Journal is powered by Vocal creators. You support TJ Neal by reading, sharing and tipping stories... more

Journal is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.

How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.

How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.

To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.

Show less

Ring!!! Your Side Hustle Is Calling

It's time to take your side hustle seriously.


Go and get your hustle on! 37% of Americans are currently engaged in a side hustle, and 51% of millennials have an occasional side hustle, according to a study by Bankrate. Looks like I am not the only person who believes in the need to get your hustle on. This year many people took the risk and dove deeper into something they are passionate about, decided to no longer wait, and are using their 9 to 5 gigs as a launching pad. What about you? Many of us have or are still doing that one thing we saw our parents do. You get up every day, grab your coffee, take your commute and end up in a cubicle or office (if you are lucky), for the traditional job—but you find yourself daydreaming about the thing you prefer to be doing. What about that one hobby that consumes you? Yep…that thing; many of us call that a “side hustle.” Side hustles make life interesting, they keep you energized, and one day we hope to make them our daily destiny, but how?

Get your side hustle to critical mass.

Have you ever heard that when you are doing what you love, you are never working? This happens when your side hustle hits critical mass and gives off residual energy, that pushes you forward. Hitting the 9 to 5 and spending the extra hours to make your side hustle work, requires strong energy reserves. Personally, having a side hustle challenges me to focus on my growth and ability to stay disciplined in the long grind. Doing the same routine job every day can become a breeder of complacency and result in a lack of exposure to build additional skills. Having to game plan your entire side hustle from creation to operation ensures you will be challenged to overcome areas where you are weak or lack experience (you can kiss complacency goodbye). From marketing, web development or learning how to connect with people, it was these areas that skyrocketed for me while working my side hustles.

Keep up the pace.

One thing about side hustles is that you have to continuously perform the balance between your hustle and your job. This is why keeping on pace is vital to not getting overwhelmed. I have discovered, through some honest trial and error, three ways to stay on pace throughout your days and weeks:

  1. Lunch breaks are your new time heroes. With a small amount of time, working on a lunch break requires you to have exceptional focus. Using this time for phone calls, catching up on emails, and writing quick action plans can help you take advantage of your time. It’s not an easy task to escape all the lunch invites or opportunities to just decompress from the early morning stress. But since finding time to work on your side hustle can already be challenging, using the lunch hour allows you to scratch quicker task off your list.
  2. Early mornings and late night grinds. When everyone else is asleep, this is when your dream is actualized. You get the most valuable undistracted time. When I launched my first project, a mentor challenged me to devote one hour per night to working it. At that time I was nervous I couldn’t find the hour. However, today I spent between 2–4 hours at night because it doesn’t feel like work. For those who aren’t night owls, multiple research reports have shown that waking up early can be supercharging for getting things done (who's up for 4 AM wake-ups). Being committed to the timing of your grind provides you the platform to focus in at high levels, and this is where you will complete more significant task.
  3. Disconnecting to stay on track. Moments of clarity often come when we can unplug from everything else. Trust me…I know it’s hard to do. Social media, friends, Netflix binge-watching opportunities and even sometimes kids. At some point, we owe it to ourselves to find solace in our side hustles. Saturday mornings have become my rejuvenation time. Whether at Starbucks or at home, I take the mornings to do some serious cramming on activities and connecting with cool people.

Not a Hobby Anymore

Hobbies are fun and entertaining. You can pick them up and put them down as you like. They can be done freely without the pressure of having to actually present a continuous result. This makes it easy, but if you are shooting to escape the 9 to 5, then your side hustle cannot be a hobby. We have to hold ourselves to an accountability level that is not displayed in a hobby. Not getting caught in the hobby web, means not passing up on the necessary actions: sitting down and doing the work when you don’t feel like it and putting your project first. 

Being present in your project is mandatory and the more we slack off, the worse it gets. I experienced this when after my first project launch the team hit a wall and saw our work rate decrease a bit. This required us to check back in with ourselves and goals, to ensure we were delivering precisely the way we wanted and living our purpose. Turn the hobby into the side hustle and don't look back.

Using Your 9-5 to Refine Your Technique

Working your current gig is a major win for your side hustle. You get the benefit of learning multiple skill-sets, getting diverse industry experience, and building your network while working for others. Taking advantage of this time in your career can catapult you and shorten the learning curve. Before your side hustle, your 9 to 5 was just work, but now every project is an intentional exercise to expand your toolkit. Running your own project requires the ability to connect with others, be versed in multiple functional areas, and adapt at faster rates. Your 9 to 5 is a perfect place to practice this technique and hone your skills. Using the resources, you are required to effectively do your current job will be your secret sauce in playing to your strengths in your project.

The Money Game

Let’s face it, one of the significant challenges entrepreneurs face is funding their projects. If done right, your 9 to 5 can offer you a consistent funding source to help grow your side hustle. My first two projects were all funded by my personal savings account. Taking the risk, success or failure, was so much easier when it was my money, and I only owed myself. I recently finished reading The $100 Startup and in this short read, I was introduced to multiple large scale businesses and hustles that started with a few hundred dollars. Many of the companies featured in the book, launched from a place of individual despair in their traditional careers to hitting new levels in the hustle they desired. Your extra income from the 9 to 5 can help you stay ahead of the game; minimize debt, let your purpose be the boss and provide money for your future investments. Maybe it’s a simple way, but why add more stress to your goals if you don’t have to.

Ready...Set...GO!

Your side hustle is the thing that makes going the extra mile worth it. It contains your purpose and passion, so why not do everything possible to keep it alive and elevate it. A traditional gig with all of its quirks is still a proven way to gain experience and learn, before jumping fully into your side hustle. However, if you genuinely want to turn that side hustle into your full-time gig, then it’s time to step it up, push forward, and assign the right value to your goals. There is no secret, no life hack, just some sweet work ahead and belief in yourself. Our 9 to 5s have given us some great tools, and now the challenge of the side hustle adventure is left up to us.

____________________________________________________________________________

Thanks for spending a few minutes reading up.

I love connecting and working with others, so shoot me an email or hit the follow button on Instagram and let’s grow together.

[email protected]

www.instagram.com/tj_possible