“Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be” – John Wooden
In 2014, I started a side hustle-small business consulting. At the time, I was newly married, and we didn’t have children. The absence of kids made it infinitely easier to find time for my clients. However, I never had enough time for running and growing the business and meeting client needs. I had a full-time job doing similar work and it required 40 plus hours a week.
For three years, I would pursue growing this business. My goal was five solid client who could bring in a solid five-figure income. Initially, I felt this was reasonable based on what I wanted to accomplish in the long-term. I was right, and I was also wrong. Five solid customers would require at least 30 additional hours of work per week.
Once my twins were born, running this business was nearly impossible. I tried, I really did. I soon had to accept that I simply did not have the time available to run a business on the side of my full-time life. While my intentions were in the right spot, the needs of my life easily superseded these intentions.
In reflection, I realize that as an Enneagram 3, I was partly motivated by achievement. I created an idea of success that I thought I was obligated to keep. I had to reset my definition of achievement and respect my limitations as a new mom. Pulling out of this side hustle was one of the healthiest things I did for myself. While I did not achieve the financial goals I set, I learned valuable lessons.
Depending on the business you’re going in, side hustles may not successfully be done on the “side”. Clients will not usually care about your limited availability, particularly if you are charging competitive rates. Selecting the right side hustle based on your availability is key to success.
Know Your Business, Know Your Craft
Side hustle is NOT a synonym for less. Your clients are going to expect a high level of knowledge and ability. Your part time availability is your limitation, not theirs. If you create websites, know the latest and greatest knowledge, technologies, and designs. If you are managing social media for businesses, know the latest apps and ways to increase traffic and awareness of your clients’ products and services. “Side” should not be confused with minimal or lesser. This is particularly true if you are charging competitive rates.
Know When to Hang Up the Shingle
The best of intentions and our highest goals can often delude us into thinking that the side hustle route is best for us. When you’re unable to show up as promised, it’s time to reconsider your side hustle. Not because you’re incapable or lack the desire, but life isn’t affording you the opportunity to be your best in that moment. In my business, I recognized that I was on the verge of not being able to honor my commitments. I didn’t start my business to do a bad job. Therefore, it was important that I resigned before I upset my clients who were hard-working like me.
I’m not sure if I will go down the entrepreneurial road again. Having a side hustle showed me the hard work of having a business. A side hustle might be right for you. A hobby like candle making, a make-up artist, performing, or an organizer are great as the work is typically completed at the time of service. Other hustles like consulting, event planners, recruiters, or personal assistants are more suitable to someone who has discretion over their time. If you have a true passion for these types of roles, the best side hustle might be to work for someone who is doing this type of work and support them.
What is something you’ve tried and failed at doing?