The Side Hustle of Change Management
Side hustle culture is here to stay! In the face of rising inflation, it’s understandable that many South Africans would be “hustling” to make it through the month, and according to the Gordon Institute of Business Science, the number of local households with multiple income streams is steadily rising.
Since 2021, more than half of surveyed working metropolitan households have had multiple income streams, including side hustles – from 47% to 51% in just one year.
Considering the essence of the side hustle is that it adds to your life (new ambitions, extra income), it’s no wonder why the topic has repeatedly appeared across news outlets and social media for the past few years.
But the concept certainly isn’t new. This statement might reveal my age, but it used to be referred to as moonlighting, as most people took on their second (or third, or fourth) jobs in the evenings after completing their usual 9 to 5. The driver has often been the same, supplementing incomes to make up for an unpredictable economy. However, nowadays, the sheer flexibility that comes with a hybrid working environment means that ‘moonlighting’ is a thing of the past. Thanks to the more flexible in-office requirements, people can take on their jobs in whichever hours are available.
Though there has been a shift in motivations to start side hustles, in recent years, GIBS’ analysis shows that they’re actually used as a safety net in case so-called “main jobs” don’t work out. And while a lot of these side-gigs are necessity-driven, it has shown the determination and resourcefulness that makes South Africans attractive to future employers.
I believe that Change Management and its relevant skillsets are ideal for applying not only to part-time work as a change manager but also to any other form of side hustle. Change management experts, Prosci, have an excellent description of the job that encompasses all we do, but it’s a career that develops a widely helpful set of skills: leadership, organisation, resilience, problem-solving, interpersonal skills, and oversight capabilities.
There’s a reason it’s appeared as one of the country’s most in-demand skillsets in recent years. At and Change, we train hundreds of change management practitioners all year round. By far, most of them are doing change management not as a primary activity but as a portion or add-on to their regular work.
When this setup occurs, it is usually frustrating for the practitioner. The only difference between this setup and the side hustles described above is that this does not typically generate a separate income for them. We all know how easy that can be to change.
Change management practice lends itself to side hustling because it’s a set of skills that can be used for any project at hand but will, of course, be just as useful for another change, in another industry, or with different change drivers. Yet to launch your change management career – or any new venture – requires an entrepreneurial spirit together with a solid, scalable strategy and methodology. Once again, these are the kind of skills that our sector teaches and embodies.
You don’t need a genius idea or exceptional capability to start a side hustle. What matters most is motivation, resilience, and time management – all skills and attributes that can be acquired through dedicated learning.