Thinking about starting something on the side of your day job, but not in the mood for a hustle? Here are 5 side projects that can help you find genuine fulfilment - no hustle required! ~ Pop Your Career

5 Side Projects That Don’t Involve a Hustle

Thinking about starting a side project? You may have heard the term "side hustle" in your rounds on the internet. Traditionally, a side hustle is a form of entrepreneurship that you take up on the side of your day job.


You might do this in the hopes of eventually giving up your 9-5. Perhaps you are looking for a way to make a little extra cash. Or maybe you just need to fill your creative cup.

Personally, I am a huge advocate of the side hustle. But only because it fits into my lifestyle. For some of you, the idea of hustling in your spare time might scare you to pieces or bore you to tears. And that's okay! In this post I am sharing 5 side projects that you can take up to improve your fulfilment. I promise you, there is no hustling involved.

1. DO SOME Volunteer Work as a side project

Volunteer work is a fabulous way to find career fulfilment. Especially if you harbour a desire to help others. There are so many volunteer opportunities available and once you decide on the type of work you are interested in, it is just a matter of approaching relevant organisations and offering your services.

One of the beauties of volunteer work is that it doesn't have to be something you have done before. This means it can truly be a passion project. It's worth keeping in mind though, that volunteer work can also be a great transition from one career or industry to another. You can use your volunteer work to gain experience in the field that you want to move into. You can also think of your volunteer work as a "try before you buy" scenario. This allows you to test it out before committing to a career change.

Not sure what kind of volunteer opportunities are available? Here are some ideas:

  • Walking, feeding and cuddling pets at your local animal shelter
  • Offering your professional skills to underprivileged people
  • Assisting with meal preparation or distribution for homeless or disabled
  • Providing translation services if you are fluent in another language
  • Volunteering at your local Salvation Army, St Vincent De Paul or Koomari store
  • Becoming a volunteer fire fighter or emergency services worker
  • Marshalling charity walks or assisting at other not-for-profit functions
  • Working as a friendship volunteer for people in need of support
  • Providing educational mentorship to young people in your community
  • Caring for the elderly or disabled in a volunteer capacity
  • Volunteering at a hospital or health care facility

These ideas barely scratch the surface! If you're in Australia, you can visit for more information about volunteering opportunities in your area.

2. TAKE UP A Second Job

If you like the idea of making a little extra cash, you might look at the option of taking on a second job. Hospitality or retail are often good choices as working hours extend past the traditional 9 to 5. This means that you can pick up shifts at night or on weekends. There are of course other options that might be closer aligned with your professional skillset or career aspirations. 

One thing to keep in mind with all side projects, but particularly in relation to taking a side job, is that you will need to ensure that there is no conflict of interest with your primary employer. Most employers will require you to have your secondary employment "approved" by your Human Resources Department. This is to ensure that any potential risk is mitigated. I'm not telling you this to turn you off the idea though. It's just wise to be prepared.

3. make study your side project

Study is brilliant as a side project as it allows you to continue learning. This could be in your current field, or in an area you see yourself working in the future. Keep in mind that study doesn't necessarily have to be formal, like a certificate, diploma or degree. You might choose to take an online course, night class or self-study.

If you aren't sure which direction to head in, consider the following factors:

  • Money - How much cash do you have available to invest in study?
  • Time - How much time do you have available to invest in study?
  • People Contact - Are you looking to meet new people or is this not a consideration?
  • Learning Style - What are your learning preferences? Do you learn best in a classroom or do you prefer to be self-directed?
  • Goal - What is your end goal? Are you looking to get accredited? Planning a career change? Looking at starting your own business? Is it just for fun?

Find career fulfilment through a side project - no hustling required!

Click to Tweet

4. TRY A Creative side Project

One of the reasons a lot of people take on a side project is that they are looking for a creative outlet. I have to admit, this is one of the things that drives me. I love writing, particularly in a conversational tone. But I just don't get to do that much in my day job. I also really enjoy experimenting with design, coaching big-hearted individuals and running high energy, informative workshops where I can give my jazz hands and spirit fingers a workout! I get to do some of those things in my current role, which is one of the reasons I love it so much. But I crave the freedom of creative license.

What sort of creative project would help you feel fulfilled? 

The options really are endless and there is absolutely no pressure. It is good to know though, that if your creative project does take off, you might decide that you want to take it further.

I have included a few examples below of people who have embarked on creative projects that have turned into their side hustle or full-time job! As I said though, there is no pressure. So feel free to use these examples for inspiration as to the kinds of creative projects that you might want to try. 

Here are some examples:

  • Cook You Some Noodles - Mariane from Cook You Some Noodles makes the most adorable dolls. I am actually quite proud to say that I own one of them! Mariane sells her dolls and they are so popular that she even runs competitions for people to win the chance to purchase.
  • Real Yum - Honor, one of my beautiful clients, has a passion for learning and educating others about fair trade chocolate. She has started offering chocolate workshops where she shows people how to make their own healthy treats! If you are in Perth, you must check out her Facebook page.
  • The Pursuit of Wellness - Brooke believes in healthy, low-tox living and this has lead her to start a blog and coaching business. She teaches others about health and wellness. Brooke's Instagram is the best place to check her out. She shares beautiful shots of healthy food, natural beauty products and genuine inspiration.
  • Triangle of Bears - Gem makes the most exquisite pieces of jewellery and I am lucky enough to own a couple (and have a couple more on the Christmas list!). Gem's pieces are vegan, cruelty free and largely made from recycled materials. This makes them extra special.
  • Downshiftology - Lisa left her job in the corporate world to focus on her love of wellness and food. She has recently started her own YouTube channel, which I am absolutely adoring! Lisa also blogs about her travel adventures and I gotta say, food AND travel... I think she is onto a winner!

5. JOIN A Club, Group OR Organisation

Were you a Girl Guide or a Scout when you were a child? Perhaps you were on a netball team? Or you were part of a group that collected trading cards? Joining some kind of group, club or organisation can be really fulfilling. Especially if you are keen to build relationships with people who share the same interests. As an adult, you'll find that there are a lot more options available to you than there were in your childhood. Since the internet was invented, it has also become loads easier to connect with people!

Here are some ideas of groups or clubs that you can join:

  • A sports team. "Here if you need" might become your favourite catch phrase as you bond with your team mates over the desire to win.
  • A gym or fitness group. Health and fitness brings people together as you can share tips, tricks and stories about your techniques and successes.
  • Local meetups. Yep, there is even a website for it! You can join groups and attend events that are specific to your own interests. 
  • A networking group. Check your local area, but there are often networking groups that allow you to attend events and "chew the fat". 
  • A book club. Check in at your local library or book shop to find the details of local book clubs that might pique your interest. There are also some great book clubs online.
  • Facebook groups. Whilst not in person, Facebook groups are great for building relationships, learning and challenging yourself. Hit me up if you want to know some of my faves!

I'd love to know if you decide to take up one of these ideas in your search for career fulfilment. Please keep me updated! 

Thinking about starting something on the side of your day job, but not in the mood for a hustle? Here are 5 side projects that can help you find genuine fulfilment - no hustle required! ~ Pop Your Career


About the Author


Bec McFarland is an experienced HR practitioner, manager, career coach and the creator of Pop Your Career. She delights in sharing practical, straight to the point career advice, spending time with her family and eating Mexican food.

Check Out Our Latest Articles

What are employers for your screening job candidates?
Two women standing together looking down at work on a desk. Text overlays the image reading "what are hard skills and how can they help your career?"