‘What happens when you can no longer maintain your side hustle?’
When I typed this statement into Google, it was in a last-ditch attempt to find someone who was willing to share their own secrets of how to manage a side hustle alongside a full-time job and upload these gold nuggets of info onto Google. Instead I was met with articles titled “Three side hustles you can start today!” and “Millennials who are killing their side hustles”, which left me feeling somewhat deflated.
Let me start at the beginning. My side hustle grew from wanting a creative outlet, having spent the last couple years in insurance. I had had the urge to build something that was truly my own and to challenge myself in ways that I was no longer experiencing from my 9-5. I taught myself how to build a website, the basics of digital marketing and networked like a crazy person until I had a digital magazine with a small but decent following. Over time, this grew and so did the opportunities that came with it. It led to me quitting my job in finance and after some time, landing my dream job.
This dream job combined all the things I was passionate about, in an industry that I had worked so hard to become a part of, but the hours were not 9-5, Monday-Friday. It became very apparent to me that on landing this dream job that it would command my total commitment and that there’d only be minimal time (if any) for my side hustle.
A lot of people start a side hustle to earn extra money alongside their normal salaries to attribute to bills, their saving-pots or even just to have some more pocket money to play with at the weekends. My side hustle was not created with a commercial objective, rather it was a labour of love and a passion. It wasn’t profitable, but I also didn’t really need it to be.
What it was, however, was time consuming! And whilst I loved the work, living off of three hours sleep (5 am starts, 2am finishes-joy) just wasn’t sustainable and it certainly wouldn’t be in my new, intense dream job.
Suddenly, I was met with a lot of anxiety. My choices were: carry on doing this with the hope of it making money on the side but knowing that I wouldn’t have the time or energy to put into it OR to admit defeat and call it a day. The former made me feel sick with nerves.
The latter broke my heart.
Most rational thinkers would simply say: Is it making money? Is the effort you put in less than your ROI? If not, call it quits. But that’s easy to say when you haven’t been the one to put your blood, sweat and tears into something that you love. It is because of my side hustle that I was given as many of the opportunities that I have had- including said dream job.
Here is the thought process I went through on deciding whether to quit my side hustle or not and I hope it helps anyone else in a similar situation…
I suppose the first thing to figure out is: Is your side hustle a means to an end, or an end in itself? Meaning, what are you doing this for? Are you doing it to reach a goal, get your dream job or make X amount of money? Or are you doing it simply because you want to, not because it will help you achieve something? Knowing this is essential to knowing what you want to use your side-hustle for and where you see it going eventually.
Getting A Partner
The next thing to consider is, can you get a partner? Is there someone that has been passionate about your side hustle and keen to be a part of it? Then have a conversation with them to see if there’s a part of the business that they could take over, which would free up a lot of time for you.
Sometimes, we’re all too keen to say yes to every opportunity that comes our way but really think about that invitation, collaboration or feature and what you’re getting out of it. If it doesn’t serve you, then politely decline and put your efforts into something that will.
Manage Your Time
This can seem like a slap in the face when you’re working two jobs, running on no sleep and barely have time to answer emails but really analyse your daily routine and see if there’s an area you can cut back on or work smarter at. For example, do you tend to use your time mindlessly scrolling through your social media feeds? Or is there a way of changing your routine so it becomes more efficient? If you want to eliminate distractions and increase productivity I recommend app Flipd.
Analyse your side hustle, the tasks you do, and what brings in the least ROI. Is there a way you could do the tasks better without putting in as much effort? For example, if the articles you’re writing are more time consuming and bring in less engagement than the same content in a 1 minute video, then perhaps it’s time to cut that channel down and to focus on the other one instead? Use analytics to see what your most engaging content is and focus on those areas.
It’s OK to Call It a Day
And last but not least, if you really can’t maintain your side hustle and it starts impacting your day-to-day efficiency or your mental health then it’s OK to let it go. When I first considered this option, the main word that popped into my head was failure. Followed by thoughts of what everyone would think of me. That I was weak, that I couldn’t handle it, that I was a sell out? Ultimately, you must ignore that voice in your head telling you to worry about anyone else.
Your health and happiness must always come first; you’ll know the right decision for you.
Shani Higgs was the founder and Editor in Chief of First Scoop however recently landed her dream job for an upcoming start up in the food and drink industry. Shani is in the midst of creating an amazing new podcast with a secret host- we’re looking forward to listening it!