My name is Veronica, and I suppose I could introduce myself as a member of Side Hustle Anonymous. I spent the last 10 years rising up the corporate ladder, all while owning multiple online businesses, founding a brick-and-mortar company, and creating two human beings. Just this month, I finally made the jump to go full-time as the president of our company LoSoMo (without outside funding), and let me tell you, it feels good.
Wondering how you can turn a little something-something extra into your one-and-only, full-time job? You’ll eventually find your own way but I’ll share my story in hopes that it helps you.
Find Your Hustle
It’s no secret that I am a Google-loving, case-study-consuming, social-media-stalking SEO nerd. After graduating from college, I dove headfirst into an online marketing career, and my passion was ignited. 10 years later, I still can’t get enough.
I attribute a big piece of my success to doing something I'm already good at. You can spend a crazy amount of time working on what you sort-of, kind-of get and go from a D-grade to maybe a C-grade OR you can invest in what comes naturally to you and go from a B-grade to an A+++ grade. I love marketing. It speaks to me. I loved my consumer behavior classes in college, and I love reading what Google and Facebook are doing next to connect with users. I don’t get sick of it.
What are you passionate about? What drives you?
Though it’s a necessary part of the equation, passion doesn’t equal success. Finding and filling a gap is another key element for a successful hustle.
Use my story as an example. LoSoMo is an SEO and digital marketing company but there are thousands of SEO companies out there. What could we bring to the table that actually made us stand out?
I grew up watching my mom and dad run their own AC business out of their garage, and they solely relied on the Yellow Pages for business. Despite owning the latest and greatest iPhones and smart TVs, they knew nothing about digital marketing. They weren't the only small business shy of digital marketing. Offering affordable services to those mom and pop businesses who don’t have the time to tackle it on their own—that would be our niche. We get it, so they don't have to.
Find your passion. Find your niche. Find your hustle.
For the past few years, I was basically working three full-time jobs: managing a department in the corporate scene, advising a flourishing side business, and being mimi to one then two littles. Trying to be a functioning, healthy, and happy human on top of all that was the biggest challenge. The solution: clear boundaries. Early on, I set aside specific time to work on corporate projects and personal projects, and I stuck to that schedule. (My color-coded calendar is truly everything.) When I came home from work, I was full-on mom and wife. No emails, no calls, no work. Here was a typical day doing all things for all people:
6am – 8am: mom + wife
8 am – 12 pm: corporate worker bee
12 pm – 1 pm: me time aka gym time
1 pm – 5 pm: corporate worker bee
5 pm – 8 pm: mom + wife
8 pm – 11 pm: wife + side hustle
Of course, there were nights that my kids kept me up ALL night. Nights where I could not sleep, side hustle ideas pouring out, and I was making note after note on my phone. Days where my side hustle provided me speaking opportunities that required PTO submissions to my corporate job. Eating literally on the run always. You name it. I wasn’t great at all things on all days.
Don’t stress it too much: even superheroes have their bad days, and each day means a new beginning. None of it is an exact science, but setting obvious boundaries and trying to stick to them allowed me to streamline my focus and make the most of each of my roles.
I love me a Netflix binge as much as the next gal, but I attribute a lot of my success to cutting TV and other unnecessary diversions out of my life. Determining my priorities was inherent to managing a rewarding corporate job, a thriving side hustle, and a growing family.
TV? Didn’t need it.
Time for myself? Yes, please.
Early morning workout? Sleep more critical.
Seven hours of sleep? 100%.
I found the balance between what I needed to do, what I should do, and what I wanted to do. Sure, going for a run in the morning is healthy, but I’d much rather spend my time cooking healthy meals for my family. That’s my priority.
Go through your list and see where you can make cuts. Making sure that every minute of your time is used in a meaningful way is the foundation for getting things done.
Does this mean you can never take a break or just do nothing? No. If that is what you need, then that’s what you do. But you’ll catch me reading another business book on our family’s cruise, instead of the next US Weekly.
It’s up to you to determine your priorities and what is important to you—both on the job and off.
I believe that life is meant to be enjoyed. That said, hard work isn’t always enjoyable. When you take the time to celebrate even the littlest wins, it makes a big difference. Leave a positive sticky note on a hard-working employee's desk. Bring in cookies to the office after you make a sale. Take yourself out to lunch after finally wrapping up that email you’ve been avoiding. A win is a win. Why not celebrate?
There’s a good chance you’ll run into failure on the road to success, probably more than once. If you make the effort to celebrate your wins all along the way, it will be that much easier to pick yourself up and keep on keeping on. And if you can’t see the light, surround yourself with people that do.
My tribe is my everything. My husband is a business junkie like I am, my parents are my first entrepreneurial role models, my girlfriends break glass ceilings better than I do, and my three year old tells me everyday “I’m proud of you mimi.”
Life is too short to surround yourself with people who feel success is only finite. Kick the haters, surround yourself with believers and celebrate together.
Make It Happen
Turning my side hustle into a company that can support my family and lifestyle wasn't easy, but I did it, and so can you. Literal blood, sweat, and tears have gone into making this work, but every sacrifice has been well worth the effort.
If there is something that you are passionate about that fills a specific and clear need, you’re well on your way. Take the time right now to set boundaries, determine priorities and start celebrating wins (and when you’re uber successful, I do expect a thank you note. 😉 )
Related: How to Stay Healthy on Your Grind