Why a Side Hustle Worked out Better for Me than Taking It full time

Photo by eggeegg

Are you like me and crave change? I can’t handle things staying the same for too long. I needed to make a big change in my life. And boy did I do just that.

Haircut? Check. Trip across the world? Double Check. Quitting my full-time “big girl” job with no real plan in place? YOU BETCHA.

Around this time last year I made a pretty big decision in my life; I was going to quit my full-time job as a marketing and events coordinator and pursue my own thing on a full-time freelance basis. This is something people had been telling me to do for a really long time. I already had several side hustles as a content creator and workshop host, and I was making decent money. Plus, I had connections around the city and around the world for bringing in more income.

People kept saying to me, “if anyone can do it, you can.”

This was a huge confidence boost and ultimately led me to making the decision. I had a support system ready to help me out in every way possible. Before my last day at my full-time job, I already had three contracts lined up for freelance work; it seemed like everything was going to be perfect.

Let’s fast forward four months later. A job pops up that days “DIY writer” and I am very curious. While I wasn’t looking for a full-time job, I often searched keywords in job search engines to see what was out there. Things like “DIY”, “arts and crafts”, and “beer” were common things I’d be searching. I mean, if I was going to go back to full-time work, i had to have passion, right?

So I pursued that role, and eventually I was offered a position. It took me a few days to make the decision.

Did I really want to give up everything I’d built over the last few months and go back to full-time work? Did that make me a failure? What would people think?!

After chatting with my mentor, breaking the news to my friends, and getting support from my partner and family, I knew this was the next step in my career I needed. I was worried that I’d get bored quickly and that things would just go back to the way they were. Heck, even after four months of working for myself, I was starting to feel the same patterns happening once again.

I began to realize the problem wasn’t the job, but the way I was approaching it. So, when it came time to go back to a full-time job, I knew I needed a new perspective to really make it worth my while.

Now eight months into my full-time job, with my side hustles still alive and kicking, I’m confident that having my projects as side hustles are much more beneficial to me than having them full-time, at least for now.

There is still so much about entrepreneurship and business-owning that I need to learn, even if this is my third or fourth time owning a business. I’m coming to realize that there’s nothing wrong with being an employee first, and an entrepreneur second. That I don’t have to own an accomplished business before I turn 30. That my 20s should be spent learning from the best, and that it doesn’t hurt to have an income while you start a company. Failing is acceptable.

I think my biggest concern going into a role that is so closely relate to my side hustle was getting bored. Would I want to write when I got home? Would I want to make crafts when I’ve spent all day looking at them? Would my side hustles suffer because I was too tired after work to do anything but watch tv with my boyfriend and play with our dog?

The short answer? Yes, to all of the above!

Having a side hustle on top of a full-time job has definitely been no walk in the park. But taking my side hustle full-time had its own set of challenges. Challenges that I knew I could work through, but challenges maybe I wasn’t ready to take on. I believe in my business, and I know it has potential but I wasn’t ready to truly meet that potential, and I still don’t fully feel ready either.

I’m pretty confident in saying the biggest issue freelancers and self-employed people face is financial struggles. When I made the decision to quit my full-time job, I took a look at my bank account and decided that my savings would be enough. I didn’t fully think out  a proper business plan, I just took on clients and prayed that they would pay me on time. Luckily for me, 90% of the time they did. Businesses often pay their contractors in weird ways and there were times I was waiting on money for weeks or even months. Heck, there were even times where I wasn’t getting paid at all.

A steady paycheque through a full-time job is SO NICE. Especially if you’re building a business at the sametime. Workshops and content creation are not cheap. I have to buy A LOT of supplies to make them happen. Which means I’m digging into those savings A LOT. But, because of my steady full-time job paycheque, it doesn’t feel as heartbreaking whenever I spent $200+ at Michaels.

I didn’t really realize it until I started this new job, but man am I a people person. My dog is my best friend, but that doesn’t mean I should be spending every waking hour with her. I feed off the energy of people around me, and I can slack off real easily if I’m distracted. When I was working at home I’d do all the fun stuff and none of the boring stuff. I’d take photos, write, or make a craft, but ignore my email inbox, never do any business development, or think about finances.

Having people around me gives me structure. Having someone to rely on other than myself gives me purpose. Having someone to run over to whenever something crazy happens gives me happiness. So working with a bunch of rad people has been better than I could have ever imagined. It’s helped to keep me motivated and in line, and that has split over into my work on my side hustle.

One of the other things I didn’t realize was that I wasn’t meeting the right people. I was so focused on making money, I was taking on jobs that paid the bills rather than jobs that I wanted to be doing. I fell back into what was familiar, rather than where I wanted to be going. I needed to find a whole new network of people, but wasn’t able to spend the money on networking events, or the time to really put into finding those people.

That was one of the biggest reasons I made the jump to full-time work. My full-time job is so closely related to my side hustle that I knew I’d be learning everyday, and meeting people in the industry constantly. Everything I do, and everyone I meet at work has some sort of impact on my side hustle. And those people have the network of people I want to be around. Need some advice on creating video? I have a whole team of editors I can ask. Want someone to look at a contract, I’ve got tons of eyes willing to lend a hand.

In a world where something like 75% of employees have a side hustle outside of work, people are always willing to lend a helping hand. That’s what’s always been so wonderful about working full-time while having a side hustle, your support network is that much bigger.

So if you’re thinking about starting a side hustle or thinking about taking a side hustle full time, take a look at this unpopular opinion. This does not mean one will work better for you than the other. I’m not suggesting that no one should ever take their side hustle full-time, that would be ridiculous. Instead, I’m saying that the grass isn’t always greener, and sometimes it’s about making smaller changes to the way you work than it is about making a huge lifestyle change by quitting your full-time job and becoming a full-time entrepreneur.

If you ever want to bounce ideas off of me, I’m here to listen. I would never have been able to make all these decisions without a support system around me, and lots of ears becoming my sounding board. Shoot me a message on social media and let’s get chatting!