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I love ideas, and I love helping people. It’s how I got started writing on my blog and on Medium every day. Which led to me writing fiction novels for fun. Which also led to me starting a coaching business.
I’ve done this all while working full time, most of which I started while also being a full time grad student with a long-distance relationship.
I say this to you because it’s possible to build a side-hustle into your life, even if you think you’re too busy. It’s less about running from one task to the other and more about setting up a structure that allows you productivity and purpose. Here are the habits I cultivated to make my goals a reality.
When it comes to making sure I get all of my projects completed, I set daily priorities. These are the top tasks I need to complete in each project.
Because I know when I work best, I set any writing priorities for the morning hours. I know that I can get up and write a post for Medium before I head to work. Depending on how much time I have left over from that, I’ll usually start editing one of my novels before I have to run out the door.
At work, there are pockets of time where I can get in a bit of work on my coaching business or write and interact on Medium. I also use my full lunch hour, spending the first fifteen minutes eating and the rest of the time working on a project.
In the evenings, I also have my priorities set. This is usually a good time for me to run before I come in and write new things or build my coaching business. I set my evenings up in the beginning of the week so I know which nights I will be working on writing my novel or which night I’ll focus on my coaching business.
I credit my time as an athlete for being able to translate this into my creative life. Not every blog post is going to get recognized. My current novel does not get traction on Amazon. I launched my coaching website less than a week ago and don’t get a lot of views.
What some might see as failures, I see as opportunity. Okay, I know a week is not long for seeing if a business is going to be successful, but I like a good challenge. Each time something doesn’t work, I dig into it rather than feel defeated. I look at each moving part and try to find ways to do better.
The biggest key is that I don’t let it weigh me down for long. I could look into a failed article and spend hours and hours picking it apart… but what good would that do? I figure out my point of diminishing returns, take away my key points, and then move forward. It leads me to my next point.
I spend any free moment trying to learn something new. I read articles across topics, inhale resources and ways to improve my website, and look into new strategies for my writing. I try to read and support everything I can, looking for ways to take in value.
I also spend time asking questions. I talk with my friends and family about their thoughts. I secretly keep notes when I’m talking to strangers or coworkers or eavesdrop on public conversations. I ask questions and dig deeper into everything around me, including myself.
I also take the time to practice what I learn. If I can’t effectively apply the strategies I’ve picked up from others, there’s no point in learning. I practice my craft every time I sit down to write. I practice coaching every time I work with someone. I practice optimal website layouts and structures when I work on my website.
If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten. Apply, adapt, and adjust as necessary if you want to see your side-hustle continue to grow.
With everything I work on, I have one purpose — to deliver value to my reader or client. That value looks different for each audience I work with, but the purpose remains the same. I didn’t start writing for the profit, that’s for sure. And I didn’t start this coaching business to become the next Tony Robbins (though he’s great, I’m not him and that’s not my goal).
My purpose is to deliver value — entertainment and connection with my novel readers, education and support for my other readers, and productivity and passion for my coaching clients. Yes, I need to make a living and support myself, which is why I have a full time job still and charge for my coaching time, but if I’m not delivering value, I’m not delivering on my purpose.
What does your side-hustle deliver in terms of value? Is that your main purpose or drive? If not, it’s going to be tough to get traction anywhere. People will see right through you.
None of this is possible if I didn’t absolutely love what I did, or love the people I am around. I try to give value and love back to everyone I reach, and it starts with giving love into the project I’m working on. When I work on writing, I love my writing by being present and involved in my story or message. When I work with a client, I love that individual and show that by giving my full attention and value.
Passion is at the core of what I do, so giving love into my work is easy. It’s why I believe in what I’m giving to others. Love your side-hustle and it will love you back.
The list of habits is endless, but it all comes down to what you are willing to give to your project. If you make the time, you’ll always get something out of it. Even a failed business teaches you how not to do something. Continue to love and give value and you won’t see a side-hustle as extra work.