Let’s play a game! Raise your hand if you’re working a job in a field that doesn’t match the one your degree is in. Now raise your hand if you have a blog or business that aligns with your passion and/or education, in addition to your day gig? If both hands are up, you’re not alone. When I started The Stylish Standout, I was working in finance as corporate trainer — nothing like the fashion-editor life I lead now — even though I studied journalism and knew I wanted to work in magazines since high school.
Life is full of detours and few of us are able to immediately walk off the graduation stage doing what we dreamed of. The good news is that for a lot of us — myself included! — there’s success waiting to be realized within these second jobs or hobbies — aka “side hustles” — and who knows: It may be time for you to pour more resources into it.
But before you throw away time you can’t get back and money better spent elsewhere, click through for a list of five considerations to marinate, along with a few tips if the idea of owning a small business isn’t for you.
1) Your side hustle is making you money
Sure it’s true that the most successful, affluent business owners would probably say they’d do what they do for free (and, honestly speaking, they most likely did work for free in the early days), but there’s nothing wrong with using your gift and craft to earn a living. But how do you know when to quit your day job?
* Nights and weekends are no longer enough Run a consulting business that attracts more clients than you can manage when with a traditional nine-to-five? May be time to focus on nurturing that growth and scaling your brand.
* You know you can make it on your own If you’ve paid your dues at a larger corporation and have the knowledge, confidence and network of contacts to seamlessly step out on your own, do it!
* The business has staying power When the proverbial 15 minutes of fame are over, can you sustain your brand with supplemental revenue streams (books, public speaking, sponsored content), additional product offerings or services. The most profitable businesses make money “when you’re sleeping” — if yours already can, step out and go next level.
2) Your side hustle has positioned you as an expert
Consumers love listening to people who represent the best of what they do, no matter the trade. And if you’ve invested the time to master your line of work to know the ins and outs, there’s an audience willing to monetize your opinions and expertise. How do you become an expert? Earn the respect of industry influencers with your work (there’s still nothing like word-of-mouth endorsements!), meet your audience where they are by creating shareable social and multimedia content to reach them, and keep your finger on the pulse of your industry to anticipate the next big thing.
3) Your lifestyle allows you to devote more time to your side hustle
Whether planned or unplanned, a change in circumstance — job loss, promotion with more flexible hours and income, marriage, et cetera — can positively impact your burgeoning brand. Time well spent translates into money, so use the extra hours to rewrite your business plan, attend a few networking events, implement a social strategy to promote your business and extend its reach to new audiences, or take a few online workshops to sharpen your skills.
4) You have help with your side hustle
It’s true: There’s strength in numbers. And if you’re able to attract and more importantly, employ) an extra set of hands on deck, then you’ve inherently doubled your productivity. But be warned: All help isn’t good help. Vet your team members to confirm they share your values and visions. And look for a supporting cast that diminishes your blind spots and amplifies your strengths to positively impact your bottom line.
5) Your side hustle makes you happy
Think about the tasks you hate completing: Those are the ones you avoid at all costs, right? Now consider the on-the-side gig that you’re passionate about. You’re probably willing to sacrifice a few late nights, early mornings and weekend brunches to work on it. You’re most likely to keep pushing even when your inner circle may not see the vision you do. Trust us: Projects that inspire that kind of passion are hard to find, lightning in a bottle, as the saying goes. So if you’ve found yours, maximize its full potential.
WAIT, WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE (AND DON’T WANT!) A SIDE HUSTLE?
That’s perfectly OK! Entrepreneurship and holding more than one job aren’t for everyone. Consider these three second-gig alternatives to create a well-rounded life, on and off the clock.
Whether your cause is eliminating racial injustice or fighting for the rights of women and children around the world, there’s a organization that can use your time, money and engagement. Don’t know where to start? Hit me up on our Twitter @StylishStandout with your area or interest and location, and I'll help you find the resources you need.
I love my friends who work “normal” jobs because they are the best hosts. Invite your squad over for cocktails and Netflix binges or throw a holiday-themed get together to bring your circle together and remind them that there’s more to life than work.
Go abroad or explore places stateside that you’ve always wanted to visit. Broadening your appreciation for different cultures and lifestyles is not only enjoyable but it also shapes your worldview for the better.