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How To Turn A Side Hustle Into A Main Hustle (Why You Should & Why 9-5 Is Dying)

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  • Avatar The Envisionary
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  • Avatar  by The Envisionary

  • In today’s evolving job market, the 9-5 work structure is being reevaluated, and increasingly popular side hustles are becoming main hustles that offer autonomy, fulfillment, and potential prosperity.

    In today’s rapidly changing job market, the traditional 9-5 work structure is increasingly coming under scrutiny. For many, this routine represents a secure but often unfulfilling career path, leading to a growing interest in more autonomous and passion-driven work. This is where the concept of transforming a side hustle into a main hustle comes into play, offering not just an escape from the monotony of day-to-day employment but a gateway to personal fulfillment and professional freedom.

    The shift from a regular job to making a living out of a hustle project is more than a mere change of occupation; it’s a transformative journey towards personal fulfillment and autonomy.

    These ventures, often pursued with more passion and dedication, can lead to greater job satisfaction, work-life balance, and a sense of achievement that a 9-5 job may not provide. They allow individuals to tap into their creativity, leverage their skills, and build a business around what they genuinely enjoy. Hustles represent a personal venture, often born from passions or hobbies. They provide a sense of ownership and satisfaction that might be lacking in conventional employment, and hold the potential to not only supplement income but to blossom into prosperous and satisfying careers.

    Embracing your side hustle as your primary career can be a wise, fulfilling, and lucrative decision. It challenges the traditional work paradigm by showcasing the benefits of following your passion, embracing flexibility, and taking control of your professional journey.

    In today’s digital age, barriers to entrepreneurship are lower than ever. With the rise of digital technology access to global markets, diverse online platforms, and a wealth of resources fueling the gig economy, turning a side hustle into a main hustle is increasingly attainable.

    However, the journey from a side hustle to a main hustle is not without its challenges. It requires a strategic approach, careful planning, and a willingness to step out of one’s comfort zone. This article aims to demystify the process, providing a roadmap for those aspiring to make their side hustle their main source of income and satisfaction.

    We will delve into practical steps to facilitate this transition, addressing common psychological hurdles, whilst providing a comprehensive guide to help you confidently move from a stable (but often unfulfilling) 9-5 job to a thriving career rooted in your side hustle (becoming your main hustle).

    Rethinking the 9-5 Model

    mad formal executive man yelling at camera
    The 9-5 rat race can become overwhelming for many after a while

    The traditional 9-5 work model, a relic of the industrial age, has long been the standard framework for employment. However, in the current era of technological advancements and shifting work paradigms, it’s becoming increasingly important to reassess this model’s relevance and effectiveness.

    Historically, the 9-5 schedule was designed to maximize efficiency in factories and offices. This rigid structure was well-suited for an era where manual labour and repetitive tasks dominated the workforce. However, as we transition into a knowledge and service-based economy, the limitations of this model are becoming more apparent. Creative tasks, intellectual work, and service-oriented roles often do not align well with the one-size-fits-all schedule, potentially hindering productivity and innovation.

    The 9-5 model also poses challenges to achieving a healthy work-life balance. Fixed working hours can lead to a conflict between personal responsibilities and professional commitments. This rigid schedule does not account for individual differences in work habits and personal commitments, leading to increased stress and decreased job satisfaction.

    Today’s workforce is increasingly valuing flexibility, autonomy, and purpose in their work. The younger generation, in particular, is more inclined to seek work that aligns with their personal values and offers a sense of fulfillment. The 9-5 model, with its emphasis on presence over productivity, often fails to meet these evolving expectations.

    Technology has revolutionized the way we work, making it possible to be productive outside the traditional office setting and working hours. Remote work, digital communication tools, and collaborative software have shown that productivity is not confined to the 9-5 schedule or a physical office space.

    The Growing Case for Flexibility (& Side Hustles)

    As we reconsider the 9-5 model, it’s essential to understand that flexibility can lead to higher productivity, better employee morale, and a more engaged workforce. Many companies that have adopted flexible working arrangements report higher levels of employee satisfaction and reduced turnover rates.

    There is growing evidence that the 9-5 model can negatively impact physical and mental health. Long hours spent sitting in an office can contribute to a sedentary lifestyle, while the lack of flexibility can increase stress and reduce the time available for health-promoting activities like exercise, cooking healthy meals, or spending time with loved ones.

    While the 9-5 work model has been the cornerstone of employment for decades, it’s possibly time to rethink its viability in today’s dynamic world.

    Flexibility, work-life balance, and employee well-being are increasingly important factors that challenge the traditional workday’s relevance. This reevaluation paves the way for more adaptable and human-centric work models, including the possibility of turning a side hustle into a main hustle — one which can fit to our changing needs.

    Benefits of Choosing a Side Hustle Over a 9-5 Job

    woman wearing tank top sitting by the window
    Working wherever you want is a big pull towards why some people seek to hustle

    Choosing a side hustle over a traditional 9-5 job can bring numerous benefits, each contributing to a more fulfilling and balanced lifestyle. Here are some key advantages, along with examples to illustrate them:

    Personal Fulfillment – Side hustles often stem from personal passions or interests, which means the work you do is intrinsically motivating. For instance, if you’re passionate about graphic design, starting a freelance graphic design business allows you to work on projects you love, turning your creativity into your career. This kind of work often feels more rewarding than completing tasks assigned by someone else in a 9-5 job.

    Flexibility – A side hustle provides the flexibility to work according to your schedule and lifestyle needs. Take the example of a yoga instructor who starts teaching classes online. This allows them to set their own teaching hours, perhaps conducting sessions early in the morning or late in the evening, catering to international clients, and leaving the rest of the day free for other activities or family time.

    Skill Development – Running a side hustle often means wearing many hats, which accelerates the learning of new skills. For instance, someone starting an online store selling handmade crafts will not only refine their crafting skills but also learn about digital marketing, e-commerce, customer service, and perhaps even basic accounting. This multifaceted skill development is often more diverse compared to the specialized roles found in many 9-5 jobs.

    Greater Earning Potential – While a 9-5 job typically offers a fixed salary, a side hustle can lead to potentially unlimited earnings based on your effort and business growth. Consider a software developer who creates a mobile app as a side project. This app could potentially generate continuous passive income through sales or ads, surpassing what they might earn in their regular job.

    Networking Opportunities – Pursuing a side hustle often leads to new networking opportunities which might not be available in a regular job. For example, a freelance event planner will meet a variety of clients, vendors, and other professionals, expanding their network far more diversely than a 9-5 office job might allow.

    Personal Brand Building – A side hustle allows you to build your own brand, which can be a powerful asset for your career. For instance, a content writer starting a blog in a specific niche, like sustainable living, can establish themselves as an expert in that field. This personal branding can open doors to new opportunities, such as speaking engagements, book deals, or consulting work.

    Work-Life Balance – Side hustles can offer better control over work-life balance. A photographer doing weekend photoshoots, for example, can spend weekdays on personal pursuits or with family, which might be challenging in a conventional 9-5 scenario.

    Creative Control and Independence – With a side hustle, you have the autonomy to make decisions and steer your business as you see fit. A home baker, for instance, can experiment with recipes and designs, choose which orders to take, and set their business direction without needing approval from a superior.

    Why We Should Turn A Side Hustle Into A Main Hustle

    With that said, it comes as no surprise why more and more people are not just turning to side hustles, but wanting side hustles to become their main hustle.

    We often think of a side hustle as exactly that – the bit on the side to supplement our main job, rather than a gateway into a career or life we want to live. We can spend hours upon hours building up a safe nest egg only to sacrifice our longevity and motivation in the process. We see many people losing focus on their dream or vision, some who dared even dream of a vision of what they would like to shape their life and work like.

    This is largely because when we graduate from school or university we enter the real world and feel like we have to fight hard for our position or status. We suck it up, try to climb a ladder, and unknown to us think this will help us find that dream or vision down the line.

    The real school of hard knocks though is often for many the realisation that whilst experience has been gained, a vision of their potential and adaptable selves who can take on the world has been washed away behind the daily grind, and a side hustle becomes something to try and hold onto as an escape route away from the main daily job that has provided an element of security, but at a big cost to our vision.

    So, turning the screw and considering our side hustle as our main hustle, and our job as our part-time / good enough enabler, helps us reconnect our energy and drive to what matters. It helps us develop the skills we really want to (rather than feel we have to), and pushes us to ensure we can make our vision come to fruition – as if we don’t then it’s back to the main job (and a side hustle as a cling of hope at best).

    Whilst some of us may just want to keep a side hustle as a side hustle, rather than as a gateway towards building a personal vision, we can also benefit from the mindset that is developed when we have the drive to develop our own hustle into something more, so we don’t lose that side hustle (like having to drop it because we are too busy at work).

    Another good psychological standpoint is to consider any hustle you create as a project rather than a career, as otherwise your sense of being trapped in one direction can resurface again. As the gig economy expands it will feel more and more normal for most of us to live through hustles, with possibly having many side hustles to make up our work life as full-time hustlers.

    Turning a Side Hustle into a Main Hustle

    woman draw a light bulb in white board
    Every side hustle starts with an idea that calls to you

    So, how do we go about ensuring we can hustle our own hustle?!

    Making the leap from a side hustle on the side to a full-time job, to a full-time hustler is an exciting, albeit challenging, journey. It involves not just a change in how you work, but also a shift in mindset.

    Here are key steps and considerations for successfully turning your side hustle into your main hustle – whether that be through accumulating various hustles or making one passion project the main source of income over a traditional full-time 9-5 job. It may seem a little tedious at first but following these steps can help ensure your own hustling creates a lasting main hustle:

    1) Assess the Affordability & Viability of Your Hustle

    Before diving in, it’s crucial to evaluate whether your intended hustle can sustainably support you as a full-time endeavour. Assess your financial situation to ensure you have enough funds to support the transition (enough to cover your living expenses for several months), giving you a buffer period to grow your business without the pressure of immediate income. Consider using budgeting tools like Mint.com or You Need a Budget (YNAB).

    Assessing the viability includes analysing the market demand, your potential income, and growth opportunities. For example, if you’re a freelance web designer, research the market rates, your competition, and the demand for web design services. Understand your market by using tools like Google Trends and SurveyMonkey for customer insights.

    2) Create a Business Plan

    Transitioning to a full-time hustle requires careful planning. A business plan should include your business goals, target market, marketing strategy, pricing structure, and financial projections. Business plans are not like the old days (i.e. a massive bible of forecasts for investors to inspect with scrutiny). They are best thought of as fluid references that can be changed and referenced frequently, and which should be streamlined to match your adaptable needs, mantra, and vision. Use tools like Bplans.com for guidance and templates.

    You should also ensure that your business is legally and financially set up for success. This might involve registering your business, opening a separate business bank account, and understanding your tax obligations.

    3) Gradually Scale Up Your Side Hustle Into A Main Hustle

    Instead of an abrupt switch, gradually increase the time and effort you put into your main hustle. Just like how you likely gradually took on more projects or clients while still maintaining your 9-5 job to build your side hustle, you can focus on the goals of how to make that hustle the main breadwinner by seeking fewer hours at work (or finding work to complement the skills you may need to develop your main hustle), and gradually building up the foundations of the side hustle to something bigger.

    In order to build you will want to start investing in marketing and branding more. This may involve building an online presence in your own time. You could develop a website using platforms like Wix or Squarespace, utilize social media marketing tools like Hootsuite or Buffer, hire a marketing professional to increase your visibility, or just start talking about your main hustle more and more until your brain is seeing it as the main focus to develop – you could join platforms like LinkedIn for professional networking and Meetup for finding local entrepreneur groups.

    4) Manage Your Time Effectively & Energy Efficiently

    As a full-time hustling entrepreneur, you’ll need to manage your time efficiently. Tools like Trello or Asana can help keep you organized and on track. To manage your energy – a hugely important facet of your journey to transition – you should seek support and mentorship by connecting with other entrepreneurs or finding a mentor who has successfully made a similar transition. Their insights and advice can be invaluable as you navigate the challenges of running a full-time business.

    Part of this is preparing for emotional and mental shifts as moving from a side hustle to a main hustle is not just a professional change, but a personal one too. It may involve dealing with uncertainty, stress, and a significant change in your daily routine. Be prepared to adapt mentally and emotionally.

    5) Enjoy The Journey & Continuously Evaluate and Adapt

    This last step is probably the most important. If you aren’t enjoying the hustle then you will likely burnout and even wonder why you left the 9-5 ‘safe’ job in the first place. Whilst being a hustler does require sustained effort at first to build up your hustle, you have to enjoy the challenge and reward the effort (not the result). Remember why you are hustling in the first place. Create a vision board and a mantra, which will help you keep going when it feels easier to give up.

    You should also keep assessing the performance of your business and be ready to adapt your strategies. As market and consumer needs change, your flexibility is key to staying relevant and successful.

    If you need some more help in keeping motivated when hurdles arise then these resources could help:

    For Overcoming Fear: Books like “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” by Susan Jeffers can be invaluable.
    For Breaking Out of Comfort Zones: Engage in personal development courses available on platforms like Udemy or Coursera.
    For Dealing with Imposter Syndrome: Consider counselling services or self-help books; “The Imposter Cure” by Jessamy Hibberd is a recommended read.
    For Preventing Burnout: Tools like Headspace for meditation and stress management can be beneficial.

    Inspiring Stories To Keep You Going Towards That Main Hustle

    From Craft Hobbyist to E-commerce Mogul

    Julie, a graphic designer by day, started crafting handmade jewellery as a hobby. She began selling her creations on platforms like Etsy and Instagram. Her unique designs quickly gained popularity, leading her to establish her own e-commerce website. Within two years, Julie was able to quit her 9-5 job and run her jewellery business full-time, eventually expanding to sell in boutiques across the country.

    Tech Enthusiast to App Developer Success

    Kevin, a software engineer, spent his evenings developing a mobile app that simplified grocery shopping. The app gained traction after he shared it on tech forums and social media. With increasing downloads and positive feedback, Kevin secured venture capital funding, allowing him to leave his 9-5 job and focus on enhancing and marketing his app, which became a leading tool in its category.

    Blogger Turned Best-Selling Author

    Maria started a blog about healthy eating while working in a corporate job. Her blog, filled with recipes and wellness tips, gained a substantial following. Recognizing her passion and the potential of her blog, she devoted more time to it, eventually landing a book deal. Her book became a best-seller, and she now writes full-time, hosts wellness workshops, and has even launched her own line of health food products.

    Fitness Instructor’s Global Brand

    Alex, a part-time fitness instructor, began posting workout videos on YouTube for fun. As his subscriber base grew, he started offering personalized online coaching and fitness programs. His brand grew exponentially, leading him to create a fitness app and collaborate with sports brands. Alex now runs a global fitness brand, with millions following his workouts online.

    9-5 Marketing Job To Serial Side-Hustler

    David, initially in a 9-5 marketing role, skillfully expanded his career into a flourishing entrepreneurial journey, creating a diverse range of side hustles — from freelance writing and web design services to developing popular online courses and running a niche e-commerce store — ultimately weaving these ventures into a successful, full-time business empire that allowed him to leave his traditional job behind.

    These success stories illustrate the potential of turning a passion or hobby (side hustle) into a lucrative and fulfilling career. Each individual started out with a simple idea or hobby, and as they crafted their vision, with dedication and strategic planning, they were able to transition their side hustles into successful main hustles, and you can too!