I turned my side hustle into my main hustle at the beginning of 2018. I honestly could’ve never imagined that one day I will run my own business. If you would’ve asked me even just 12 months ago whether I could ‘take the plunge’, I would’ve hesitated. But one fine morning in November 2017 after a particularly frustrating few weeks with my then boss, I simply woke up and just knew I would need to tell him I am quitting. Let’s just say he almost fell off his chair when I broke the news and tried throwing every promotion, salary increase and flexibility perk at me with no avail. I stood in my truth of wanting to fully commit to my beautiful business and finally create freely with both my mind and soul aligning with what I love doing the most.
THE HUMBLE BEGINNINGS – LAUNCHING MY BLOG
It took me little over 3 years to get to this point, however by no means it was an easy ride. I wanted to share a bit about this process with you today and encourage you to build a business without giving up your day job as your starting point. After all, that’s what a side hustle is.
I registered my domain name ‘designed by life’ in May 2013 and it wasn’t until July 2014 that I launched my blog under this URL. You might be thinking just why I took that long to get anything out there? Well, it wasn’t for the lack of content but rather due to my fear of being seen and judged. I have observed time and time again people getting stuck in their own minds and overthinking their ideas only to arrive in a paralysed state. I know very well how this feels because I’ve been there.
Once I published my first few articles, nothing could’ve prepared me for the incredible response I’ve received in the months that followed. I’ve not only got emails from complete strangers telling me just how much they could relate to what I was writing about but also my first enquiries for coaching sessions. Around the same time a few of my workmates started asking me about my blog and the next think I knew, I was coaching a few journalists on WordPress.
LAUNCHING MY FIRST SERVICE
As you would’ve guessed, my first official service via ‘designed by life’ was blog coaching and wordpress training. I really enjoyed working with people and many of my early blog articles were inspired by the questions and stories of my clients. Stepping into the role of a coach and trainer just reaffirmed how much I love this kind of work and I was astounded just how easy it felt to do it. I knew I was onto something here. This work has completely transformed my wellbeing and outlook on life and suddenly I felt so much joy not only at my work but also in all areas of my life. Naturally, I wanted to explore more.
MY COACHING STUDIES
It was soon after my blog launched that I decided to complete a coaching course and subsequently pursue my coaching certification. It was around this time that I realised I wanted to lean into my feminine side more as most of my corporate career was spent in male dominant workplaces and let’s just say I was quite over these. I still believe as human beings we balance the feminine and masculine energies and it’s absolutely necessary for a healthy life but I know I’ve been way too much outside of what felt good and joyful so I was determined to changed that.
The Beautiful You Coaching Academy was a real game changer for me. I’ve not only acquired the knowledge I needed to become a coach but at the same time resumed what I now call one of the most intense ‘personal development’ periods of my life. I’ve gone through this rollercoaster of emotions during my studies that represented both the ‘unlearning’ of my preconceived ideas about work and also leaning more and more into who I truly was. I know this might sound a bit crazy, but up until then I believe I was walking around the world not truly understanding what it is I want to do with my life.
TAKING MY SIDE HUSTLE SERIOUSLY
My entire world changed upon completion of this course. I knew I had to apply some serious effort into making my dream a reality. My dream was to become location independent and help others truly explore what they are meant to do in their lives. The entire premise of the brand, designed by life is to ‘think, feel and create in your zone of genius’. I finally found what that was for me and I became determined to help as many people as possible to find their calling. I started offering coaching programs that were mainly one-on-one in nature at the beginning and soon turned into smaller intimate group coaching sessions.
As people watched on how I was happily building my side hustle, many of them approached me to find out just how I did it. It probably is important to note that I genuinely became a nicer, more kinder person as a result of all this transformation that occurred in my life and of course people noticed it.
BUSINESS COACHING AND CONSULTING
Even though my first few clients were life coaching and career coaching clients, in my second year of side hustling, I started taking on early stage business clients, side hustlers and entrepreneurs. Like with any business, you usually start out pretty ‘wide’ and may not have thought about your particular niche, but the more you work with clients, the better understanding you’ll get what you enjoy doing and what you don’t want to do anymore.
For me niching into business and side hustle coaching made a lot of sense. Even though I was still side hustling, I had a lot of knowledge about business building since I’ve been building my business for about 2 years by then. Clients loved that fact that I wasn’t that far in my business building journey because they found me more relatable than the big name coaches who were making millions. Plus sharing tips around managing a job and a side hustle at the same time was something I was doing right then and there. Living by example, so to speak.
NOT ENOUGH TIME IN A DAY AND BURNOUT
When word got out about my business offerings, smaller businesses started hiring me for small tasks such as powerpoint presentations, writing of articles, strategy work, online tools set up such as email marketing software, social media accounts etc. It was around this time I realised that all I was doing most days (even my weekends) was work. Whether it was work associated with my full time job or my side hustle, I felt like I was running out of time each day. Needless to say, I’ve got burned out.
It was an awful feeling. I felt so helpless – I didn’t have energy to think and there were a number of days when I couldn’t get out of bed. I knew then and there that things had to change. On one hand I was too scared to ask my boss to go down part time in my role because I feared I would lose my job all together but at the same time I wanted to do more of what really made me happy – my side hustle clients and work.
TRANSITIONING TO PART TIME WORK
It was such a tough decision and one I worked up to over a number of weeks (if not months). It definitely felt like eternity but one day I had the talk with my boss and he agreed for me to work part time in my role. What was even better – he agreed to transition my role into a newly formed job that I suggested to him, which meant I didn’t have to look after some business critical tasks. And the real punchline came last – he allowed me to keep my full time salary and work from home some of those days if I wanted to.
I honestly felt like I hit the jackpot. It was one of the most amazing days of my life and the beginning of those moments that prove to you that ‘the Universe has your back’ when you act in alignment with your values and what you truly deep down want for yourself.
EXPERIMENT AND LEARN FROM MISTAKES
Even though the part time flexible work arrangement worked for a while, it began to show its cracks when my side hustle started gaining more and more momentum. I knew I was heading towards a pretty serious burn out #2 if I didn’t take measures into my hand. So for a few months I put on the breaks on my side hustle and went back into self preservation mode. I had this mindset of having it all just because I no longer had to work full time so it naturally made me think I should slow down a bit.
In hindsight I know that having a few quiet months (mind you this was almost the entire 2017) meant upleveling my mindset. I needed to take some time to understand that working part time and someone allowing me to do that wasn’t them doing me a favour but rather me not being ready to fully let go of my job just yet. It’s called the inner winter when you process all the change and transformation that happened to you and synthesise the learnings only to emerge with crystal clear clarity about your path.
WHEN YOU OUTGROW YOUR JOB
When this realisation hit me, it suddenly became easier than ever to wake up one morning, walk into work and resign. That day I knew this decision will become the beginning of the rest of my life. I was still scared and most definitely had no idea how the future will look like but there was one thing I knew for sure: I was finally backing my ability to show up as me and play to my strengths.
Please know that I am not discounting all the other efforts that went into planning of this decision. There were indeed a number of big bold steps that I had to take in order to rationalise some of my decisions but I can honestly say that letting go of my day job was a balanced decision of my mind and intuition. They became friends for that brief moment where the big decision had to be made (lol).
MY TIPS FOR BUILDING A SIDE HUSTLE
- Overcome your fear of being seen and just start
- Your side hustle is likely to succeed if you start small and lean
- It’s a myth that starting a business is expensive
- If your side hustle idea is too complex, break it down and simplify it
- When you launch initially, try not to be such a perfectionist about it
- You don’t need a website to start a side hustle
- Think about talents of yours that you could charge for
- Write down what comes easy to you that others don’t know how to do (that could be your zone of genius, just saying)
- Journal about your ideal day and figure out what business you could start in order to live like that
- Write down what you would likely be doing for work if money was no object
- Tell your friends about your side hustle ideas (it’s BS that others will steal your idea – everybody is bloody lazy lol)
- Find more time in your day to dedicate for your side hustle
- Stop watching the news on TV (it’s brainwashing you and keeping you in fear)
- Limit your time on social media – you are either a creator or consumer; choose wisely
- Surround yourself with other side hustlers and entrepreneurial people
- Stop gossipping and talking about others behind their back
- Start meditating
- Spend time in nature
- Create ‘white space’ in your days where you are alone and you could ‘just be’
- Read books, lots of books
IT’S POSSIBLE TO MATCH YOUR JOB INCOME WITH THAT OF YOUR SIDE HUSTLE
So here I am sharing with you that it is indeed possible to match your full-time income through a side business and when you let go of that time spent in a job, you are set to create even more abundance than you have ever thought possible. Being 8 months into my main hustle game, I have not only doubled my salary from my job but projecting it to be almost 3x by the end of the 12th month. It’s truly remarkable and I have absolutely no regrets.
It’s important to also note that my main motivation for going all in wasn’t just the financial upside. Even though it’s a very welcomed benefit and one that will make a massive difference to my life considering I live in one of the most expensive cities in the world (Sydney), what I am most joyful about is the freedom I was able to create.
Freedom to me means having a choice how I do my best work, when I work, how many hours I work, who I work with and what types of projects and collaborations I’d like to get involved in. I must say, I probably have worked a lot of hours in the last 8 months but at the same time it didn’t feel meaningless, dreadful and frustrating (like my job used to feel so many times). I also get energy from being surrounded by aligned activities, people and places and that has fuelled my drive. It’s important that my lifestyle determines how I work rather than my work shaping my lifestyle.
DIVERSIFIED BUSINESS MODEL
Having a business model that enables me to have multiple streams of income is important to me. It not only allows me to experiment but also safeguards the income that’s coming through. People in jobs think that they have safety and security by having a job but nothing could be further away from the truth. I have seen this time and time again where restructures happen, technology is implemented or new management comes into a company and suddenly mass redundancies take place. Each time this occurs people panic and desperately search for that next job and often say yes to an opportunity they know isn’t right but they simply need to get an income.
This becomes perpetual and it’s not uncommon that complacency and this false belief that your job is safe will again keep you small and in your comfort zone. It doesn’t matter whether you are an employee or a business, if you only have one source of income, you are at high risk financially.
My business model is deliberately diversified and I split my time between coaching, start up consulting, speaking, teaching and recently launched my first online course for early stage side hustlers. I feel like the diversity of how I work brings so much joy and freshness into my every day and the best part of it is, that I get to pick and choose what I work on and who I work with. In a job, I most definitely didn’t have that ‘freedom’.
ARE YOU A SIDE HUSTLER OR ASPIRE TO START YOUR SIDE HUSTLE?
I’ve recently started a Facebook Group called ‘Side Hustle To Abundance’ and the intention behind it is to share more tips, tools, articles, videos and jump in via Facebook Lives to support you on your side hustle business journey.
If you resonated with my story and excited to write your own side hustle success story, please join us in the group.
Until next time,
SIDE HUSTLE TO FREEDOM
and find out how I turned my side hustle
into my main business.