If you spend years working 9-5 jobs, you may have felt at some point or another, the irresistible urge to undertake a side hustle in order to have an extra income.
By a side hustle, I mean a project that you start with the intention of getting paid or amassing some kind of public recognition just because you have passion for it.
For example, maybe you’ve thought about starting a blog site because you have a flare for writing and a knack for spotting good stories or launching a YouTube channel. Why wouldn’t you?
A side hustle is more than a naughty fantasy. It is a fancy word for a hobby that has the potential to earn you money.
Think of it this way:
A job pays your current bills. A side hustle builds your future.
We live in a content economy and a culture that deifies entrepreneurship. For those who go through with starting a side hustle, there’s a solid chance that after a while, something about it begins to feel burdensome. It could be that you feel like you can’t sustain a certain level of output, or that you professionalized a hobby to the point that it’s not fun anymore. For whatever reason, it feels like a chore.
What do you do when your side hustle has become burdensome?
You could let it languish, making vague gestures at “getting back to it” and feeling guilty about pushing it off into infinity.
As you’re reading this right now, ask yourself these questions:
Have I done that? Am I doing that right now with a particular project?
You could also address it directly, asking yourself some expert-approved questions to help guide you toward a more sustainable approach.
Ask yourself why you started your side hustle
Maybe you got into your side hustle to make money. Maybe you did it because you wanted to exercise your creativity or because you were passionate about a cause.
Maybe you did it because all of your friends had an extracurricular project going on, and you thought you should, too. By taking a step back and revisiting your original objective of starting that particular side hustle, you can figure out what’s really going on and begin finding solutions.
If your initial reason for starting your side hustle still resonates with you, you can then look at reframing the problem.
By asking yourself why you initially started your side hustle, you might also realize that your answer guides you toward shutting it down. This scenario often occurs when you started a project because your friends were doing it, or because you felt some sort of peer pressure to do so. “You’ve just got to be honest with yourself
Dismiss the self-judgment, and perfectionism
When you start reframing your side hustle, a little voice might pipe up in the back of your head, saying, “Sure, you could close down the vlog, shut down the business or sell the website after all you’re not making money from it, but I will advise you, you shouldn’t.
This is very normal, so don’t fall into a spiral of judging yourself. I think the biggest thing when people start a side hustle and then hit a wall is that there’s a lot of self-judgment.
Self-judgment gets in the way of finding a sustainable solution for your problems.
This is one of the major reasons for feeling locked into a side hustle, even one that’s clearly not working for you anymore. The fear of disappointing your audience or clients. After all, these are the people who have given you their time, attention, and money.
It’s worth remembering that your audience is not an authority figure in your life. If they’re really aligned with who you are, your business, and the work you’re doing, then they’ll be aligned with whatever path you take or whatever direction you decide to take it in.
Treat your side hustle as an experiment
After identifying your motivations for having a side hustle and reframing the challenges you’re experiencing with it, you can enter experimentation mode, where you test out changes to the project and see how they feel. In this phase, try and adopt a spirit of open-mindedness.
Consider changing up the cadence, subject matter, or format of your product
If you’re struggling with a technical aspect of it, zero in on that challenge and seek out help from someone who can teach you. You may also think about modifying other aspects of your life to suit your side hustle. If your side hustle is a big priority — as a source of income, a passion project, or a career advancement tool, then perhaps you’d be served by giving up the time you spend on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok to fit it into your schedule.
Accept a certain ebb and flow
A side hustle is likely going to change many times throughout its lifespan, as your goals, needs, commitments, work, and lifestyle evolve.
When it comes to side hustles, there’s some degree of seasonality that one has to learn to tolerate. Your goal is to evolve the project, learn, and do it until it works for you.