Every spring, after I “resolve” to be online less for the new year, I find I push myself to do more with my blog and online presence. I search for freelance writing jobs, social media manager opportunities, and I increase my time on social media in hopes of finding clients.
This is the exact opposite of my life goal. My goal is to be more present with my family, and spend less time working. And since I have a full-time, outside the home job, the only thing I can really cut back on is time spent online.
My motivating factor in searching for these opportunities is, of course, money. If I could make more money outside of my 9 to 5 (8:30 to 4:30 in my case), I could cut back my hours there and be at home more. But to find that money I need to waste time on freelance job boards, and write more.
It feels like a never-ending cycle and I’m ready to end it.
I’ve learned to I realize when this is happening. Now I can embrace it, and then stop doing it.
Writing is fun for me, but I recognize I will never make a career out of it. Blogging may give me dribs and drabs of ad income, or the odd sponsored post, but I can’t think of it as an income source. And sharing my words on Kingstonist is extremely rewarding, but I can’t let that push me into spending too much time “working” for that outlet.
I’m sure I’ve said this before, but it’s time to pull back from my side hustle. And for real. If one blog post a week feels like too much, I’ll cut back. I will write when I comfortably can, and I’ll try not to push myself. Keeping an active blog is important to me, but I can’t quite call it a side hustle – I don’t make any steady income from it.
Interesting statistics on side hustles:
In June 2019, MarketWatch.com published an article stating that 45% of Americans “earn additional income outside their primary career.” (Source) While these aren’t all the Side Hustles we think of online, that is a staggering statistic.
From a Canadian perspective: “One-in-three working Canadians are managing their own side business and 42 per cent are working more than one job.” (Source)
It’s no wonder I feel pressure to get this blog of mine making money, or finding some other way to increase our household income. If you read these articles you’ll find comments like “the economy is strong but wages are stagnant.”
This may be true. It certainly feels to me that incomes are not increasing along with the cost of living. I’m sure that is not the case in every occupation or field of work, but seems to be the case in many. Learning to save, and avoid superfluous purchases seems to be one of the few ways to keep household expenses in check. Or maybe winning the lottery…
But I’m getting off track here. This was supposed to be about me, and not about the financial struggles of everyone else!
I take on a lot as a working mom, wife, writer, photographer, and blogger. Often I push myself past my appropriate limits, and then I feel the resulting stress physically, and emotionally. It puts a strain on all my relationships and, frankly, I hate the way I feel when I’m overwhelmed.
Related: How can we Battle the Overwhelm?
I’ve been spending time unsubscribing to emails from other Side Hustlers who share tiny tidbits of knowledge while trying to get you to pay for their courses on how to side hustle, or ways to make big bucks. The ideas inspire me, but the reality is depressing.
Recently I read this article on cnbc.com: Here are 5 myths about side hustles you can’t afford to ignore. It’s so important to remember that for every “success story” we read about – side hustlers who make it big doing what they love – there are many, many more who failed, or only gained modest success, at the expense of their personal time.
I read another interesting article along these same lines: The Side Income Trap, and the Rise of the ‘4-Income Household. It’s fascinating to read about current trends, the struggles of households to make enough money to allow them to have a life they want, and the decline of the family unit insofar as we often have no time left to spend together.
I want to keep my personal time personal.
Pulling back and only doing what I want when I want is my go forward now. Of course I would love to earn more money, and be paid to write for others, but I can’t keep pushing myself.
I don’t want to suggest side hustles are all bad – they aren’t, and some people love it – it’s just not worth the effort for me. My blog, VA work, and photography is fun exactly as it is right now. I don’t want to do more work. I’m busy enough as it is.
Some baby steps I’m taking to pull back from my side hustle:
- Get off social media in the evenings when I’m not doing any actual “work” online.
- Let go of the idea of checking emails every hour – they’ll keep!
- Write when it’s comfortable for me, and not just because I have a few minutes.
- Put my phone “away” when we’re having family time.
- Read books instead of Facebook – during my work lunch hour, in the evenings, at the dance studio, whenever.
Do you feel your side hustle is taking away from your down time? What steps are you taking to pull back? Or maybe you’re thinking about looking for something to do on the side? I’d love to hear your views. Share your thoughts in the comments!