A side hustle is usually not your main source of income while you are trying to get it up and running. But contrary to somewhat popular belief, a side hustle is still a business.
I know that might feel silly, especially because this is just your “side hustle” not your full time career job. But let me ask you this, do you want it to be? If you could snap your fingers and be granted a wish for your side hustle, would it be for it to become your full time revenue stream?
While there is no guarantee this will ever happen, because as we all know by now, taking a leap of faith on a business is exactly that. 50% strategy and 50% luck.
In this episode I want to dive into some practical ways that you can grow your side hustle while still working your day job. We are going to cover things like mindset as well as actual execution steps so it’s going to be a good well rounded episode that I think everyone can have a take away from.
Stop Using The Term “Just”
Have you ever ran into one of those situations where someone asks what you do and you get completely terrified to answer them. We tend to use the word “just” a lot or diminish our craft in some way because for some silly, odd reason it feels embarrassing to admit that we do it.
I have never had a full time career job before but I remember having part time jobs and working as a ranch hand and when people would ask me what I did for a living that felt credible and okay for me to admit. But when it came to my photography business I was trying to get off the ground I would tend to look down at my feet, and my voice would get shaky and I would hesitantly throw in there… “and I am also a photographer”
And even to this day it’s funny to admit this but I want to be fully transparent with you. I have no issues telling people I am a photographer, because I am established now. But I get nervous to admit that I am a business coach and a podcaster, and a content creator, and heck even an influencer.
Those words are all true statements and I get paid for all of them. So why is it so weird to say them out loud?
Can you relate? Have you ever been embarrassed to admit what your business or side hustle is? It’s so much more common than you might be thinking which is why one of the first points of this episode I want to dive into is your mindset.
Stop calling it your side hustle. Or at least stop thinking about it as just that.
Especially if your goal is to grow it to become your full time income stream. The more you start treating it like an actual business, the more other people will too.
But when you treat it as a small little cute thing you do on the side, you can expect other people to view it in the exact same way. And I know for a fact that you HATE it when someone tells you “so how’s that little business of yours doing?”
And the truth is I know exactly why you coward down when it comes to your side hustle. It’s probably because it scares you. And friend, that is a GOOD thing.
If your dreams do not scare the living poop out of you then I think you are not dreaming big enough. If you are not scared to fail and fall flat on your face then it might be time to pick a new dream. Because here’s the thing… It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to worry about the what if’s. But it’s not okay to let that fear stand in your way and control you.
We do not want to let fear be the reason we do not do something. I would love for anyone, anywhere on this planet to point me in the direction of a successful entrepreneur who has not failed 100 different times in 100 different ways.
I promise you that person does not exist. The only way you are going to succeed and make something of yourself and this business is by being scared and doing it anyway. By being willing to fail and fail again and again and again.
The harsh facts is, probably only about 50% of the side hustles in the world actually become full time incomes for people. I see this the most often with MLM’s or Multi level marketing companies. Unfortunately a lot of those businesses are not structured for you to be the most successful. But just from what I see from some of the consultants, it’s easy to see why so many of those people bounce from one to another. Not everyone, but I am sure you know someone who fits this mold I am talking about.
When it comes to your business or side hustle, you are going to get out of it what you put into it. And the rest really does just come from luck and having a lot of faith.
If you are putting in 110% effort into growing your business, then I promise you, if it’s meant to be, it will be. But if you are only putting in 30% effort, you cannot expect to get anywhere fast.
Now this is where you are going to get a little bit of tough love and you have to really take your emotions out of it.
How much effort are you putting into your side hustle, REALLY….?
What I have noticed is that a lot of people, and when I say people I do mostly mean women… will say things like “I pour my whole heart and soul into my business and I work so hard on it and I am putting in so much energy to make it grow…” but then when I ask them to tell me what a typical day looks like for them, usually it goes something like this.
- Roll out of bed whenever I wake up
- Scroll Instagram for 30 minutes
- Post something to Instagram
- Scroll some more
- Maybe answer some emails
- Edit some photos
- Scroll TikTok for “market research”
- Eat Lunch
- Watch some netflix
- Etc.. etc….
See the problem?
Yes, there is freedom with being a business owner and making your own schedule. But that freedom really only comes when you have established something that can work and run without you constantly being present all the time.
Until then, you are going to have to grind and hustle and work your little booty off to get there. And of course that is ONLY if you want this thing to grow big. If you are having with making a few bucks here and there and that’s your only goal, then great! None of this applies to you!
THE “I DON’T HAVE TIME” MYTH
I would be willing to probably bet that you have heard some of these things I have mentioned and you are thinking to yourself “but I do not have time”
“Sarah, I do not have time to film 5 Instagram reels this week”
“Sarah, I don’t have time to publish a new blog post every Monday”
And instead of saying you do not have the time to do something in your business, instead change it to “that is not a priority of mine” because that is the truth.
Sis, if you wanted to… I promise you, you will. You would FIND the time. Whether that means waking up earlier or staying up later. It is not impossible to find the extra minutes, or even hours in the day to get stuff done.
By telling yourself that something is not a priority to you, will likely trigger one of 2 reactions. Either you are going to accept and agree with it. AND THAT’S OK! I would not have any kind of judgment towards you if you told me that marketing your business is not a priority right now. Good! I am glad you know that about yourself and I will support your decision on that. On the flip side of that you are going to shake your head and say “ummm that’s not true” which will likely kick your butt into gear and re-shift what your true priorities actually are.
5 PRACTICAL WAYS TO GROW A SIDE HUSTLE
Make a list of the things you need to get done
If you know that there are certain things you need to accomplish for your business, write them down and make an actual list. Do not just keep that stored inside of your head where you might forget or lose track of things. PLus, how satisfying is it when you can actually check off little boxes? Anyone else love that, or just me?
Needle Movers Vs. Busy Work
As I mentioned before, you need to be aware of the tasks that are needle movers vs. just busy work. Things like editing, responding to emails, sure they are important and need to get done, but they don’t have to get done right this very second. Focus on the needle moving tasks that are going to help you grow and take that next step and THEN move onto the busy work.
Schedule your day and stick to it
We talked about finding those smaller pockets of time throughout your busy day and utilizing them to grow your business. But what I don’t want you to do is to make it so random that it’s actually harder to get things done. For instance, it may not be the most effective to write a blog post in random chunks throughout your day, or maybe it is. Maybe your brain works differently than mine does. Personally I like to take one day to jot down ideas for the post. Another day is actually forming the post itself, and then the other day is finalizing the post. But maybe for you it’s easier to just take 10 minutes here and there to write things down and if that works for you then great!
Give yourself grace
How many of you have a to-do list that is 100 pages long and when you do not accomplish everything on it in one day you get mad at yourself and think you are just the absolute worst? Same. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. You are only a human being and you cannot be perfect at everything all the time.
My advice for this is to write down all your tasks and then break them down into chunks of what needs to get done by when. Literally assign realistic due dates.
I know you might need to organize your sock drawer, but does that HAVE to get done today? What’s the worst thing that will happen if you don’t do it today?
Allow yourself to be a human being and do what you are realistically capable of doing. Stop trying to be superhuman all the dang time. When you are working a full time job, or being a mom, you may only have 20 minutes a day to work on your side hustle and that is okay. But you have to be really intentional about what you are doing in that 20 minutes. And do not try to get 30 things done in that 20 minutes because you are not going to be able to and then you will be annoyed with yourself for no reason.
Take time off, but don’t quit
You are busy. You are working full time, taking care of a family and trying to grow this side business. It’s going to be easy to feel burnt out and want to pull your hair out and just decide to quit. But I want to encourage you to instead lean into those seasons of busy and acknowledge that it is okay to take a break. In fact I think it is totally necessary to see results and growth.
There is a time and place for hustling, but it cannot go on forever. You need to be taking time to relax and reset so that when you come back you are coming back feeling refreshed and reinspired. It’s healthier for you and healthier for your business.
I want to know where you stand on all of this. What was your biggest takeaway from this episode? And just a little recap in case you forgot: Growing your side hustle requires a mindset shift, being honest with yourself on your efforts and combating the “I do not have time” myth.
And the 5 practical ways to implement these ideas are:
- Making a list of things to get done
- Determining your needle Movers Vs. busy Work
- Schedule your day and stick to it
- Giving yourself grace
- Taking time off but not quitting
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I'm Sarah Elrod
I'm a Cowgirl turned serial entrepreneur.
I'm a horse trainer, western wedding photographer, business coach and ranch wife.
I help women in the western industry grow thriving businesses from rural America.
When I am not strategizing new marketing tactics, you will find me riding my horses, cuddling my cattle dog, or kissing my hot husband.
There is also a good chance I am buying way too many outfits from western boutiques.
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