It started with a throwaway comment on a WhatsApp Group.
I am the member of a business networking WhatsApp group. A group made up of other business leaders/owners, who use the group for good news, sharing ideas and supporting each other. It’s a good space, however without giving my game away, I normally mute it on a Saturday. Saturday is for me, the family, no work and therefore I mute the group.
This past Saturday was different, I was in the gym and did not get to the mute button in time. By the time I did a few posts had come in and they were very light-hearted, actually about the football, which is unheard of for that group. Then it happened. In the middle of a lot of random chat a separate conversation seemed to happen, and a well-respected leader of the group threw it out there. The comment that started all this:
‘I am a big fan of leaders having a side hustle. I think it keeps them sharper.’
A simple, short, and direct opinion. I muted the group and went on with my day.
But the comment would not go away, it sat there into Saturday evening, Saturday night and when I drifted off for the night. How? How? How? This is the question that my brain was asking.
- How can someone leading one business have time to run another on the side?
- How have they got the energy to do anything other than see their friends and or family when not running their business?
- Why as an adult have I never had a side hustle?
- How is a side hustle making you better in your chosen career?
I had always presumed (this does not sound good, but it’s the truth) side-hustles were for people working in a business, for others. Not leaders.
If Saturday is when I mute work conversations and thoughts, Sunday is very much when I reflect, think about the past week, and let my ideas run wild. So, I took my WhatsApp question, popped it on LinkedIn and thought lets see what my peer group think. At this point I still could not really see past my own views and questions around the ‘how.’
Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz.
This was my watch for the next 8 hours solid. One simple post went as close to ‘viral’ when compared to anything I have posted in recent months.
- 10,000 views within 2 hours.
- 200 votes within 90 minutes.
- Within 8 hours I’d received 25,000 views of the post from people around the world.
- By the time I headed to bed last night, there was over 300 votes: my largest poll response ever.
It was more than these stats though, the conversation, the direct messages and insight into my in-box were eye-opening.
I was blown away by the things people are doing in their ‘spare time.’ I was blown away by how positively these side-hustles were making people feel about their ‘main job.’ I was blown away by how many people stated they loved their side hustle. I was blown away that so many stated their plan was that this would never replace their ‘main’ career. I was blown away that for some many there was actually no plan, just people doing something they love. Again, I always presumed the main purpose of a side-hustle was to start the transition to a new permanent career in that field.
I was also inundated by people who thought ‘side hustle’ was just a term dreamed up by people to make their hobby sound cool. When I asked more about this view it was clear, like me, most people in this camp had no idea how passionate people were about their side hustle and the positive impact this was having on their life. It was also clear a side hustle absolutely does not have to be a commercial entity. It has been humbling to hear how some people are using their time out of work to give back to their local community in a variety of ways.
Personally, I have found the past 48 hours enlightening and thought provoking. My creative thoughts have been flowing as I think about what this could mean for me and whether I will decide to fill my non-work time with a side hustle. Moreover, for the first time ever I can see how this would not be a distraction but could make me better in my career.
I also want to find out more about other people’s side hustles. Maybe I was a bit of a snob about the entire concept before, whereas now I am fascinated!
Lastly it has made me think twice about muting that WhatsApp group next Saturday!
To take part in Simon’s poll on the side hustle click HERE.