We call it Side Hustle but let’s face it, we wish it was our main job. I am talking about that passion that we are trying to get paid for. This interest we have for a topic that we wish to monetize one day. The business we are running from the laundry room turned office.
We are in an era where side projects are less of a hobby but a great opportunity to get mo’ dolla’ in the bank account. To pay off past debts. To be able to indulge in our not-so-secret purchasing frenzy or to get financial freedom.
I remember thinking after reading “A Story of A Fuck Off Fund” by Paulette Perhach: “I need to get some money on the side”. I then realized that unless I was actually getting paid more there was no way for me to do that.
The solution has two parts: I need to learn more skills to get a better paid-job and I need to find more ways to make money. The first part was sorta easy: find courses to attend and study hard after work. It meant investing some money and hoping the investment would pay off (spoiler alert: it is). It is working so I have actually made it a priority to invest in more learning and keep improving my skills.
The second part involved making my passion (writing dum dum dum), into a valued asset. Here is how I am trying to make this work:
SHARE YOUR TALENT
I have always been quite secretive about this part of my life. Mostly due to a lack of confidence. I am French, I write in English… I am 29 so who cares about my opinion, right? I have travelled a bit and I am living abroad but I wouldn’t classify my life as worthy to share.
But when passionate about something, it’s worth showing to people why we care so much about it. We can’t be that bad at something we enjoy doing. This is not be the best article ever written but one person can take something positive out of it, and that’s enough for me to share.
PERFECTION IS THE ENEMY OF GOOD
[Insert Shia’s ‘Just Do It’ gif]
The first step is the hardest. I thought for years that what I write would never be good enough. And that it would never lead me anywhere. Thinking about what could go wrong was actually keeping me from doing anything. And a writer, successful or not, writes. No matter how right or wrong I am about my future career, the most important step to take was to start writing.
While unemployed, I challenged myself to write a novel in a month (book). And I did. The novel is terrible but that’s beyond the point. Doing it once pushed me to keep writing.
I then moved to poetry: I don’t like poetry but writing poetry is my version of the daily vlog for a movie-maker. It’s a synthesized format of what I enjoy doing but don’t have the time to do. What matters is that some writing is getting done. Like this article.
USE YOUR PERSONAL TIME (this is personal after all)
I am writing this while on my lunch break. I had to eat in 15 minutes to make sure I can use the rest of the time to write. Time is a luxury. I do have a personal life (thanks for asking), but the side hustle is non-negotiable.
Lunch breaks, commuting, evenings, waiting times: the minutes have to be used to the max to fit a side hustle into the game. We need to be selfish with whom we share it or what gets to be done when we are free.
Yes, it requires carrying my laptop everywhere, eating fast and skipping a few parties. It is nothing compares to the satisfaction of getting something done about what I enjoy the most.
TREAT YOUR SIDE JOB AS YOUR REAL JOB
It’s not always easy to get down to the previous point. It’s hard to separate private life from a hobby turning into a full-time job.
It has to feel like it is a priority. I have found two ways of going pro with writing:
Invest and get help
When I first published my book, I did everything. The writing, the cover, the marketing. Needless to say that I’m ok doing only one them. So I decided to hire someone to work on the cover for me. A professional. Investing in my side hustle brought me more in return.
It requires trust but remember: even Wonder Woman needed help to win the war. Someone is looking to make their side hustle a true thing too and they might have the right skill for your project.
Working from the couch works too. But there are times when you need to feel serious about a project and even coffee shops don’t cut it. See if there is an affordable coworking space near you that you can go some evenings or weekends. It’s an extra spending. But it can motivates to actually work on that second professional life and make it more official.