Everyone is talking about the gig economy, side hustles, and financial freedom.
In a recently trending article, writer Bob Sullivan talks about how side hustles, in particular, have turned a group of people from today’s workforce into work mongers, partially due to the elevated cost of living that is often “too much” when measured against today’s average wages, and possibly pure greed.
Bob asks some valid questions in his article. For example, who will watch the kids while both of their parents work 2 jobs? Are side hustles even worthy of consideration? I have to add my 2 cents and quiet the alarm he’s sounding.
It’s perfectly reasonable to believe that you can hustle in multiple ways to give your family everything you need. You shouldn’t be ashamed of your ambition. Furthermore, you should be able to do it without making your life a living hell.
The Daycare Dilemma
As for the argument that children can be neglected in multiple income homes, I agree that is isn’t a concern fully without merit. However, it’s more than likely that children of parents with flourishing, multi-faceted careers are not spending their entire lives in daycare.
Most daycare center hours are built around normal business hours taking into consideration commute times, somewhere in the range of 6.30 a.m to 6 p.m. Some have policies in place to prevent parents from having their children signed-in exceeding a certain amount of hours per day, or similar policies may be enforced by government agencies.
An example I can give you of how it’s nearly impracticable to work more than 1 job relying on daycare as your only source of childcare is my own.
Growing up, my parents’ main jobs caused them both to be out of the home around 12 hours per day. This made me into a faithful attendant of the before and after school programs at my elementary school.
My father was responsible for picking me up every day and often arrived just before closing time. I have distinct memories of him arriving in his trench coat and flat cap looking nothing short of harried.
From school he would take me to get a hero sandwich if I was lucky, then we’d proceed to his second job together where he worked such late hours that he and I would be the only living souls present in the entire office by the time his shift was through.
He also worked occasionally on Saturdays. On these days I’d stay home with my mother. At times, I ventured out with him and played in his office as he worked. At other times, my mother and I took rides to go visit him. My grandmother also lived nearby, and sometimes I chose to hang out at her house instead, with or without my mother.
Being in before and after school during business hours was taxing on me at times as a child and I longed for the security of home, but let’s not lose sight of the point I intended to make. The point was that while my parents worked extended hours, I was normally with them, I was not hanging out with strangers.
They also could not afford to keep me in daycare all of the time, either, no matter how much extra they had coming in.
I often went to work with them where I was received affectionately by their co-workers. I sat in their offices observing, overhearing, reading books, and drawing pictures. Through this, I received a message regarding the importance of hard work which deeply embedded into my psyche, and by their example, I was taught how to go about it.
In my 20s, I was already married and divorced with children and often sought out additional ways to earn income to provide for me and my family. Just as with my parents, daycare did not support all of the hours I was out of the home. Luckily, my mother had me later in life and retired early. This made her able to support me in caring for my children as I pursued advancement.
Today, I work more than ever but our family is 100% daycare free. I am at the bus stop in the morning and afternoon, in attendance at doctor visits, sportive meetings, and school meetings. I’m fully involved, every day.
I’m not going to lie and tell you my life isn’t busy. I have full-time work that keeps me engaged for more than 40 hours per week and projects like this blog that also factor in. Making things easier and at times more complex, my husband collaborates with me and I, with him.
Are we making progress? Unequivocally, yes. And my children, parents and everyone I care for will reap the benefits.
Therefore, I plead the case that legitimate hustling can make your life better. Remote work makes it all the more possible.
The Overall Strategy
If there’s one thing that will make your side hustle easier, it’s not being bound by schedules and locations.
A second extremely important part of being able to sustain is working with other “hustlers” who possess family values. If you work with people that are turned off by the occasional appearance of your child at a meeting, or a need to schedule your work around your loved ones’ needs within reason, you are not going to be to work with them to bring your game to the next level.
Working from home gives me at least 20 additional hours per week to sit down and be productive. If you’re wondering, here’s how:
In my case, heavy working hours are deftly interwoven into daily family life. This allows me to have rich personal and professional connections like never before.
I think the hardest part about remote work and achieving true work-life balance is just getting started. Recalling my life before remote work, I’d been dealt many condescending looks, lectures, and unflexible terms which put pressure on me to choose between having a great career and being attentive to my family.
To escape from this, there was a transitional period that was quite frustrating and at times, seemed hopeless while I searched for the right remote job. Ultimately, like anything else, it was nothing lots of hunting, persistence, and prayer couldn’t help me through.
If I haven’t been clear, the strategy is:
- Have a side hustle. But make sure it doesn’t make your life harder. It should be something you can do from home, on your own time (kind of like going to college while working), where the only one putting pressure on you is YOU — and that should be because you really want to succeed.
- Avoid scams. Don’t do any work that involves you investing in inventory, recruiting others, selling subpar products, or working with people that aren’t well established or funded in their business. More often than not, these kinds of “hustles” are NOT going to deliver on their promise of providing you with financial freedom. This includes anything that sounds like a pyramid scheme, multi-level marketing or dealing with people that don’t have the budget to pay you for your efforts.
- Have a plan. I’m not going to suggest what kind of passive income you eventually should create with your side hustle, but working 12 hours+ per day is not sustainable forever. You must have an exit strategy that leaves you in a better position than where you started.
I’m on this journey with you. If you ever want to ask questions or bounce ideas off of someone, please let me know. I’ll be so glad to hear about your experiences, and I’m here to cheer you on as your hustle makes your life what it should be – 100% better!