When I was younger, it wasn’t out of the ordinary for me to spend my spare time practicing for drama and dance shows (I thought I was destined for the stage, ya’ll). One time, in preparation for my school’s drama show, we had a week of daily rehearsals. During this time, I was also running my own “design shop”, whereby people could fill out a little form and pay me £7 for a fully coded and designed website (I was ripping myself off). Away from this, I’d make free graphics and tutorials for people to use on their own websites and write up blog posts now and again about who was pissing me off at school. I was a well oiled busy-body machine and I absolutely loved it. I remember telling a friend at the time how much I was loving life because I was so busy, and she sort of looked at me like I was crazy for getting such a kick out of it.
Now that I’m older and I actually know the real meaning on being busy, I appreciate quiet days where I don’t have to do anything, but the fact still remains that I’m almost always doing something “else”.
When I was very young this something “else” was writing stories, sometime into my teens I dropped in athletics, dance & drama to the mix, I was into coding & designing websites throughout, and now this blog & social media serve as my primary side hustle, not withstanding the fact that I am forever dabbling in behind-the-scenes side hustles that do and don’t come to fruition.
I never really saw the value in the things I was doing until I went to a BME Entrepreneurship panel organised by my uni in 2015, and learned that people were actually taking their “side” hustles into “full-time hustle” territory – actually, a lot of people were doing this. Cue: getting organised with my blog (the “rebirth”) and putting my business hat on. The second point of realisation for me was actually when I started work, and I realised how much I valued having time to work on something outside of the office, and how therapeutic it started to become to dedicate a lot of my time into growing this platform. Cue: splitting my life up into two clearly defined sections – there’s the full-time hustle i.e. a city girl in the office at a desk for a very considerable amount of hours 5 times a week, the one that monitors things like bond spreads and Fed announcements (kind of different to what you see here), and then the part-time hustle, the one that spews advice and lifestyle posts out onto the interwebs with a carefully curated Instagram feed, usually all done from the comfort of my own bed, dining table, or the local Costa. Right now, the full-time hustle pays the bills and stacks up the savings, the part-time hustle pays for extra treat yo’ selves and makes me very happy.
Of course – a side hustle doesn’t necessarily have to be linked to money or starting some type of business, in my opinion a side hustle can be a simple as taking up a sport outside the office, perhaps taking up photography, learning a new language… In my opinion, a side hustle can be as simple as anything that is developing you in another way that is outside of the confines of the classroom, your desk, or whatever the thing status quo thing is that you’re doing that probably takes up most of your time.
So what’s the big deal?
In this day and age, the internet makes a lot possible. Essentially, if there’s a passion you want to live out, you can likely do it with minimal costs and barriers to entry by setting something up online. Say your passion is comedy – you don’t necessarily have to wait for a stage, just grab a camera and start filming. Side hustles allow you to live out little passions in life that you may have outside of school or your 9-5. Also – side hustles develop you in different ways. Owning Skylish has not only developed me in terms of writing, it has also made me have to a little savvier when it comes to getting organised and balancing different things I’m working on as I have to find sufficient time for it. It’s trained me up a little in terms of the more professional aspect – connecting with brands, negotiating and putting together timely sponsored content that satisfies both the brand and readers (I’m almost like a middle man) and its also given me a little bit more of a sense of identity. It’s my platform which I built “by me”, and there’s not tons of things that I can really call just mine.
This is why, if you ever hear me speak, you’ll probably know that I go on about the importance of balancing work/life. I was actually on a work-related panel recently speaking to some students about Investment Banking and a student asked a question addressing the whole work-life balance area to which somebody jumped in and dismissed it as an unimportant worry – but actually I wanted to shout that I think it’s so important. There are so many to develop yourself into a well-rounded person (and perhaps have perhaps multiple stream of income) and that’s not necessarily going to be possible if there’s no way to balance everything.
Honestly, if I didn’t see any importance in a side hustle, I think I’d probably be a lot more crazy than I already am, and a lot less interesting than I already am not.