When I was in my final year at university, I found myself watching a panel to do with entrepreneurship. A few people on the panel had gotten their start with blogs/websites, and it truly inspired me to pick up the quality on my blog. I had made a bit of money through my blog before, but nothing substantial and nothing that ever pointed to me not turning up to the grad offer I had waiting around the corner.
For a little while, I considered that one day I could be a full-time blogger. That said, once I started work, and I was splitting my energy between blogging (back then, twice a week), and going to and from the office, I thought that unless something really substantial changed, I really didn’t mind the balance. My blog was my side hustle, and I felt as though I had enough time to do it well in and around my work. I’ve always thrived on having a lot to do with my time, before “side hustle” became a mainstream concept, so going between the 2 felt like a perfect balance to me.
As time went on, I picked up more hobbies, and balancing everything on one plate became a lot harder. I started going to the gym religiously back in 2018, and 4-years later, I’m still in there ~5x a week. I also tried to start my own fashion label around about the same time. Blogging, gyming, trying to get a business started and working in an intense job, it all got on top of me eventually and by 2019, I was suffering a full year of burnout.
Over the years since I first went to that entrepreneurship panel, the narrative around 9-5s had turned increasingly negative. Working for somebody else and not having control of your own timetable? The internet collectively decided – this certainly wasn’t it. I remember when I worked to start that fashion label, I dragged it out for way longer than I should (after deciding it wasn’t for me), for the sole purpose of feeling like if all I was doing with my life was this 9-5, it was totally inadequate.
There is a beauty in the risk, the freedom, and the ownership of starting your own thing. There is nothing quite like having something of your own – and if it is successful, it makes it 10x better. It’s why I’ve had Skylish, and over the years have started a web-design company (ages 15-18), this (unlaunched) fashion label (2018-2019, RIP), a fitness page (2018-2020, RIP), and finally Soulful Kitchen (est. 2022). What do you call it? A “serial sidehustler”?
That said, whilst I’ve always kept up the side of myself that does want to do more, and that does have all of these creative ideas that I do want to get out there, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve also learned to appreciate 9-5s more.
For one – not everybody necessarily wants to be an entrepreneur. Just like, not everybody wants to be influential online, with tons of followers. And not everybody in the world can be an entrepreneur – it makes no sense to put down 9-5s, when you probably one day want to hire somebody to work 9-5 for your future business. Starting a business is tough, too – not all will be the next Gymshark. Working a corporate job allows you to have a steady income, and it’s not a lonely endeavour. You can also get some seriously well paid 9-5s (I use “9-5” loosely as your hours are most likely longer) – and no, it’s not just in tech.
In my case, my corporate job has really pushed me out of my comfort zone. It has allowed me to meet so many different types of people from around the world. It allows me to travel for free, abroad, frequently. And it has given me the monetary means to save healthily, invest, start Soulful Kitchen, get on the property ladder and even buy myself a few fancy things along the way.
At the same time, 9-5s can also mean working with people you don’t f* with, under working cultures you don’t agree with, potentially in a job you quite frankly don’t even like. 9-5s don’t mean ultimate stability either, depending on your industry, you can frequently find yourself in a very “wobbly” position. Sometimes this can get frustrating, especially if you’re not getting the income you feel you deserve, and somebody does a TikTok dance and walks away with a million dollar contract with a top brand.
Basically – I think there are positives in both, and one is not necessarily better than the other (unless you happen to build the next Microsoft or Uber).
I get both sides, and I think there needs to be a balance in the discussions. It’s not all roses on one side, and doom, gloom and shame on the other. There is a place for both and ways to learn and grow via both routes.
So, whichever path you choose to go down, do it with your chest and do it because you wanted to, not because the internet told you one thing or another. Plus, be malleable, your current situation doesn’t have to be your situation forever. At the peak of it all – as long as you are happy and comfortable with your choices, what else really matters?