The Art of the Side Hustle: Three Tips for Making Your Passion Your Paycheck

by Bee Quammie

Do you work for the paycheck, or the passion? And if you have multiple passions, is there a way to turn them into multiple paychecks? Unless you're one of the lucky people who can find it all in one place, the side-hustler lifestyle may be for you.

Let me explain.

I have a regular day job in the field I studied in university, doing work that's meaningful to my community. But when that 9 to 5 ends, I pick up my side-hustles: blogging, writing, social media consultation, and event production. These outlets give me space to fulfill the creative aspects of myself, and help me bring in a little extra money too.

Though my side hustles don't currently bring in enough income to replace my day job, they've graduated from being hobbies to being important facets of my identity. I've taken to calling myself a "slash artist" because the day job/side-hustle life is real. When I'm asked the age-old question, "So, what do you do?" the answer is a bit more complex than it used to be but is much more true to who I am and how I contribute to the world.

Feeling unfulfilled or underemployed through regular work or have a passion, skill, or talent that just can't be denied? The side-hustler lifestyle can be awesome but there are some important factors of which you should take note. Here are three things to consider when pursuing a side hustle.

Assess Your Time

Juggling a job and a side hustle is a feat of organization, time management and focus. Ask yourself these questions before you step foot into the life of a slash artist. How much time do you need to complete your various responsibilities? Can you utilize lunch breaks or commuting time to accomplish tasks for your side hustle? How can you maximize your “off time” in the evenings and on weekends to focus on your side hustle? And most importantly, how can you balance all this while still making time for friends, family, hobbies, and yourself?

Burnout is real (I’ll touch on this more later), so you must remember to save time to rest, recharge, and engage in things that have nothing to do with your various hustles.

Assess Conflicts Of Interest & Work Boundaries

I had an experience at a job where my personal blog was found, and posts about natural hair and police brutality were reported to my superior as “racist.” While I never wrote about work on my blog or even so much as visited my blog’s URL while at the office, a colleague’s issue with my self-expression blurred the lines between my hustles. As ridiculous as the situation was, it made me hyperaware of the boundaries between my day job and side hustles, especially as related to social media and the digital world.

No matter what your hustle is or what medium you use, be sure to read up on your work policies to ensure that you don’t find yourself in the middle of any conflict of interest issues—or to stay ahead of the game and know how to avoid any potential problems.

Assess Your Level Of Commitment

As I mentioned earlier, burnout is real and can happen in different ways. We commonly reference burnout in the sense of devoting so much time to our work that we literally have no time for the other parts of ourselves, but you can have passion burnout as well.

Protect your passions! If your creative outlets start to feel like an insurmountable burden, where do you turn for the release they’re supposed to give you? This is something to consider, especially if your goal is to move your side hustle into a full-time entrepreneurial pursuit. If you complain about hating your day job, how will you feel when you become disillusioned with your passions?

On the other hand, perhaps your goal isn’t to become a full-time entrepreneur, and that’s more than OK! Sometimes I dream of being a full-time writer, and other times I feel that writing serves me better by being the spice of my life vs. the entire meal. Decide your level of commitment for yourself, and proceed accordingly. This is your journey, your path to fulfillment, and your move towards prosperity.

Black women are consistently finding ways to create the kind of lives they desire, and for many, the side-hustling lifestyle is part of the process. Find a mentor who can help you, seek out resources for support (like the awesome Secrets Of A Side Hustler network), and see where following your passions can take you. You might just be pleasantly surprised with where you end up.

Photo: Shutterstock

Bee Quammie is a Toronto-based healthcare professional, writer, and founder of ‘83 To Infinity and The Brown Suga Mama. Recognized by Black Enterprise & the Black Canadians Awards for her digital work, Bee aims to live '83 To Infinity's motto: "It's never too late to learn something new, do something new, or be someone new." Follow her on Twitter at @BeeSince83.

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