One of the things that keeps many a writer that is interested in writing a novel clickity-clacking on our keyboards long after our spouses and children have gone to bed every night is knowing that winning the “literary lottery” does happen. You know the names of those who’ve done that very thing; they are the household names of the literary set: Dan Brown, James Patterson, John Grisham. But what you may not know is that most of them weren’t fortunate enough to be able to solely focus on their writing as they toiled away in obscurity. Most of them had day jobs; Dan Brown was an English teacher, James Patterson was the CEO of an ad agency, John Grisham was - you guessed it - a lawyer. Writing was their “side hustle.” It was the thing they did on the side of their main job or profession to either supplement their income or to chase their passion.
In today’s economy, one that is more and more dependent on freelancers and self-employed people, having a side hustle is becoming de rigueur. According to a 2016 CareerBuilder survey, more than one-third of working Millennials has a side hustle. While many Millennials start side hustles for financial reasons, there are other reasons they take them on as well. According to a recent Deloitte survey, “66 percent of millennials expect to leave their job by 2020. A few of the reasons for this are insufficient pay, lack of purpose in their work, inability to develop their skills, and desire to discover more outside the bounds of a traditional job.”
To some, this mass exodus of Millennials from their job posts might sound alarming. It might make those of us in older generations cry words like, “Slacker!” and “Entitled!” But if we look closer, the Millennials could be on to something. If the majority of that generation leaves their current jobs to ramp up their side hustles or begin new businesses altogether, than that will make them the most entrepreneurial generation yet. If we’re not part of that generation, that doesn’t mean we can’t ride this wave of entrepreneurship. Whether we want extra income, try our hand at a new business, or just want to express some talent or ability that we aren’t expressing in our current jobs, we all can have a side hustle. However, we also need to realize that to make a side hustle successful, there are certain steps to take and even a few rules to follow. I recently sat down with Susie Moore, a life coach and author of What If It Does Work Out?: Turn your passion into cash, make an impact in the world and live the life you were born to for her thoughts on how we can all start and manage our side hustles successfully.
We’ve all been there. It’s Monday morning and the boss is already griping, the interruptions won’t stop and the to-do list is beyond full. No way can we last another day doing this, let along another week. It’s time to tell the boss to take this job and shove it. We’ve got an idea for a great business or for the next best kitchen gadget and no more putting off that dream. The rest of our lives start RIGHT NOW!
Moore would call that making a big mistake. “While it’s a horrible feeling when you’re in that place at work, quitting your job to start a business isn’t practical. You need to have something in place before making the shift,” Moore said. In other words, we need a side hustle. And once we know what our side hustle will be, we need to make sure that it makes money from day one. We can’t let our day job or other revenue source sustain the side hustle. Because that isn’t a job, that’s a hobby. “People that start a side hustle waste their time on the wrong stuff. They get caught up in designing a beautiful business card, or a website that looks just right. What you need is money coming in; you need a good product or service that is in demand and a business that’s making money. No one wants to work with someone who’s desperate for clients,” said Moore.
Once the side hustle starts to make enough money to sustain your lifestyle, then you can start thinking about the transition away from your day job. “The decision can either be a financial or intuitive one that can come very naturally. Life is dynamic, so a time goal may not work, it’s more related to how confident you are that the hustle will sustain an income,” Moore said. Some people never transition away from their day job and do just fine with having both. Having the side hustle actually reinvigorates them at their day job.
Follow the rules
While Moore says that keeping the day job allows us the flexibility to try any side hustle we think will work, she does have five rules that we need to follow to ensure that a side hustle has the greatest chance of success:
1. Start with an idea: “You don’t need money, you don’t need qualifications, you need an idea. All big things start with an idea, things evolves from that.”
2. Community - “Whether it’s an online community, classmates in the same program, or authors from whom you gain inspiration, you need people around you that understand you, guide and support you. Guidance can come from many places.”
3. Understand your market - “Understand how people in your field make it work. How do they get paid? How do they work with clients? How do they explain how they work? While they might be your competition, remember that no one can do the same specific thing you can do.”
4. Get a system - “You need a system to reach your goal. The system must consist of action items based on clarity, consistency, and frequency. “I want to make $2,000 a month.” Ok, how are you going to do that? Be specific.”
5. Time - “Not having enough time is the biggest excuse to not starting a side hustle. Make it priority; being too busy is a keyword for fear. The average American watches 33 hours of TV a week. Cut that in half and that’s plenty of time for you get your hustle going. Also, hours spent working on your hustle should be scheduled, like a doctor’s appointment or client meeting. They are non-negotiable.”
Finally, Moore suggests that in today’s economy, side hustles are a necessity. “Having one revenue stream in your life is risky. A business you run in your free time using your different talents and capabilities allows flexibility to pursue whatever you’re passionate about while keeping your day job.” If you don’t know where to get started with a side hustle, Moore has some great advice. “A hustle is the sweet spot of what you love, what you’re good at and what people will pay for. All three need to be there in order for the hustle to be successful.”
For more information on Susie Moore’s Side Hustle Academy or her other work, visit http://susie-moore.com.pages.ontraport.net/SideHustleAcademy2017 and www.susie-moore.com.