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SIDE HUSTLE: HOBBY OR BUSINESS?

So, I was having this discussion with a group of friends a while ago and one of them who happened to be a very good artist complained that she wasn’t making any money from it. By day, she works 9 – 5 as the operations manager in a highly reputable telecommunications company while at night, she is transformed into the artist that she is and keeps painting away.

Ebi knows how to create magic from her canvas and sometimes I wish I could be as creative. Not wanting this amazing gift to go to waste, we have pleaded with her to focus on her art especially as she seems to be feeling burnt out in her place of work. We even encouraged her to open a gallery, if possible. Although she still does her art as a side hustle, it doesn’t seem to be fetching her much money despite how great her works are.

Why is that? We all wondered.

“You still treat your side hustle as a hobby”, Temi, the busines analyst among us, explained.

“But I am really dedicated to it; giving up other pleasures and even some of my rest time to do these art works after work hours,” Ebi countered. “How can I still be treating it as a hobby?”

“There is every possibility that your side hustle may just be a waste of time rather than use of your after-work hours.” Temi further explained. “Here are 4 signs that may show this to you,” she went on.

  • Not enough money: Do the time you invest into this hustle equal the money in the bank from this hustle? Are you more focused on things not really necessary now rather than learning the art of converting your hobby into a business? Having a great business card, instagram page and even website is important but so is also making money from the hustle you are investing so much in. The money in the bank should equal the time invested in the work. With the steady influx of income, you are more equipped to outsource other peripheral matters to others while you focus in the heart of the business – YOUR HUSTLE.
  • Inconsistency: How consistent are you with your hustle? Is it something you do once every week? Does it bore you quickly, making you move to other things faster than expected? It’s one thing to have felt the initial euphoric stage in discovering a valuable talent but it is a totally different ball game to be committed to it and be in it for the long haul. When the big energy burst at the start begins to subside, would you still have that motivation and excitement to carry on? Your hustle has to be something that excites you and come rain, come shine, you keep going.
  • Exposure: Do you put yourself out there enough for people to see? Often times, we are not willing to put ourselves out there. Irrespective of how great your work is, people want to see, know and relate with the person behind the business. Business comes with boldness, not shyness. If you are not known, your business wouldn’t be known either.
  • All about the title: You like to be called an entrepreneur, celebrating what you do instead of solving an actual problem. What is the purpose of this hustle you are actually going on about? Are you solving world hunger? Bringing about world peace? Lol…It doesn’t have to be as big but how about solving little things with that talent you have? As an artist, what problem are you trying to solve with your art works? Do you show the importance of art in communicating over language, class and even culture barriers? Does your art evoke that deep feeling words fail to describe? Does your art elicit ideas or create a sense of beauty that brings a certain peace to people in our chaotic world?

There must be a purpose for your hustle, if not it is just a huge waste of time. I totally agree with Zig Ziglar’s words, “The secret to get anything you want is helping other people get what they want.”

By the time Temi was done with her lecture, not only Ebi but I can say everyone got a thing or two to take home and I hope you did too from reading this piece.

Kindly share your comments.




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