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The ‘Stress-Free Side Hustle’ Is Not a Thing

The ‘Stress-Free Side Hustle’ Is Not a Thing

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Self-help and service-based literature do would-be entrepreneurs a disservice by casually tossing out promises like “easy”, “stress-free” or “make six figures in your sleep” when it comes to exploring side hustles.

Startups require repeated failures prior to success and if you’re currently in that messy trial-and-error phase, it can be tempting to throw in the towel. Here’s why you shouldn’t…

Learning that there’s a learning curve

Entire courses have been created to address client management, creating multiple revenue streams, business structure, finances and figuring what to do when the world inevitably throws you a massive curveball (global pandemic, anyone?).

I always rebelled against the idea that I’d need math beyond high school, (I barely passed my Financial Accounting class when getting my master’s degree). What truly helped me understand those concepts was context versus class. Only when going through it with my own business was I able to wrap my head around financials and projections.

Anyone who has an entrepreneurial ambition can learn all the skills they need to create a successful company, but first, they’re going to set their prices too low or be overly optimistic about the volume of work they can deliver. 

I had to shutter my first freelance business and go crawling back to the dreaded day job, but eventually met a colleague who was brave enough to drop the facade. This was a person whom I admired and had created an amazing business working with big-name clients, yet was still nervous before every deal.

Upon recognizing that I could feel massive amounts of anxiety and still land big contracts, I was able to dismantle the self-sabotaging habits I’d unconsciously developed.  

Related: Anticipation is the Key to Success

Dealing with new people is part of the deal

Many of us start businesses because we’d previously worked in different situations with challenging customers or rude coworkers. Unfortunately, there are no escaping people… at least if you want your startup to work. If you sell physical goods there will be hagglers and complainers. If you sell services, there will be chargebacks and micromanagers.

Trying to figure out people while trying to figure out your business can be its own special form of torment. The key is to build systems for avoiding them in the future. Most of the people I know who have failed at running a company convince themselves they have no control. They believe all clients are jerks and that their whole enterprise will never be worth it. 

Related: 13 tips to have more willpower

Side hustles require a LOT of hustle

You’re going to have to become excellent at time management, compartmentalization and enforcing boundaries. Some folks with long commutes may not have the energy to devote to their side hustle by the time they get home. As a result, they carve out hours on the weekends or get up early to immerse themselves in their startup before the actual workday begins.

There are a few folks that luck into easy side work, but most of us have to figure out our offers and find a way to do what’s necessary outside of our current workload—especially when we still need that paycheck as our fledgling side project grows.

Every business owner you’ve ever met has experienced lost clients, inventory challenges and unexpected shutdowns. Yet this is the kind of stress that—not unlike going to the gym—can force you to grow in new and positive ways.

Related: Save Money on Your Next Office Move with Clutter

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