How having a side hustle changed my life

January 22, 2022

We all have to work to survive. We need to buy food, make sure we have a roof over our head, and we need clothes to stay warm.

If your day-to-day job happens to be something you’re extremely passionate about, then I envy you. Working your dream job is what we all aspire to.

Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life – Confucius.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t necessarily love our jobs. I worked in Private Banking for the largest part of my career. Yes, the pay was great, and yes, I got to meet incredible characters and travel the world. But the sad truth is, deep down, I didn’t love it. I don’t think I even remotely liked it. I liked numbers, finance, and helping people grow their wealth, but I wasn’t fond of the actual day-to-day tasks the role required.

That’s where my blog came in. I launched The Rebel Chronicles when I was still living in Dubai.

In a way it was my saving grace, my creative outlet. It was the space where I allowed myself to pour my heart out and speak my mind.

What side hustling taught me

The blog fueled my creativity. When I would come home after a long day of client meetings, I would sit in front of my laptop and brainstorm creative topics, really digging deep to come up with ideas my readers would be excited to read about. It’s not easy, and maybe that’s why I’ve felt less inspired ever since the pandemic started. When you don’t lead an interesting life (hello confinement!), you don’t find yourself with anything interesting to share.

Side hustling also taught me the value of time and working for yourself. Anyone who has a business or a side hustle will tell you: there is a LOT to learn. I had to learn how to set up a website, actively use social media, design, negotiate collaborations, invoice, and I keep learning new things every single day. There are sacrifices, there are hard decisions to make, there are long hours. I’m writing this at 6:30AM on a weekday so you can see how much dedication a side hustle you’re passionate about requires. But most of all, it’s wildly empowering.

I also learned all about entrepreneurship. Sure, I had attended many courses during my Executive MBA where we delved into business planning and learned all about the startup process. But having my own little startup helped me look at things deeper, survey the market, research my competitors and figure out my own business strategy. Learning really begins when you start practicing.

The struggle is real

Most people start a side hustle thinking they’ll make a lot of money and it’ll be an additional income cushion. I’m sure for some it works out that way, but the sad truth is, for most it’ll either cost them money, or they’ll make a couple of hundred bucks here and there.

I invested a lot in my blog. I hired a website designer, a virtual assistant, photographers, videographers, and I pay yearly hosting fees. I don’t regret any of the money spent, but did I make enough to justify all of the expenses? I probably broke even over the years, but overall, the blog has never been a steady source of income I can rely on in case of economic downturn.

At the very beginning, I struggled to find my ‘why’, my blog’s ‘raison d’être’, my mission. I changed course multiple times, often influenced by my many arguments with friends who’d challenge me, or even at times poke fun at me for putting myself out there. After a couple of years, I finally figured out what I loved most was uplifting others, especially women. I’ve been put down so often throughout my life and my career, that I always dreamt of having other women cheering me on. I wanted to become their cheerleader. That’s when my blog became a female empowerment blog. My articles, posts and videos became dedicated to uplifting and encouraging other women, whether they were young women in university, women looking to grow their career, or entrepreneurs working hard to turn their small business into something magnificent.

What’s next?

You need a job to make ends meet. But your side hustle is where you live out your passion and truly live. It’s where I truly live.

I don’t want to wake up one day at 85 and wonder ‘what if’. What if I had pushed myself to work a little harder, grow the blog even more, put together a proper business plan?

Regret sucks. And I don’t plan on regretting anything in my life.

In a nutshell, I’m working on a lot of wonderful things for the blog and for the business I plan on it becoming. Stay tuned, subscribe to my newsletter (pretty please!) and cheer me on!

Finally, ask yourself: do you really want to live your whole life wondering ‘what if’?

You can change your life too.

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