An Open Letter to Your Side Hustle
August 18, 2016

An Open Letter to Your Side Hustle

by Brian de Haaff

Dear Side Hustle,

Hey, how have you been? Sorry I have not been around much lately — you know, the day job! Crazy hours. Believe me, I can’t wait to get back and spend more time with you. It’s not you, really. It’s me. I promise to see you when I finish this report for my boss. Until then…

It seems like everywhere you look these days there is another article on the “side hustle.” Maybe it’s the fascination with the “gig economy.” Whatever you call it, it’s a new name for an old construct. Supplemental work can help with extra income. But it can also be the sign of a career crisis — your side hustle might be your true calling.

If you are daydreaming about your side hustle (when you should be finishing reports for your boss), you probably feel pulled between the security of your day job and the excitement of your after-hours efforts.

Even worse, if your employer is unaware of the side job you could lose their trust (and your job). However, let’s imagine that you have been upfront with your boss and they are tolerant of the outside work.

If your side hustle is where your passion truly lies, it deserves the opportunity to become the main event.

Yes, it will feel risky. And yes, it will be hard. But your side hustle deserves serious consideration for your love. Because if you continue to split work and passion into distinct pieces, you will:

Ignore potential Right now, you can only devote leftover scraps of time and energy to your true passion. And that is not enough to fairly gauge whether you could be a success. You will never know what is possible unless you give the side hustle your full attention and effort. Embrace the potential of what could be and you might just achieve it.

Cheat yourself Your day job may satisfy financial needs, but it does nothing to relieve that gnawing sense that something is missing. You deserve work that thrills you and challenges you. Life is short — do not rob yourself. Move on from your dead-end day job. If your passion project is not earning enough to support you just yet, take on a less demanding part-time job that will allow you to focus on what’s next.

Give in to fear Change can be frightening. And sometimes it feels safer and smarter to stick with the status quo than to take a big risk. But if you keep to the safe route, you will shortchange your dreams. Do not allow all those “what-ifs” and worries to crowd in and win. Follow through wholeheartedly — with conviction — and do not give in to fear.

Waste time You may believe that you have all the time in the world to pursue your passion. But dreaming about something is not the same as doing it. Without action, dreams fade. Don’t get caught up in the false safety of that day job and lose precious time that you could have spent doing something meaningful. Take hold of opportunity before it passes.

Now I am not suggesting that you do anything rash, like hand in your notice tomorrow. But give your side hustle real consideration and you might find a way to make it the job you really desire.

Get past the wishing and explore the possibilities — then make a real plan for success. Take control of your future. Write down your vision and the goals you must achieve to get there. Hold yourself accountable for reaching them.

Your side hustle is impatiently waiting for your full attention. But you must start believing in yourself to make it your full-time thing.

Do you know anyone who has truly pursued their side hustle?

Brian de Haaff

Brian de Haaff

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 product development software — and the author of the bestseller Lovability and The Startup Adventure newsletter. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the journey of pursuing a meaningful life.

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