(Click below for the audio version of the post)
What is a side hustle? Basically, it’s a part-time job beyond your full-time one. And yes, you can use it to basically change your life.
It certainly did mine.
Years ago, I remember feeling stuck in my career in Human Resources. I accepted my first corporate job as an HR Officer in an IT firm, and I sorta just followed that ladder. Eight years after, I was in the midst of a full-blown quarter-life crisis. I felt the industry wasn’t for me, but I had already devoted 8 years of my career working hard, and it was difficult for me to fathom shifting gears and starting in another industry from the ground-up again.
That year, I had a startup idea. I offered it at a possible product to the company I was working with, but it was quickly rejected. That made my resolve in pursuing this idea stronger.
However I faced a big hurdle: I was supporting my family as a breadwinner. I couldn’t just quit what paid the bills.
I decided to pursue this passion of mine during my off-hours. During the weekend. After work. Lunchtime.
This became my side-hustle. Through this effort (and over 50 weekend interviews), I found my cofounder, who was willing to go full-time. THAT got the ball rolling. We founded the first STORM company in my living room a little after that. For the next 2-3 years, STORM continued to be my side-hustle, up until I waved good-bye to my corporate career to pursue entrepreneurship full-time.
That was a life-changing leap for me – as my experience in STORM would dramatically alter my career from line HR Management to a career as an entrepreneur.
It all started with my side-hustle.
And then, in 2011, while working on STORM full-time, this blog, Juan Great Leap, became my side-hustle. And in a very different way, this too, would change my life.
So many times, I encounter people who are quite serious in taking a leap, who DO want to try something different.
But a lot of us face different obstacles – financial, security, fear, responsibilities – which prevent us from taking a dramatic leap.
This is where the side-hustle can come in beautifully.
It allows us to take a smaller leap. It allows us to dip our feet in the water to get a bit of a feel. In time, like it did for me, perhaps it can facilitate a bolder leap in the near future.
But there can also be a deeper role the side-hustle can play for you. A much deeper, even spiritual one.
The side hustle can engage your soul
Are you a frustrated writer who took on a BPO job to make ends meet?
Are you a dancer? Perhaps some time ago, you were in the college dance troupe and from time to time you dream of “those days” when you were performing and time just stood still.
Perhaps circumstances won’t let us make the leaps we want to. But that’s not an excuse to let our gifts and passions stale away
Yes, the side-hustle can let you earn a bit more, but I feel the far more crucial role it can serve us is the engagement of our souls – which can only happen when we exercise and use our God-given gifts.
When I watched A Star Is Born a few months ago, I found myself tearing up just listening to Lady Gaga sing, not because of any particular
plot drama, but just hearing her, witnessing her gift. In just watching her, I KNOW she’s exercising her God-given gift – that she’s incredibly passionate about singing and perfecting her craft. True enough, when you visit her wikipedia page, you’d see she began performing in open mic competitions as a teenager and dropped out of college to pursue music.
Writing this, right now, is HEAVEN for me. I love the process of finding just the RIGHT word, making sentences and paragraphs feel complete. I’m not able to scratch this itch in my full-time job.
I realize, I NEED to find a medium with which to write. And here it is. Yes, I’m filling a need to let my insights and thoughts be heard, but that is secondary to my need to just…write. My true audience is one.
The side hustle can allow you to explore what you really want to do
So let’s say you know your gift is…talking. You can’t just quit your full-time finance job. You can use your side-hustle as your own personal laboratory.
Join a toastmaster group for a month. Not really comfortable? Sell insurance part-time the next month. Not for you? Work as a barista for a bit and get a feel of face to face customer service.
With the internet and all its different job platforms and networks out there, the possibilities are literally endless. There is now very little risk in trying different things out to see whats best for us.
Just pause and think about the ramifications.
We can spend YEARS, or even decades, hopping from one job to the next, one industry to the next in trying to the find the job or function which fills us, and most probably enduring a lot of unnecessary pain, doubt, restlessness and confusion along the way.
We don’t need to go through that anymore.
The side-hustle (and the way the internet has just souped it up) can help us cut that time dramatically.
Go find your side-hustle.