The Uncorked Conversation


Ep #28: Managing + Growing a Thriving Side Hustle

Many of us receive a calling to do something more than our day job offers us at some point on our path. But changing directions mid-career can be difficult.

A great way to tip your toe in new waters without quitting your job or assuming a big financial risk is the “side hustle.” Pursuing a side hustle on the side of a day job or other main effort can be a great way to earn more money, pursue a passion project, or build a business.

Side hustles are the new rage, but what are they really? This episode teaches you what a side hustle is and what it is not. You’ll learn whether or not you’re a good candidate to start a side hustle and why.

Side hustles are about much more than making money. A thriving side hustle can be the first step in using your core gifts to serve your ideal audience in new and exciting ways.

In today’s episode we explore:

  • the difference between side hustle and hobby,
  • the big benefits you receive from a side hustle, and
  • how to build a thriving side hustle without burning out.

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The Uncorked Conversation Podcast with Allyson Scammell

Ep #28: Managing + Growing a Thriving Side Hustle

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You are listening to The Uncorked Conversation podcast with Allyson Scammell, episode number 28.

Hello, and welcome to The Uncorked Conversation, a podcast for soul-guided, passion-filled women entrepreneurs who want to uncork big magic in life and business without burning out. We’ll get to the truth of how to uncork our core gifts, the ones we keep hidden inside, and how to infuse those gifts into our personal and professional life in a way that feels like magic. We’ll also uncover how to truly experience the joy of the journey through smart time management and planning. I’m your host Allyson Scammell. Let’s uncork.

Good day to you. Thank you so much for tuning in. Today’s episode is all about the side hustle. I’ve noticed several of my clients right now are growing side hustles, and I myself had one for 11 years before I went full time as a business owner. There’s so much goodness to having a side hustle, but there are also some pitfalls, which we’ll talk about. So in today’s episode we’re going to explore what a side hustle is and what it is not, the benefits you can receive from a side hustle, and how to build a thriving side hustle without burning out.

So what is a side hustle? There are a lot of definitions out there. SideHustleNation.com defines it simply as a way to earn extra money apart from your day job. In the book Side Hustle by Chris Guillebeau, he says a side hustle is not a part-time job, it is not the gig economy. It is an asset that works for you. In other words, you don’t work for it. I see side hustles as something you pursue and feel passionately about on the side of a main effort that you do in exchange for something. And let me tell you what I mean by that.

First, you don’t have to have a full-time job to have a side hustle. You can be a stay-at-home mom who has a side hustle that you pursue during nap times and in the evenings. And also, you need not sell your side hustle, but the hustle implies that there is an exchange. So the exchange could be you’re learning, so you’re doing something for free for someone and getting feedback from them or testimonials. Or you’re doing an in-kind exchange, you’re bartering services with someone. Or you’re indeed getting paid money for the product or service you are providing.

If there is no exchange going on, then indeed what’s happening is you have a hobby. You are creating something, doing something that you love for the love of it, for your personal growth, for your joy. And that is a hobby. That normally is something you do also on the side.

How do you know if you want to go side hustle or hobby? Not everyone should sell things or try to sell things that they feel passionately about making or doing. Sometimes just having a hobby for the love and joy is enough. But here’s the thing. If you are creating something of value to someone else, energetically there needs to be an exchange there for things to remain balanced, so you should receive something in return for that. Sometimes gratitude is enough, but often it’s not. And so if you’re creating something that you feel passionately about, that is going to have a lot of value. And you, as the creator, deserve something in return for that time and effort. And if you aren’t asking for anything in return, it could be that you’re not valuing enough what it is that you are creating.

Also, selling your side hustle, asking for money, asking for something in kind, that requires a whole new element, that requires a whole new set of skills. Getting on social media, drafting sales pages, sales emails, having sales conversations. That’s a whole new game that you may just not be interested in doing, not interested in learning. And if that’s the case, if going that whole sales route feels out of alignment from your heart, and it’s not fear coming from your head that may include some limiting beliefs, then you may want to just have the hobby and not the hustle. But if you’re feeling called, if you’re feeling nudged to create something valuable and receive something beyond gratitude for it and to receive something like money or something else of equal value to money, then I think a side hustle may be what’s calling your name.

There are a lot of benefits to the side hustle. First, a side hustle takes the financial pressure off. So if you’re in a situation where you have a day job and that is your main effort, then you have got a steady source of income. Because when you start a business, there is so much to learn if you’ve never been in business before, and there’s such a learning curve, and it really, really does take time to get momentum going and to get consistent income coming in. So if you don’t have to worry about that consistent income coming in and you can just focus on your passion project, your creative pursuit without the needling worries that you have to earn enough money to get rent or to pay the electricity bill or whatever.

When I look back at my side hustle, when I first got called to do something entrepreneurial, there’s absolutely no way I could have quit my job. I mean, I was single at the time. I didn’t have money coming from any other source. There’s no way I could’ve just said, “Oh, I’m going to quit my job and start a business.” I would have went bankrupt. I would have been moving back in with my parents. So I used my day job to fuel my side hustle, which is something I really, really recommend to people if they are feeling called for something more.

If you’re getting the nudge to do something different from your current main effort, whatever that main effort is, and that gives you time and space to play, create, experiment, and see what works, and also, importantly, build up that confidence. If it’s a new effort, I don’t care what it is or how much experience you have, if it’s something new, it requires a bit of time to build up the confidence to say, “This product is awesome. I can create this service for you. This service is going to change your life.” Whatever it is, you need a little bit of time and space and room to grow all of that.

And with that in mind, another amazing benefit from a side hustle is it gives you clarity. If you aren’t happy with your current main effort, your current day job, maybe you’ve been home with the kids and you’re feeling nudged to go back to work, but you don’t want to go back full time, you just want to go back part-time or you want to experiment around, but you’re not sure what you want. You want to create something, but you’re not sure. You want to sell something, but you’re not sure. A side hustle, again, allows you to engage in the creative process. And if you’ve been a listener of this podcast for a while, you’ve heard me say that the creative process is the best, most efficient way to get clarity on what you really want.

And the creative process is tipping your toe by creating something, something small, offering it up to someone that you created it for, seeing how it felt, what you need to adjust, tweak, and refine, and then doing it again. And that is the creative process for anything, any product, any service that you could think about selling to people. That is how you get clarity — creating something, offering it up to the person it is intended for, so an ideal audience, seeing how it felt, tweaking, refining, and doing it again. And if you do that enough times, you will get clarity as to what it is you want to offer, how you want to offer it, and to whom. And again, the side hustle is a great way to go through that process without the financial pressure to get the clarity.

And last but not least, and certainly I can tell you from my experience that a side hustle’s a great thing to do if you are unhappy with your day job or you’re unhappy with your main effort in the day, whatever that main effort is. And I had a great day job, I really did, but I just had outgrown it. I was out of alignment to it, so it didn’t matter how fabulous the people were or how interesting the projects where, I had outgrown it, and I was getting so called to do something entrepreneurial, there’s just nothing my day job could have given me that would’ve satiated me long enough.

I had to break free, and that side hustle that I pursued saved me. It saved me so much because I got out of bed looking forward to my side hustle, and it gave me everything I told you about. It took the financial pressure off, and it gave me the clarity because, in my side hustles that I pursued for 11 years … I should say, it was not one hustle, it was many hustles. I started out wanting to launch a line of women’s suits, business suits. Then I moved to wanting to be a writer, and I wrote two books. I wrote a memoir and a novel. Then little by little I started a blog, and the blog eventually led me to life coaching, which led me to what I’m doing today, really passionate about helping people find their core gifts and infusing them in their life and business to help them up level their skills, sales, and satisfaction. And I only, only, only got that clarity from all those years with the side hustle. I’d never be where I am today without the side hustle, that I am sure of.

And I think it’s important to mention here that I didn’t ask for money for any of my hustles until about year nine into my 11 years of side hustling. But what I received from year one to nine was lots of feedback, testimonials, experimentation, and that was extremely valuable for me, but I also outgrew it. I got to the point where I just didn’t want to do things for free anymore. It was no longer serving me, so that’s when I moved to asking for money in return to the value I was creating.

Let’s move on to how to gain momentum on your side hustle without burning out because we are born with a finite amount of bandwidth. So anytime you do something on the side of anything, you are prone to overexerting yourself and overworking. So yes, certainly something I did. Especially if you start to get really passionate about the side hustle, and the side hustle actually does start to get momentum, it then starts to suck up more of your energy. But then wait, you still have this day job or this day effort that’s also requiring a lot of energy. So at some point you’re going to have to rethink and re-shift, but really when you think about it, that’s a good problem to have.

Let’s back up a little bit. How can you really start to build a thriving side hustle? And I have really what I believe to be the secret sauce of a side hustle. And if you do this, and I’ve talked about this in previous episodes, so I think repeating oneselves on really, really important points is a worthwhile effort. If you do this, you will produce more with less time in but more output than you can imagine. And that is … Drum roll. Consistency.

If you are consistent and you carve out time, ideally every day if you can, and it doesn’t have to be a lot of time. You carve out a little time every day, and you put boundaries around that time, and you say, “This is my side hustle time. Nobody’s inside it. I don’t care. No kids, no husbands, no dogs, no neighbors, no parents, no friends. This is my side hustle time.” And if you do that every day you will be absolutely insanely amazed by how much you can produce.

When I was side hustling, I woke up every morning, and I trained myself to do this. I’m a morning person, but at the time I wasn’t going to bed early, so I wasn’t getting up early, and I trained myself to wake up earlier, which is something you can do. And I worked on my side hustle every day from 5:30 to 7:00 Monday through Friday. This was before I had kids, and I was a single woman, so hey, if that sounds completely impossible, then I fully admit that I was single at the time, but I had a super, super full-time day job. I was working huge hours a week. I was traveling all the time internationally. So you know everybody, whether you have kids, no kids, whatever, we’ve all got a lot on our plate.

So that was something I did 90 minutes a day, and then normally on the weekends I actually went for more than 90 minutes. I’d usually do like three hours. But even if I didn’t do the three hours, I would try to find 90 minutes a day to pursue my passion project. And they were so focused because I knew I only had 90 minutes, that was it, and I focused intensely in that time, and I produced so much more than I was producing in my day job that I was at for eight to 10 hours a day.

So it is amazing how much small, concentrated, focused, and consistent effort can produce for you. That is what you ideally need to do to get momentum on your side hustle. So carve out time. If it can be the same time every day, that is best. If it can’t, then that’s okay, too. Each and every day, put very sturdy boundaries up around that time and allow it to be your very focused side hustle creative time.

The other thing to do to gain momentum on the side hustle is to be very clear about your end state. Where is it you ideally want to go? And that is something I think we really do when we do have our own business, and we really are transitioning to our business is our primary source of income. But it’s easy to treat a side hustle as a hobby and be like, “Oh, well, I’ve got my day job. I’ve got a steady paycheck coming in, so the side hustle’s just something I dabble with.” Well, if you really are serious about the side hustle and you feel really called to create whatever that is, then don’t treat it like a hobby. Don’t be like, “Oh, okay, maybe this week I’ll focus on it, next week I won’t.” Treat it as a serious hustle. Say, “This is my side hustle.”

And so in that you want to do things that you would do as if it was a full-time business. And first and foremost is define your end state. But because it is a side hustle and you have a finite amount of bandwidth, you need to be realistic about the end state. Really consider how much time you have per day, whether it’s five minutes or 90 minutes or whatever, and think of over a period of time, say 12 months, where do I realistically, although thinking big and pushing yourself, don’t be too safe with it, but also be realistic about where you can be in 12 months time. What does that look like? Visualize it. Do you have a website up and running? Have you run workshops? Do you have your product complete, and it’s selling? Do you have a marketing plan going? What are the components that are in place and running and functioning for you, ideally, in your visualization in, say, 12 months time.

And one pitfall that I fell in when I was pursuing my side hustles is that my end state that I had in mind was way, way unrealistic. I was visualizing all of this crazy success that, looking back, and I don’t ever, ever, ever want anyone to think small or not think big, it’s not that at all, but it really was unrealistic what I thought I would be able to achieve with my side hustle. And I want to say that I use the word “realistic” very carefully because I think that all things are realistic and everything is possible and nothing is not realistic at the end of the day. I mean, we can really achieve anything that we believe we can achieve.

However, I think that looking back in my case, had I just been clearer regarding what it is I really wanted to achieve in a timeframe given all the demands on my time and how much time I had to grow my side hustle and all the new things I had to learn, I think I would have avoided a lot of feelings of defeat, failure, unnecessary limiting beliefs that really did block me on many points in my path. So that’s why I’m saying, in the end state, you want to walk that nice balance of thinking big, pushing your edges and considering and being clear about how much time you have to grow and your learning curve and all of those things.