especially for those clocking in full-time hours and still precariously balancing their finances.

However, a reality check is in order: every side gig isn’t a guaranteed jackpot. While some might seem like the perfect side hustle on the surface—offering flexible hours, remote work, or enjoyable tasks—the actual returns might be meager for the time and effort you pour into them.

Understanding the Time vs. Reward Quandary

Oftentimes, there’s a stark imbalance between the hours you devote to a less-than-perfect side hustle and the actual income you derive. This doesn’t mean every endeavor is doomed; there are tales of individuals who’ve hit the side gig jackpot.

There are instances of go-getters who’ve spun their passions into profitable ventures, striking a chord between profit and personal satisfaction.

The Delicate Dance: Marrying Your Day Job with a Side Hustle

However, it’s not always a breeze to mix daily job duties with tasks from an additional venture. This balancing act often propels some hustles into our ‘worst sides’ spotlight.

Juggling multiple commitments demands astute planning and dedication for meaningful success without premature burnout.

At times, finding equilibrium might mean sidestepping enticing opportunities that don’t resonate with your present lifestyle or aspirations, even if they flash appealing monetary lures.

Making decisions grounded in realism, instead of being dazzled by overblown promises, can spare you from disillusionment and fruitless exertions down the road.

And here’s a crucial nugget of wisdom: While exploring avenues to earn extra money, like freelance endeavors, online tutoring, or crafting, which promise flexibility and potentially lucrative returns, bear this in mind:

Key Takeaway:

Not all side hustles are gold mines. Many demand hefty time investments for minimal returns, and juggling them with a regular job can lead to burnout. The key is discerning which gigs align with your lifestyle and goals – not just the dollar signs they promise.

The Hidden Hurdles of Driving for Instacart

At first glance, becoming a driver for a grocery delivery powerhouse like Instacart might seem like the ultimate side gig. But diving deeper reveals unsettling truths.

One glaring issue faced by drivers is the widespread culture of inadequate tipping. Numerous accounts indicate shoppers frequently getting meager tips, or worse, being left empty-handed, despite their meticulous attention to delivering orders both quickly and accurately.

Diving Deep Into Financial Implications

But there’s more to it than just the tip of the iceberg. A closer look at the financial aspects is necessary to gauge if Instacart genuinely offers a worthy side gig or if it sits on the unfortunate spectrum of subpar side hustles.

When you begin to factor in expenses like fuel, wear and tear on the vehicle, coupled with the pressures of timely shopping and navigating deliveries under unpredictable scenarios, it’s no shocker that some drivers barely touch the minimum wage. Some even find themselves in the red, occasionally earning less by a couple of dollars an hour.

This serves as a stark reminder that not all driving gigs guarantee a financial uptick – some may, ironically, deepen your financial strain.

Beyond the financial strain, there’s the human element. Engaging with challenging customers becomes an occupational hazard. Some might be unreasonably expectant; others might stray into the territory of rudeness.

Such interactions, over time, can erode a driver’s mental fortitude, making tranquility an elusive dream in this job.

Additionally, logistical nightmares like being forced to double-park due to unavailable parking, or racing against the clock between stores, only further ratchet up the stress quotient.

Given these hurdles, more enticing avenues await side hustlers today – avenues that don’t compromise on income, well-being, or stability in one’s primary occupation. With flexibility at their core and often yielding better returns, options like freelance content creation, online educational services, and peddling handcrafted goods present promising alternatives.

Key Takeaway: 

Despite its allure, driving for Instacart can be a rough ride. Low tips and high expenses often lead to less-than-minimum wage earnings or even losses.

Dealing with difficult customers and stressful situations further dampen the experience. There are better side hustles out there that offer more reward for your time and effort.

Personal Assistant – Not as Glamorous as It Seems

The role of a personal assistant, especially for wealthy bosses or affluent businesspeople, is often shrouded in misconceptions. The allure and glamour associated with it can be misleading.

A day in the life of a personal assistant usually involves juggling demanding tasks that require immediate attention. This could range from managing intricate schedules to handling abrupt changes – all while maintaining an unwavering focus.

Tight deadlines are another constant challenge you might face. Imagine having to book last-minute flights or orchestrate meetings within constricted time frames; these scenarios aren’t uncommon at all.

Beyond this, there’s also the likelihood of being tasked with responsibilities outside your job description like running errands for your boss or coordinating events on their behalf, which only adds more pressure.

Making Peace with Limited Impact

Another aspect worth noting about this side hustle is making peace with limited impact. In contrast to other jobs where you see tangible results over time, operating behind-the-scenes without much recognition becomes part and parcel when working as a personal assistant. Various assistants have shared how feeling undervalued has led them towards dissatisfaction over time due to a lack of acknowledgment and real impact in their roles.

Despite such challenges, though, being a PA does offer unique insights into successful individuals’ lives and businesses but requires careful consideration before diving headfirst into it.

Before committing yourself fully to any particular side gig, including becoming someone’s right-hand person, weigh up potential stress levels against possible financial returns carefully.

Remember, not every glamorous-sounding opportunity necessarily translates into easy money, so always look out for better alternatives that align well both financially and mentally, such as freelance writing, online tutoring, selling handmade crafts, etc. These options not only provide flexibility but potentially higher returns too.

Key Takeaway: 

The glitz and glamour of being a personal assistant can be deceptive. This side hustle often entails juggling high-pressure tasks, working under tight deadlines, and taking on extra duties beyond your job description.

Moreover, the lack of recognition may lead to dissatisfaction over time. Before diving in, carefully weigh up potential stress against possible earnings.

The Hidden Risks in Baking Cookies

At first glance, baking cookies as a side hustle might appear to be the perfect way to earn easy money. However, like many things that seem too good to be true, this sweet gig has its own set of hidden challenges and risks.

Health Over Profits

In times where health concerns are paramount, such as during a pandemic or flu season, it’s vital for anyone handling food products to prioritize safety over profits. As an at-home baker selling your goods publicly, you bear the responsibility of maintaining stringent hygiene standards and ensuring food safety – something which becomes even more critical when infectious diseases abound.

Sadly enough, there have been instances where bakers were compelled to work under unhealthy conditions due to increased customer demand or employer pressure. This is not only detrimental physically but can also lead to mental stress-related illnesses brought on by prolonged hours without adequate breaks, making matters worse indeed.

Facing Financial Challenges: Is It Worth Your Time?

If you’re contemplating starting up a cookie-baking business venture alongside your regular job but haven’t yet done a thorough cost analysis, you could find yourself investing both time and resources into something that isn’t yielding sufficient returns.

Besides ingredient costs – flour, sugar, eggs, butter, chocolate chips, etc., there’s packaging materials if delivering these goodies – boxes, tissue paper, sticker labels perhaps?

And let’s not forget about utilities incurred while baking those delicious treats. Apart from material expenses, don’t overlook time spent on marketing efforts (building a customer base), order management (taking orders, arranging delivery slots), clean-ups after each bake session, and other administrative tasks associated with running any effective business operation.

To make matters worse, sometimes unforeseen circumstances can add extra financial burdens. For instance, a sudden hike in ingredient prices due to economic fluctuations or seasonal shortages. In such scenarios, the profit margins get squeezed significantly, making it one of the worst side hustles despite seeming like the perfect side hustle initially.

Key Takeaway: 

Baking cookies as a side hustle may seem like an easy gig, but it’s fraught with hidden risks. From health concerns to financial challenges and unexpected costs, this sweet endeavor can quickly turn sour. Make sure you crunch the numbers before diving into this doughy venture.

Avoiding Side Hustle Pitfalls: A Comprehensive Guide

Let’s get started on this endeavor.

Prior to diving into the world of side hustles and exploring ways to earn easy money, it’s essential for you to understand that not all opportunities are as lucrative or beneficial as they might initially seem. Some may promise quick returns but end up being more draining in terms of time and stress than they’re worth.

I’ve put together a two-step approach that can help guide your decision-making process when considering potential side gigs:

Evaluating Time Commitment vs Financial Return

The first step is crucial. It involves assessing whether the expected income from a particular gig justifies its required time commitment – an important factor often overlooked due to our eagerness to make extra cash.

To do this effectively, calculate your prospective hourly rate by dividing anticipated earnings by estimated hours spent on tasks, including preparation, execution, and any post-task activities like delivery or client communication. If this figure seems unsatisfactory given other factors (like enjoyment), then perhaps it’s best to avoid it.

Gauging Potential Stress Levels Inherent To Various Side Gigs

Moving on to Step #2: understanding the associated stress levels with different types of work is equally vital before fully committing yourself to any specific hustle. This becomes especially significant when considering scenarios where people tip poorly, leading Instacart shoppers to struggle financially despite their hard efforts. Such situations could make matters worse, affecting both mental health over time and performance at full-time jobs.

In order to avoid these pitfalls, seek out gigs that align better with your skills and temperament; don’t add unnecessary strain to your already busy life. For instance, creative pursuits like writing or graphic design offer flexibility and can be done from home at flexible times, reducing commute-related stresses while providing an outlet for self-expression.

Key Takeaway: 

Don’t be lured by the siren song of quick cash in side hustles. Evaluate time commitment against financial return, and gauge potential stress levels before diving in. Remember, not all that glitters is gold – some gigs may cost more in sweat and tears than they’re worth.

Exploring Better Alternatives

If you’re keen on side gigs that offer a harmonious balance between time commitment, financial return, and stress levels, there are several options worth considering. The key is identifying something that syncs with your skills and interests.

Online Freelancing Opportunities

The digital realm presents countless opportunities for freelancers in diverse fields. Whether it’s graphic design or content writing, online platforms provide an avenue to engage with clients globally.

This type of work affords the flexibility to cherry-pick projects based on your expertise and interest. Furthermore, freelancing from home can be less stressful than traditional jobs due to its inherent adaptability.

In terms of income potential, freelance rates differ widely depending on the field and level of experience one has garnered over time. However, by cultivating a robust portfolio over time, one could command higher rates and escalate their earning capacity significantly.

Selling Handmade Crafts

If creativity strikes more chords within you, then selling handmade crafts might just be what fits into your scheme perfectly. Platforms allow artisans like yourself to sell unique creations directly, reaching customers worldwide without any intermediaries involved, which usually takes up a substantial chunk of profits.

Making items at leisure gives this side hustle quite an appeal – the lack of strict deadlines, unlike other gigs, reduces stress considerably while also allowing room for creative expression. The expense of getting started could be based on the type of craft you’re doing, but this venture can often bring in good returns if your products are high-grade.

Pricing will hinge on the materials used, time taken, and market trends. While initial earnings may not seem like much, as demand grows, so does profit. With some hard work combined with passion, it can turn into a profitable venture eventually.

Remember, a successful gig requires effort, patience, and dedication before seeing substantial results. So don’t get disheartened if things don’t take off immediately – keep persisting until they do.

Key Takeaway: 

Side hustles should align with your skills and interests for optimal balance between time, income, and stress. Online freelancing offers flexibility and global reach while selling handmade crafts allows creative expression and potential profit growth. Success requires patience, persistence, and dedication.


The world of side hustles offers a myriad of opportunities to augment income and fulfill personal aspirations. Yet, as we’ve seen, it’s a terrain fraught with pitfalls and misleading prospects.

But let’s not forget the brighter side of the spectrum; there are numerous side hustles out there that can be immensely rewarding. When you find the right fit, not only do they provide a substantial financial boost, but they can also offer personal satisfaction, flexibility, and a sense of accomplishment.

It’s paramount to approach these opportunities with a discerning eye, ensuring that you’re not trading in peace of mind and well-being for a few extra bucks.

Remember, while the lure of quick cash is potent, the real treasure lies in finding a hustle that aligns with your lifestyle, skills, and long-term goals. So, arm yourself with the insights provided, make informed decisions, and pave a path to a side hustle that truly enriches your life.

Understanding potential stress levels associated with different gigs can save you from unnecessary burnout and in the world of worst side hustles, knowledge truly is power.

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