How I turned a side hustle into a full-time gig (and how you can too).
You should know by now that I'm all about open-ness, honesty and sharing my imperfect journey – and nothing could be more imperfect than my self-employed journey, lemme tell ye.
It already feels long and arduous, even though I know I've not even really started yet! 😁But omigosh am I in-love with it. In fact, I think that's kinda what it is. It's like a romantic relationship that starts off all hyper and bounding with energy and enthusiasm, and it evolves into something slower, deeper and more connected...that then also takes true grit, patience, compromise and commitment to work your way through the challenges it throws up!
So what would you say if I told you my imperfect journey to self-employment started in 2008, and I'm only just going full-time with it the year I'm writing this? 2018. Imperfect right?! 💁🏻And why am I telling you this? Well there's two reasons – 1) I want to share something I'm going through right now so you can watch/share/gain value from my experiences. 2) So you can see the true reality of entrepreneurship – that 'overnight' successes are a total myth (one in a bazillion).
So yup. 10 years.
Now that 10 years has been filled with A LOT of twists and turns and detours and diversions. What with moving to Dublin while only knowing one person (and going into full-time jobs to make friends and meet people), to supporting my husband through a career change, buying and selling houses and moving back to the UK, to choosing to start a family and changing the shape of my business as a result – a big part of my imperfect journey has been down to having to adapt to 'life' simply taking its course. And this will (and should) be a big part of your journey too. Life is in session honey! Don't ever stop living it.
Now I'm not gonna lie to you, some of the twists, turns, detours and diversions have been challenging for sure. Especially in regards to testing my resilience and patience. I mean, following my quarter-life crisis, I quit my original 'dream job' to build a business in 2008, and am only just going full-time on said business in 2018, I'd say that's a fair patience test in itself! 😇But I'm also so insanely grateful for these tests, because they've continually and repeatedly made me question what I'm doing, and have continually and repeatedly shown me that what I want is worth waiting for. They've reinforced what it is that I want, and I think that's a really key takeaway for you; the challenges you face as an entrepreneur are a good thing.
So yeah, granted it's been a 10 year, higgledy-piggledy road 😂 but how have I actually turned a side-hustle into a full-time gig? What are the secrets you need to unlock in me? Well I'll tell ye!
First and foremost, you need bags o' motivation and determination.
By the very nature of a side-hustle, it's not going to be able to be your priority. That's why it's on the side. And that can feel torturous sometimes when it's where your passion lies 😩 But sucking it up and staying motivated and determined in spite of that is crucial. It can be ridiculously easy to quit when it gets tough. It can be ridiculously easy to just wanna enjoy your mornings, evenings and weekends like every other normal person. So yep, you've gotta really want this. You've gotta be a self-starter who's willing to wake up before the world, go to bed after the world, and work when it feels like everyone else is playing. For me, that involved 5am laptop sessions before my daughter woke (including weekends), laptop clacking after hours while the rest of the house was sleeping, weekend cramming through naps – and yeah basically making a choice to work on my side hustle at every opportunity.
Now let me just be clear, I'm not advocating the whole 'hustle' mentality where you work yourself into the ground to the point of collapse – you absolutely have to allow yourself time to live and rest. But what I am advocating, is accepting that part of this side-hustle process, is a whole heap of sacrifice. Sacrifice in terms of your lifestyle, and sacrifice in terms of your timeline – by understanding and accepting that with only having brief windows of opportunity to play with, it will and should take time.
You need an addiction to education.
Your own education that is. Always being keen to learn and expand my knowledge has been a huge part of my journey. And that's ranged from books, podcasts, blogs and vlogs to paid online and distance learning programs. And d'ye know what? I think when I reached the turning point of actually investing in myself financially, was the point I really chose to take my future, and my business seriously. It was no longer a side-hustle-hobby-vibe. It was a real turning point in my story. If I wanted to create a lifestyle and a business like the people I admire, I had to emulate their strategy 👉🏻 investing in themselves. So when you reach the juncture that investing in yourself becomes as second nature as investing in your equipment, your product or your team, you're well on your way to being a full-time gig-er 🙌🏻
You've gotta be willing to shout about it.
Now this was a huge hurdle for me – 1) I'm an introvert, and 2) being braggy and shouty is the opposite to my natural state of being. So the process of me learning that I had to state to the universe exactly what I wanted [and repeatedly] to give me a slither of a chance of getting it, came along with a lot of resistance, I'm not gonna lie. In 2013, I was meekly and briefly whispering about a £3.25 greeting card that I'd designed once a fortnight, in 2016 I was writing my blog under an anonymous pseudonym once a week, to then in 2017, I was shouting about a Kickstarter campaign multiple times a day that required £17,500 of funding! That's progress right?! 😂
And that progress came from the realisation that there's soooo much noise out there, you absolutely have to be willing to shout about what you have to say/sell if you want this to be your full-time thang. You can't be shy/secret/apologetic about it. I mean, just in terms of reach via emails or social media, a super-tiny percentage of your audience get to see what you're saying. And then when that super-tiny percentage actually get to see it, they might be just jumping in the car to go somewhere, or their child might've just puked everywhere, or their mobile phone battery might've just died, or whatever! The point is, even if you do reach the right people, it might not be the right time for them to take action on whatever you're asking them to do. But! ☝🏻 after the 23rd or 24th shout or poke, it just might be. Sooooo...you've gotta be willing to shout about it. A lot 😇
You've gotta be as enthusiastic about your day job as your side-hustle.
Now I know it's natural to sit and seethe through your day job, counting down the hours, minutes, seconds until you can save all your good vibes to work on 'your passion', but if you despise the work that's currently paying your bills (and you keep reminding yourself of that erry day you're doing it), you're heaping yourself with a whole lotta negative energy to take home with you. And what does that do? It depletes the good energy you were saving up for your side-hustle! Which basically serves to help you make a pants, lacklustre job of both.
But if you fill your day job with positivity, enthusiasm and good vibes, even though you know it's not your 'forever', you're empowering yourself with a whole heap of good energy to take with you into your side-hustle. You need to create positive energy to use positive energy. And trust me, it's way way easier this way 😊
You need the moola.
So let's be real now. You need money, I need money. We all need money. It's a beautiful thing and it allows us to do so much wonderful stuff in our lives – for other people, and for ourselves. And without it, trying to live and run a business full-time can be damn stressful. So before you leap from your side-hustle into a full-time gig, you need the moola.
Now there are some people I know that skipped the side-hustle phase and dove straight into job-quitting and full-time-business-ing, (and more fecking power to them tbh!) 🙌🏻But for me, a massive part of the transition of side-hustling to full-timing, was waiting for that nest egg to build, to free my mind a little; to feel like I'm able to go forward making decisions based on wisdom not necessity.
How you classify that is totally subjective mind – whether that's from having 3-6 months of savings (by that I mean, 3-6 months – or more – of being able to cover your bills so you give yourself a bit of time to get established); or maybe that's from already having enough revenue to sustain yourself from your side-hustle, albeit a small amount.
And that is the most accurate description of the last 10 years of my life tbh! And particularly the last five. Now to see if the rest of my imperfect life plays out ay 🤞🏻 I hope this has been of some use to you and has given you hope that if you stick with it, stay focused and do the ground work, it is possible to make the jump!
Now before I go, I just wanna dedicate this post (and give a big shout-out) to DD and SM if you ever read this – for all your unfaltering support and love over the past eight years, you're the absolute bomb.com...and more ❤️️ wuv yeeeew xo
So tell me, what was your biggest takeaway from this and did you find any of it of value?! 👏🏻 Let me know in the comments below! Until next weekend sexypants 💋