Recently, it seems like everyone and their grandma has a side hustle. Whether you’re a full-time lawyer but have an online store on the side or a bean counter by day and a blogger by night, side hustles are a great way to do what you love and have a creative outlet when your day job mandates otherwise. Especially in the wake of the recent downturn, start-ups are popping up in record numbers. Moreover, people are becoming increasingly dissuaded by high-paying jobs and climbing that corporate ladder for, none other than, an unfulfilling and unrewarding life. Rather, people are more eager to pursue their passions and do more of what makes them happy. Oftentimes, people start that passion project or “side hustle” while keeping their day jobs, for the comfort and security of a salary. Then, when their passion takes off and becomes a full blown business – goodbye 9 to 5, hello freedom.
But what if you don’t have any intentions of making your side piece your main piece? Or what if you actually really enjoy building your career at your 9 to 5? Here’s my story. I went to university to get a business degree, landed a great job at a great company that has invested a lot in me, and I continued on with graduate studies to get my professional designation. The truth is? I enjoy building my career in the corporate world and I don’t want to say goodbye to my day job just yet. Here’s why.
1. MONEY IS NOT THE MOTIVE FOR DOING WHAT I LOVE
“The not-so-glamorous truth is that, as a business owner, you actually work a lot harder to make much less money…”
Of course, everyone starts their small business with the hopes and dreams that it will be wildly successful. For me, that success is not measured in terms of how much money my business will generate. If money is the only metric of success than making money becomes the main motive rather than doing what I love. Our passions are not always the real money maker. If I was after the money than why wouldn’t I just stay at my cushy oil and gas job? The not-so-glamorous truth is that, as a business owner, you actually work a lot harder only to make much less money, contrary to the belief that being your own boss means your raking in cash. So if you’re not doing it because you truly love it, with or without the money, than money becomes the motive. Quite frankly, that motive won’t see you through during those tough days when you’re faced with all the challenges that comes with being an entrepreneur.
2. NOT PUTTING PRESSURE ON MY PASSIONS
“More or less, it could start to be less fun, more stressful, and it may no longer feel like a creative outlet. Rather, it becomes, well, a job!”
Last year I read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There were so many a ha! moments of affirmations for me. For a lack of a better way to summarize one of my favorite part, I will try my best. Elizabeth talks about the concept of how people shouldn’t despair or focus on making their part-time gig their full-time gig. She discusses some of the ugly truths from doing that and how the grass really isn’t greener on that side. If you’re taking your passion project full-time, it would essentially then have to pay your bills. More or less, it could start to be less fun, more stressful, and it may no longer feel like a creative outlet. Rather, it becomes, well, a job! You put all this pressure on your passion to pay for your life so now sales matter and those numbers matter. Without a doubt, I believe that if I was doing my business full-time, I could take it further, faster. However, I enjoy that I don’t have to put the added pressures and stresses of always thinking about sales, sales, sales in order to pay for my lifestyle. For me, the small wins like getting to collaborate with another company I adore or partnering with a great organization to make an impact is what our business is really about and the whole reason why we started it.
3. THERE ARE DIFFERENT VALUABLE LESSONS IN THE CORPORATE WORLD
“I believe that being an entrepreneur makes me a better employee and being an employee makes me a better entrepreneur.”
In some ways, I guess I’m just really fortunate that I enjoy my day job and I enjoy building my professional career in the corporate world. Being an entrepreneur, you face different challenges and learn different lessons. Being a part of the corporate world, you face a different set of challenges and you also learn different skills and lessons in life. I believe that being an entrepreneur makes me a better employee and being an employee makes me a better entrepreneur. Building a professional career is rewarding for me. You compete at the highest levels with people that push you to always be on your toes and at the top of your A-game. I feel a great sense of accomplishment when I look back at how much I’ve learned, developed and progressed in my career. The same sense of accomplishment I feel when I turn my idea that is just a concept into a full blown business. Maybe it’s my sense of FOMO but I always think to myself, can one job really offer you everything you need to feel accomplished and fulfilled?
4. IS THERE REALLY MORE FREEDOM?
“If you’re a small business owner, you’ve heard the saying “entrepreneurs are the only people who will work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week”. Not only have you heard the saying, you live and breath it.”
Like I’ve alluded to earlier, people generally tend to believe that if they were released from the 9 to 5 world, they would somehow suddenly have total freedom. One thing that’s for sure is that you’ll probably have more flexibility in your life. Your vacation is not capped at 4 weeks a year. Let’a face it though. If you’re a small business owner, you’ve heard the saying “entrepreneurs are the only people who will work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week”. Not only have you heard the saying, you live and breath it. Also, you have so much more invested into your own business, mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially. It becomes harder to really step away for even an evening, let alone a vacation. Let’s face it. All entrepreneurs are quick to flaunt all the glamorous things – more freedom, working from anywhere at anytime, total bliss and happiness from doing what they love all day and every day. They will never share the not-so-fun things like not having enough money to travel 4 weeks out of a year or even time off for that matter. I am fortunate that, in my situation, I have the ability to travel to amazing places and fork out that extra cash to stay in a top notch hotel. All the while, I have that passion project that keeps my creative juices flowing and I get to come home from work and be excited about doing what I love, on my own terms.
A and I started our small business because it encompasses all the things that we are truly passionate about and my end goal is not to use it as an exit strategy from the corporate world, which makes it a less stressful endeavor. Conversely, our passion project makes me even more excited about my career and life in general. I know that I’m part of the fortunate few who have the best of both worlds – a career I enjoy and a passion project that propels me through and keeps me excited. This post may not apply to everyone and certainly not everyone will agree. This is more a reflection of what I’ve learned in my journey. As a true entrepreneur, we always have ideas brewing and something up our sleeves. We can’t wait to announce our next passion project or, as I like to call it, our next side hustle! 🙂