To Side Hustle or Not To Side Hustle...That Was the Question

For many years I’ve had ideas for things that I think could really work in our local market-place but I shied away from acting on them….instead watching as those same ideas occurred to other people, who in turn built really successful businesses around them (gah…that was painful every time it happened!)  That situation isn’t particular to me – it happens to people all the time – sometimes the time just isn’t right and real life just gets in the way.

For me, the choice to pursue the ideas felt too stark.  I work full-time in a job that I enjoy and I don’t want to give that up. 

And yet…the ideas…..

That notion of building something all of my own wouldn’t leave me .  In times when I would get the chance to catch a breath from “real life” (often while on a campsite!) I’d take out a notebook and just jot things down.  Lots of ideas, following lots of paths.    It relaxed me to get the ideas out on paper – captured so that they didn’t disappear into the ether.  A (very nerdy) form of relaxation, I suppose. 

But the ideas stayed in the book.

As some years passed our home life became less hectic in some ways but vastly more hectic in others! We didn’t have toddlers running about, but now we had school, homeworks, afterschool activities and all of the running that came with it.  We were also trying to do a full-on renovation of our house (which, by the way, is probably the longest running renovation project ever, anywhere in NI).  It came to the point where we just couldn’t do it all anymore – trying to balance all of these things while both working full time just wasn’t possible.  We decided that I would continue to work full-time and Trev would give up his job, at least for a while to manage the renovation work and do the most of the running around.

And yet….the ideas. The ideas seemed to detect a clink of sunlight and they came back with a vengeance. 

My logical mind knew that it was madness to pursue a side venture when we were already so busy, but my heart knew that this was “our” chance.  And so, it began…the ideas got fleshed out and acted upon and we haven’t looked back.

It helped that I didn’t feel the need to keep things a secret – that I didn’t have to hide my side venture.  My colleagues in my day job have been amazing – providing so much encouragement and my manager was super understanding and helpful.  It felt good to be open and say that I had no intention of leaving, but also that I really needed to do this.  I needed to scratch this itch that just wouldn’t go away.

And so now the ideas are out, and more ideas keep coming (in fact people are now coming to me and giving me more ideas!!).

In all seriousness though…this has been a great experience so far.  As a side venture it has been incredibly hard work, but a great experience.  I don’t feel a huge amount of pressure to make this work (aside from the pressure that I put on myself).  We can pivot where we need to and tweak things in our own time.  We can pursue the angles and the collaborations that we feel will work and we can leave the rest behind.  I think that’s a huge benefit of doing something this way  - you are hustling and you’re getting to pursue what you’ve dreamed of…but you are doing it at a pace that suits you.

So…here’s what I would say.  If you are someone who has “all the ideas”….then write them down.  Even if you don’t act on them straight away, it helps to know that they are there.  And when life allows it, start to push on things…find small, incremental ways to make progress, even if its just a few hours per week.

I’m not quite sure why I felt so compelled to write down the story of my ideas…but I hope that this has been helpful in some shape or form (and if you have any glamping related ideas then please remember to send them my way!!!)

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