How Having A Job Can Fuel Your Side Hustle

Ditching the 9–5 to work on your side projects? There might be some considerations to make first.

Young white male sitting on a lonely hill with a laptop at night. City lights glare in the far distance.
Young white male sitting on a lonely hill with a laptop at night. City lights glare in the far distance.
Photo by Ramy Mans on Unsplash

The sound of the 6 AM alarm rings and fills your room. You moan and turn to your other side. When you realise the alarm you hear in your dream is not you visiting a live concert of breakdancing and rapping bears, you wake up with a start, extend your arm and smash the “stop” button on your phone. You get up and drag yourself out of bed.

If only you could skip the meetings at your day job ahead and turn your side hustle into your full time occupation. Wouldn’t that be a dream?

Many jobs I’ve had served me well for a while, but didn’t feel as fulfilling as I hoped they would. I’ve never made it anywhere past the 2-year mark in one position, for many different reasons. I also always thought that I’d be best off not having a full time job to have all the time to work on my various side projects and work harder on them so that these would provide me the income I need.

This previous year, I had a go at that, and it didn’t work out that well. Through working full time I had saved up enough money to last for a full year without needing any job, providing I’d live on a budget.

I planned to finish a YouTube project I had started two years before. Even though I did publish several videos, the pace was laughable. During that whole year my output was: 19 videos. Mental health issues surfaced and slowed down the pace further. I did not finish the project and most certainly did not turn that into a living of any kind.

Not exceeding the budget I planned to live on for a year went fine, but moving the needle on my personal projects without any pressure or timeframe didn’t work for me.

I found that there are benefits to having a job while working on your side projects, even if this job is part time. Why?

  • You are forced to be disciplined with your time. More time pressure = less time wasted. Without a job, I had all the “free time” in the world. As a result thereof, I wasted more of it. Sleeping in every day is great, but without any external pressure to get started at a certain time, time will tick by and I don’t feel any urgency to get things done. As your job takes up a chunk of your day, you have to plan your side project around it. If you want to work on any side project, you cannot leave it to chance. You have to plan it in or make time.
  • Using your job to cover your living expenses. When you rely on something other than your passion project to pay the bills = less stress to make something work now that might need its time to “take off”. There is no rush or pressure to turn your side project into a lucrative venture.
    At the end of the day, a job is a job. If your side or passion project has to serve as a job now and bring in money, it could kill the fun. The very thing you wanted it to become, you then start despising.
  • Your job can serve as input for your writing. Life happens beyond the room you inhabit to put words to paper. If sitting inside were all you did, what would you write about? Situations at work, such as the traits you recognize in a great manager, or the differences between startup and corporate settings; all of this can be used as ammo for your writing.

Having that said, consider the pros and cons when you’re deciding to ditch your day job in favour of your side projects.

It’s a long way to success. Jumping ship without a proper plan is overly romanticized, don’t do it just because it sounds cool.

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Writing my way to progress. Topics: personal growth, life lessons, tooling & (failed) ventures. Subscribe to my newsletter:

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