Find Energy for Your Side-Hustle
Most people can’t survive more than three months without an income before their belongings get repossessed.
If you’ve been reading Blaze Your Own for a while, you’ll know I’ve talked about the benefits of creating a side business. It's obvious that relying on a single source of income makes you pretty damn vulnerable.
Now I’m not Gary Vaynerchuck – I can’t work 18 hours a day without killing myself. But one thing I have done all my adult life is to work one job plus one or more side-hustles at the same time. I’ve never wanted to rely solely on one company for my income.
Doing that today is much easier, thanks to this thing called the Internet, where almost anyone can create side-hustles from their kitchen table. I covered some examples in earlier posts, and the world is awash with ideas on different hustles you can pursue.
Still, the one thing I hear time and again is, “After slaving away at my job all day, I just don’t have the energy to do anything else when I get home!”
I get it. It’s hard. And if you have a family or you commute long distances to work, it’s REALLY hard.
But if you want to develop a second income or you dream of eventually ditching the job, you’re just going to have to find it. Believe me, it was so much harder 20 years ago when cheap computers, smartphones, the Internet and social media didn’t exist.
So what to do isn’t what we’re talking about today. Rather, mustering up the energy to do it is. The ideas below probably won’t return you to pre-20 energy levels, but they’ll go a long way to making your trailblazing dreams a little more plausible.
Let’s talk about the five things that are probably robbing you of your energy, and subsequently, your ability to put in the kind of work that’s going to be needed to work on your side-hustle.
Make Sure You Love It
Trust me, there will be setbacks, disappointments, and screw-ups. If you’re doing something just for the money, you’ll almost certainly fail. Worse, you’ll have wasted your time on something you shouldn’t have started when that time could have been put to something you would have enjoyed.
I can’t stress this one enough. It’s why high-flying corporates burn out. It’s why lawyers, senior VPs and captains of industry quit their careers.
If you do something you genuinely enjoy; something that falls easily to hand – something you’d almost do for free, you’ll make it through the grind. In fact, it probably won’t even feel like work.
If you’re going to create a side-hustle, pick something you’ll happily do for a year or two before it turns a buck. This decision alone will give you most of the energy you’ll need to keep going when no one’s paying attention.
Sleep Early – Start Early
Whether you’re a ‘morning person’ or not, science has proven that most people’s brains produce peak creative energy in the first few hours of the day.
Rising early each day to work on your side-hustle also has the added benefit of boosting the rest of your day. Knowing that you’ve put in a couple of hours towards your business before you head off to your day job is great for your morale. You feel you’re making progress.
It allows you to focus on the work required to generate your primary source of income without wishing you were somewhere else for nine hours a day.
I recommend writing a schedule for your whole day, including everything that matters to you. Mine covers each ‘segment' of my day, including when to wake, when to exercise, when to write and when to spend time with my kids. It includes reading, breaks, meals and sleep.
The bottom line is, you shouldn't mess with sleep. If you want to live a better life, and especially if you want to ‘crush it' and be super-productive during the day, this is one the single greatest life hacks you can master.
“The way to a more productive, more inspired, more joyful life is getting enough sleep.” – Arianna Huffington (co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post)
Get Off Your Arse
Sitting is the new smoking…and drinking and over-eating and womanizing, and about a dozen other things.
Sitting all day affects your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure, and its capacity to metabolize fat. If you sit for more than six hours a day, your risk of heart disease goes up more than 60%, you increase your risk of cancer and it shaves years off your lifespan.
So, it’s very bad, then.
If your job requires that you sit on your arse all day, you’ll know what it does to your energy levels. It obliterates them. So what should you do?
I have two very simple tips. Walk at least twice a day for twenty minutes each time (I do it at 8:00 am and 6:00 pm); and get yourself a stand-up desk so you can stand and work at different intervals throughout the day.
A stand-up desk needn’t be a glamorous affair. I bought a fancy electric one with presets for my two favourite positions but you can buy a simple mechanical thing that sits on top of your desk so you can raise the area with your computer on it. Don’t stand all day, though – alternate from standing to sitting every couple of hours for the full benefit.
Almost immediately, I promise you’ll notice a change in your energy levels. And as a bonus, it won’t be your sedentary lifestyle that shortens your lifespan but all the extra booze and junk food you’ll justify consuming.
Just a 2% drop in your fluid levels constitutes dehydration. Dehydration reduces your cognitive power and as a result, your productivity plummets.
Many of us reach for coffee or energy drinks when our energy levels drop, but more than likely the real culprit is a lack of water.
Dehydration is such an easy thing to combat just by upping your daily intake of water. The key is awareness and working towards developing the habit of drinking more.
- Keep a bottle of water on your desk or workbench. Chances are you will develop the habit of sipping it frequently.
- Don’t drink chilled water. Your body won’t absorb it until it reaches body temperature and you’ll waste energy just heating it up in your stomach.
- Watch what you snack on – replace dry snacks with fruit. Keep a fruit bowl on your desk so that reaching for a piece of fruit becomes habitual.
- Be aware that caffeine and alcohol are diuretics – they simply make you pee more, so you lose fluids more quickly. Restrict their intake.
- Sip a glass of water with your meals. Not only will your intake of fluids increase but you will also eat more slowly and feel fuller sooner.
Chronic mild dehydration and inadequate fluid intake create an increased risk of kidney stones, urinary tract cancers, colon cancer, mitral valve prolapse as well as diminished physical and mental performance. See https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/water for more.
Forget Perfect. Aim for Done.
I’m a perfectionist, but I’m trying to grow out of it. Perfectionism saps energy by slowing progress and diminishing pleasure. And if you no longer enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll find a dozen ways to quit.
Rather than demand perfection, seek execution. You can always polish things later. No one’s going to criticize you. At least you’re doing something. You’re making progress.
Besides, your version of ‘good enough’ is probably someone else’s version of awesome. By all means, do good work, but don’t become so obsessed with the minutia, lest you decide it’s all too hard and give up.
Starting a side business isn’t easy. But the beauty of it is, you can start small, and you can take all the time you need. No one’s standing over you with a gun, a whip, and a chair.
By taking small, deliberate steps each day towards your dream, you’ll find yourself in that rare group of people who started something they cared about and didn’t give up on it. That alone is pretty satisfying. But more than that, the world – the market – values consistency. It rewards persistence.
Many of the world’s greatest businesses started in garages and on kitchen tables.
Often, they began with very simple goals, predicated on serving a particular niche in a particular way. Yours might work, or it might not work. But if you believe in what you’re doing and you enjoy doing it, you’ve already won.
If you persist with it and you listen to what the market tells you, and you iterate as you go, you’ll probably wake up one day to the life you always dreamed about.
The question is, will you do what’s necessary to fuel this dream with the energy it requires?
Tools and resources for entrepreneurs that I use myself.
Books for Entrepreneurs in the New Economy
Choose Yourself – James Altucher
James's unique perspective on life, wealth, business and employment is an eye-opener. A brilliant mind.
Do the Work: Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way – Steven Pressfield
Steven forces us to face a simple truth: it's not about better ideas, but rather, actually doing the work.
The 4-Hour Work Week – Tim Ferris
Tim's book is responsible for fuelling much of today's solopreneur phenomenon. A must-read.
Tools of Titans
Tim Ferris's tome covering many of the best lessons gleaned from billionaires, icons, and peak performers.
The $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau
Chris debunks the old myth, “It takes money to make money,” with plenty of examples to relate to.
Purple Cow – Seth Godin
Seth is a pioneer from the earliest days of the Internet and a trailblazer in today's ‘connection economy'. Read everything he writes. Seriously.
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook – Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary V is loud, rant-prone and tends to swear a lot. But no one knows social media better. Read and learn.
The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything – by Sir Ken Robinson
Sir Ken is a remarkable thinker in the areas of education and nurturing one's innate talents. His TED talk is incredible and has been watched almost 43 million times.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope we get to hang out more in the future. And in the meantime, please feel free to share your own experiences. You can email me directly at email@example.com. I respond to all emails. If this was beneficial to you, please consider subscribing and sharing with someone you think would also benefit.
Disclaimer & Disclosure: I'm not a psychologist and I'm not a financial advisor's elbow. This material doesn't constitute financial advice but rather a collection of personal opinions, based on my own experiences. Some of the links on my site are affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. I provide links to services or products I have used and liked or researched and recommend. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you believe they will be beneficial to you.
Also published on Medium.