Career Advice

5 Secrets of My Side Hustle

5 Secrets of My Side Hustle

I’ve always, ALWAYS had side goals outside of my 9 to 5. I want to accomplish a lot in life and find that doing so is uniquely challenging and rewarding. Whenever I push myself, I get closer and closer to knowing my true potential and finding out who I really am. On my hustle docket these days is successfully run a blog (writing, photography, email, social media marketing), become fluent in French by next Spring and finish my first book in 2017.

It’s a lot, I know. And I haven’t always been the most successful at accomplishing side goals. I mean, day jobs are tiring and all I want to do on the weekend is relax. But slowly I’ve learned what I need to do to motivate myself, keep going and I’m currently in the best place I’ve ever been for getting shiz done. Let’s hashtag that, #gettingshizdone.

I’ve learned a few pieces from other bloggers and feel like it’s my time to contribute knowledge to the #hustlebird community. The truth is that any and all advice is not necessarily meant for you and will not be compatible with your lifestyle. So the best you can do is find a few tips here and there and compile them into what works best. Yes, Beyonce may have the same amount of hours in the day as you (oh, and a staff of about 200), but you have the help of your fellow hustlers.

Here are the five tips that have helped me the most:

1. Get Up Early/ Reduce Your Sleep Time

This has been the biggest game changer for me, and I’m not even a morning person. But getting up a 4 AM and reducing my sleep time to 6-7 hours has given me more energy and also a dedicated time to get things done when my mind feels fresh and I have no distractions. When I relegated my side hustle to after work hours, I had to deal with feeling tired, feeding the dogs, wanting to chat with LIL when he got home and any number of social activities on the agenda.  Simply put, no one bothers me between 4-6 AM and I never feel like I should be doing something other than working on my hustle.

For the seriously stalwart non-morning people (yes, I fall in that category), one of my tricks for making myself get out of bed is to think of something I will do immediately after waking up that is either low impact or enjoyable. For instance, sometimes I start by watering the flowers or catching up one of my favorite shows while I clean out my inbox.

And for those of you that like to hit the snooze button and sleep in an extra hour, I’ve been there too. But I realized that getting an extra hour of sleep doesn’t do anything for me. I don’t feel more rested, I’m never able to fully relax during the extra hour and I just get up at 5 AM feeling like I’ve wasted an hour of my life neither sleeping or working. And I remind myself of this every time the alarm clock starts blaring at 4.

2. Work at a Stand Up Desk

I’ll admit, I was doubtful about this advice at first. Especially because I built a cutesy little stand up desk in my office and ended up NEVER using it. But a lot of my coworkers continually extolled the benefits of these desks when it comes to their productivity, so I thought maybe I just had weak legs or something and don’t like standing.

WRONG! Turns out my stand up desk was just a little too high and lowering it one inch (yes, one tiny, insignificant inch) has done wonders for my productivity during the day. Use this handy dandy graphic to find the right height for you:

3. Go to the Gym

Going to the gym gives you the same energy boost as waking up early, but you can’t substitute one for the other. Getting up early gives you extra time to side hustle and working out clears your mind and allows you to focus on the tasks at hand. Exercise also improves my overall mood, making me happier and feeling like I can accomplish more.

For the anti-gym people (again, me), remember to focus on the low impact activities that surround getting up, like putting your shoes on. Or watering the flowers and giving the puppies some love. Then once you’re fully awake and dressed, working out will seem like a natural next step. IMPORTANT, give yourself 30 minutes or so to actually be awake before you leave for the gym. If working out seems unpleasant and painful to you, the prospect of working out will seem infinitely worse when you’re sleepy and still lying in bed.

4. Set Mini Goals

I make it a point to think about my larger, broader goals infrequently even though they’re constantly in the back of my mind. Part of the reason is because those goals terrify me and riddle me with self-doubt, but the other reason is that they distract from accomplishing the day-to-day. And let’s be blunt, if you ignore the day-to-day while fixating on future plans, those plans will never come to fruition.

For instance, I could have a lot of big goals for this blog like make it self-supporting, have 100,000 pageviews a month, become a YouTube celebrity, etc. But if I don’t write the dang posts, none of those things will EVER happen. So I choose to focus on writing one blog post a week with the overall goal of improving my writing and photography skills (small goal).

5. Be Flexible

The bigger you dream, the more likely it is that you will fail. And you need to be okay with failure in order to keep going. I don’t meet every goal I set for myself, regardless of the scale. Mostly because I’m a human being and sometimes I get tired or don’t feel inspired or just want to hang out with LIL and the puppies. The point is, I’m not going to beat myself up for having the wants and needs of a normal person. You need to find a space and a rhythm that allows you to be productive, but also allows you to be human.

Another aspect to being flexible is that I don’t have a set schedule for when I wake up at 4 AM (except on Tuesday, that’s blog post day). I can work on my book, power through an hour of French or plan my editorial calendar for the blog, whichever I most WANT to do that morning. This helps keep me excited and inspired because I’m not forcing myself to do anything.

Hope that was helpful #hustlebirds, I’m looking forward to seeing what you create during your hustle time 🙂 And if you have any productivity tips to share, leave them in the comments so I can give them a try!


If you’re in need of a little more career advice, check out my post on getting your dream job. And if you’re feeling friendly, give me a follow on Bloglovin’!