Failed Gigs, Learned Lessons
Let’s talk about side gigs, shall we? For years, I’ve had a side gig. Not for extra cash, not for my health…but for the potential of autonomy, maybe not now…but one day… and what a hamster wheel it’s been since.
Having always enjoyed the arts and anything creative, I’ve tried any creative project I could get my hands on. I’ve done a little modeling, I’ve done makeup, dog photography, family photography, writing, blogging, opened a tee shop. I’ve attended a poetry festival. I’ve done makeup at a fashion show in NYC. Attended smaller shows during NY Fashion week as a writer. Attended fashion trade shows as a writer. I’ve self-published books. I’ve enjoyed it all. I’ve loved and grown through each new crazy project I got myself into. Each thing had a special place in my heart and taught me a ton. Knowledge, after all, is power, and trying new things at a minimum gives you a new experience to learn from. My friends and family may have very well thought I was nuts…desperate for side income. But the reality was I was succeeding in my career, but I was failing at getting myself to the one true goal. Freedom of time, especially when I’d want it most…as a mom.
With some earlier experiences, they provided me the knowledge that it wasn’t for me. Some things were fun to do once but opened my eyes to the potential of them not being fun if it had to be a consistent occurrence. Doing makeup at a show until 4am? Not for me. But a ton of fun to experience once.
A lot of these side gigs happened during off hours, off of work and off of school. That’s fine and all until life went from adolescent figuring it out, to adult with a career, to adult with career and husband, then adult with career and husband and child and mortgage to pay, and new washer needed, and diapers, and pet bills, and…well, you know. All the stuff.
Side gigs got tough to manage but somehow still found a way in during any downtime, even middle-of-the-night downtime, because I had to find a way to generate some income to maybe, maybe one day, take time in my day back from the grips of “9-to-5”. Get a self-sustained income driver up and running to the point that I could say, “See ya, corporate!”
Sometimes I wish I could just be happy with my growth in my career and leave it at that. Stop the hamster wheel. Stop looking for automated income. Stop looking for full autonomy of time. Just be happy getting home at 5, doing dinner time, bedtime, and then WIND DOWN. You know, watch a show and pay attention, versus typing away on a new idea.
That’s never been me though. The chase for autonomy is real, and addictive, and sometimes seems a little desperate. With each year that goes on, I realize it was a year lost to owning my full day. Doesn’t that sound overly glum? Don’t mind me being a drama queen, just sobbing over being 32 watching Hype House and the 20-year-old TikTok millionaires that might one day, have a FULL DAY to dedicate to hanging with their kids and partner and backyard pool.
With all the side gigs, one thing that stood out was the time commitment. I had to take out a loan from the Bank of Sleep to pay off the time commitment and it was dreadful. Props to anyone who does the full-time job, full time momming and homemaking, and a successful side business you could leave your full time for in the same 24-hour day. I could not.
The more I tried to do it, the more I realized I was quite literally accomplishing the opposite. Here I am running around doing all the things to try to have more time to do what I want (quality time) and I’m actually taking away quality time in order to do all the things. And better yet…I might never get to the goal point and so I’ve wasted time instead of preserving it. And even better yet, I’m barely breaking even on side endeavors because I don’t have a full 8 hours a day to dedicate to the planning, the budgeting…I’m flying by the seat of my pants. So I’m working round the clock, to not make extra money and pull more time away from where I want it. WHAT?!? How frustrating of a realization to get to that was.
We all have different balances, and unfortunately, I could not figure mine out when it came to adding in this dreamy goal. What I came to realize after long thought and research is that there are TONS of ways to bring in income. There are tons of ways to automate income, to make it in your sleep. While a lot of these include work up front, there are plenty of methods that are “set it and forget it”. Put in the work, set it, and let the income roll in. I can do that. I can absolutely put work in upfront, work smarter not harder.
We work hard enough. We are the glue. And we don’t give ourselves credit, and so we spin around taking on more and more and more to validate something. That we’re the best moms, the best wives, the best business women. We’re the best and look…we’re the best bakers too because we have the most time because we’re the best business women, duh.
Stop it. We are the best now. Baseline measure…the best. You are doing it all. We are already doing it all. If you’re willing, capable, and committed enough to even try working around the clock at a goal, even for a week, you are capable and deserving enough to have the hard work you put up front work for you while Supermom is getting some beauty rest…am I right?
So if you’ve read this far, thanks for sticking through the novel of failed side gigs but lessons learned. If you’ve read through this all…,do you feel similarly? Are you looking to do the same? Are you struggling with this, or have you conquered it? There doesn’t seem to be a secret sauce besides the age-old fact that hard work pays off. Hard work, determination, and some strategy. I’d like to hold onto the belief that it’s true and these ingredients will come through. So, for now, it’s time to get those lessons working. Stay tuned for some things I’ve learned along the way through trial and error and let’s try to get our time back together.