BALANCING A CAREER & A SIDE HUSTLE
And how to do it sustainably
Whether it’s a part time job and an aspiring start up, a career alongside a flourishing blog, or simply two careers bubbling along. These days it’s fair to say that having a career and a side hustle isn’t that peculiar and so finding ways to make time for your side hustle without sacrificing your life is a more common problem than you might think. When I first started mediamarmalade.com back in 2011, I had no idea it would become more than just a hobby or that it would turn into a future job itself. Who knows if i’d have embarked on this journey if I had known?
But whatever your venture, your hobby, passion project or aspiring business, chances are you’re juggling it alongside employment, a part time job or a full blown career. And I can sympathise, it’s no easy task. Not only does it take extreme motivation, passion and drive (not to mention energy) to keep pouring your efforts into both, it takes pragmatism, productivity and control to balance the two, without of course sacrificing your life.
After nearly 6 years of juggling mediamarmalade alongside my career as a communications consultant and planner, I’ve learnt a thing or two about finding such balance, about making the right sacrifices, and understanding the consequences of making the wrong ones too.
I’ve learnt the hard way, but 6 years on, with many promotions, exciting projects and brand collaborations on the way, I’ve finally got a good thing going. And today I thought i’d share some of my learnings with you …
SUSTAINABLY JUGGLING A CAREER AND A SIDE HUSTLE
The Five Lessons I’ve Learnt
YOU WILL HAVE TO MAKE SACRIFICES
Blog events, paid projects, trips away, the things I’ve turned down as a result of having a career alongside my blogging side hustle is too gutting to think about too much. Equally the moments i’ve missed out on, rest times i’ve cut out and weekends i’ve sacrificed to keep my blog running (and for five years running daily) is too many to truly list. When you’re taking on a side hustle, alongside a career, job, or part time work, you’re committing to double work, double deadlines without double the time. So it should come as no surprise that sacrificing something has to happen, and without much care, it can become your life!
BALANCE IS ESSENTIAL
And that is why balance is essential. As a driven person I easily found myself trying to be the best at both my career and my blog, wanting to achieve the most success I could for both my passions, and truth be told found myself with little time for anything else. Quitting daily blogging was a huge decision for me, over a year of consideration, some serious therapy to work through the rational pro’s and con’s, and a lot of emotion to tackle too (it was surprising how much I associated stopping blogging daily with failure despite the stupidity of it). But I had to do it, I had to stop applying so much pressure to creating a volume of content that even full time bloggers weren’t committing to. This decision created the greatest and most positive shift in my life and helped me achieve better work, life and side hustle balance. Not only that, but it forced me to accept a few realities too …
THINK LONG TERM GOALS
If you’re a driven person, it’s easy to set yourself huge goals and expect nothing less than perfection from yourself. I for one worked my socks off working 9-10pm at work, and somehow juggled blogging full time on top of this. I made myself run down, I upset those around me as I couldn’t give them the love and attention they wanted and deserved, let alone any time for me. My decision to stop blogging daily came with a heavy heart, but also a reality check on what i was doing, where I was going, and what I wanted in the long term.
You see, sometimes It’s important to think about the long game and your long term goals, and not just about the short tasks or short term achievements. Whether that’s to help keep you motivated when juggling so much, or equally and in my case to help you define what you really want to achieve … and adjust your goals accordingly.
Perhaps your career will continue to be your focus, but your passion for your side hustle means you want to keep it running but with a little less pressure. Your career has to be the focus and your priority. Equally perhaps your working part time to fund your side hustle and start up career, and your part time job is really a means to an end. As such your side hustle is your focus and priority.
Find balance, be prepared to sacrifice, and adjust your goals accordingly.
YOUR SKILLS WILL BE TRANSFERABLE
It’s not all doom and gloom. One thing you’ll hugely benefit from is the transferable skills you’ll gain. Running your own side hustle is a massive learning curve, no matter what your profession or passion, you’re sure to learn business management, finance and operation skills, not to mention the art of PR, creative direction, and the skills attributed to running your own business. But it’s not just your side hustle, being an employee is a great opportunity to learn how other businesses are running, driving profits and creating a sustainable business. Whatever your job and side hustle, you’ll learn from both, and better yourself, your experience and your skill, for both.
DON’T BE TOO HARD ON YOURSELF
I’ve been reminded many a time, that I’m effectively juggling two careers, and that as such, I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. You see sometimes you forget that you’re not dedicating 100% of your energy and 100% of your effort to just one task, and that actually your juggling two. If you don’t adjust your goals, make sacrifices and be clear to prioritise, you can end up feeling disheartened and disappointed that you’re not achieving the things you want.
For me, blogging is my side hustle, but the one part of my career I feel most deflated by. I often see other peoples achievements and wish I could achieve more myself. But in those moments, I forget that I also have a successful career as well! It’s in these moments you must remember not to be too hard on yourself.