A lifelong entrepreneur explains why it's so important to start a project that earns money outside your day job

Woman tour guide travelTatiana Dzelskalei/Strelka Institute/FlickrThere’s a great source of happiness that comes from entrepreneurship.

It’s safe to say America is obsessed with the side-hustle economy.

And rightfully so — what’s not to love about monetizing a hobby or passion?

Well, if you ask Chris Guillebeau, a New York Times bestselling author and entrepreneur, there’s more reason to launch a side hustle than the lure of an extra paycheck.

“I do believe people need it, I don’t think it’s just something that’s nice — I think there’s an urgency to it,” Guillebeau, 39, told Business Insider.

While he does think starting a side business is a smart way to develop some financial security, there’s a deeper, “very positive” benefit he encourages people to shift their focus toward.

“It’s not just about avoiding or overcoming economic uncertainty, it’s about creating something for yourself and having ownership over that, and that’s a wonderful thing,” said Guillebeau, who worked as a freelancer, overseas aid worker, and founder of several small business — often all at the same time — before becoming an author.

It’s also crucial to “look away from the gig economy” and part-time jobs, he says, and put your energy toward creating something unique and valuable that people will pay for.

In early January, the Portland-based author and blogger launched a podcast and travelling workshop called “Side Hustle School” to help others create and grow their side projects.

“I really have seen over and over just how excited people get when they have never had any kind of entrepreneurial project and they don’t necessarily want to be a full-time ‘entrepreneur’ but then they start this little hustle and it works out for them — it’s just a great source of happiness that comes from it,” he said.

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