It is very common these days to have more than one thing going on–as in, multiple personas that you identify with. Take my best friend, Cristina Hoyt–she is a Philadelphia-based Yoga Instructor, Health coach-in-training, & an Accountant for a Fortune-500 company. Or Emily Morrison, who just ascended to the heavens after a 2-year-struggle with a rare and in-operable brain tumor, was a Financial Advisor in her 9-to-5, but a top campaign fundraiser for the National Brain Tumor Society and a globe-trotting advocate for StupidCancer, an organization for supporting young adults with cancer.
There are so many ways to connect with one’s passion and even make some capital on the side. “Recession-proofing” is what Kimberly Palmer calls this new-age phenomenon, as in, your fall-back income in case anything were to happen to your bread-and-butter operation. Palmer knows a thing or two about career multi-tasking–she is the author of The Economy of You (among others), is an entrepreneur of a line of financial planners available through Etsy, and a public speaker on the subject of empowering one’s self through money management.
In Economy, Palmer demystifies what it means to identify your passions and how to hold down a successful business on the side through her own personal experiences and the stories of others in amidst the hustle. Many that she mentions were able to kick their full-time to make their living ‘living the dream,’ so-to-speak. Some commonalities I found that stood out from the most successful side-gigger-turned-solopreneurs in Economy:
1. They Know Thyself–i.e., what their passion is, why they are doing it, and how they work best. Knowing what drives you and why you are doing it keeps you going long after the novelty and caffeine have worn off.
2. They Get Up Early (or Stay Up Really, Really, Late) — I recommend the former option. With the workday grind and after-hours activities comes fatigue and often times after 7 you are un-motivated to pursue your passion. Do yourself a favor and set the alarm. At least if the rest of the day does not go according to plan, you will have banged out a blog post, a three mile run, or completed that online course.
3. They Ask and Receive Help (When They Need It) — There is no substitution for a well-built support system. Your spouse or significant other, parents, friends, & mentors in your corner are more valuable than ever when you are finding your footing in the work-life balance. Also those in the online community via forums and Facebook groups can lend their voice when you are in need of answers or just an echo of encouragement.
If it was easy, then everyone would be doing it. And though many are, it is worth keeping in mind that few are doing it well and sustaining their side-project successfully. Practiced more frequently in cities like D.C. (Palmer’s residence) and New York, urban proximity is by no means a pre-requisite due to the myriad of online resources that allow you to get yourself self-employed in no time flat. Sites like LegalZoom can get you an LLC for less than $100. Scott Dinsmore of Live Your Legend offers downloadable goal-setting worksheets for the price of an e-mail address. And the growing popularity of sites like Fiverr (where users can post and search for services for $5 a pop), Elance (a platform for freelance writers, designers, marketers, & programmers), & Etsy for DIY and hand-made goods, are all proof that the era of entrepreneurship is here. Either that, or everyone just got sick of responding invariably to the age-old ice-breaker, “Sooo, what do you do?”