Working 5 to 9: The Struggle is a Struggle

Above is a screenshot of a text I had with a very good friend of mine last night. We texted and chatted for over and hour and he started admitting how frustrated he’s been feeling with his life lately. He feels that no matter how hard he works and do right by the people he cares about, he keeps getting screwed over. And it’s been making him not want to pursue his own business anymore.

Which makes me sad to hear that, but I know exactly how he feels. Having been in similar situations feeling frustrated with life and the fruit I wasn’t able to produced from my labor.

And as we continued to talk with him, the more I realize how many of us big dreamers feel the same way when things are veering off track and how many have similar experiences we share. I always tell people it takes more lumber to build a mansion than it does a shack. So if you have big dreams, you’re gonna have to wait a minute. Yet, us big dreamers find ourselves frequently battling the comparison bar. We wonder why everyone else we see seem to have it better than us. Why not us? Why are we working so hard and have so little to show for it? I mean, I’ve been side hustling for 10 years and this is the first time I feel like I’m on a roll with something. So, why the elongated journey?

Big dreamers come with big blueprints. Which comes with contingencies. Setbacks. Resource mapping. And multiple visits to the drawing board. That’s just reality for us.

My friend is going to take some time out and hopefully find a way to safely diffuse his anger and frustration, but that’s something we all may need to do from time to time. Especially when we feel tired of the grind and nothing seems to be coming from it.

Like I told my friend, this is just life’s way of asking you how bad do you want a better lifestyle and livelihood.

Working 5 to 9: Down Time

There’s nothing like some down time when things are slow. You can get caught up. You can get things in order. You can catch on personal things. You can even do laundry. But down should be used wisely in between clients. And, depending how you look at it, down time be an assorted bag.

Trust me, I love when I have nothing pressing or due, but that also means I don’t have any extra income coming in. So when I get a little down time in between clients, I either prep or rest. I don’t try to overthink my down time, which sounds a little weird, I know but it’s true.

Rather than overwork myself, I brainstorm. I right ideas down. I take notes. Nothing more. If not any of that, I literally rest. I get caught on sleep. I enjoy a glass or two of red wine. In cooler weather, I’d enjoy a few cups of herbal tea. I watch an inspiring or listen to something inspirational like a TED Talk or speech. I focus on making that time about shifting my thoughts and being in positive mindset. And it’s so important to try to remain positive as possible. Juggling multiple projects, work and pretending to have a life… down time is a good thing.

Working 5 to 9: Ebbs and Flows

Just as it would be with any established business, your side hustle will experience ebbs and flows. Periods in which you find yourself really really busy. And periods where you have to go rustle up some work. And if you want a consistent second stream of income, you’ll find yourself — as they would say — “working in the business and working on the business”.

When you’re having those days in which you have a string a side hustles and deadlines to meet, those are your flow days. And not Aunt Flow. Those are good days. Days in which you are simply working on the work. And when you have days you have to find clients to do some work, those are your ebb days. Days you are working on the busines. Which is why time management needs to be our friend.

Time management needs to be our friend all the time, but particularly when things are slow. Or, if you prefer them slow, at the very least, start getting things in order to prepare for when you have a rush of clients asking for work.

And just because I said flows are good days, doesn’t make ebbs bad days. Those are just days to get situated, caught up or back on track. Those days can work in our favor too. We just have to know how to use them to our advantage when we get them.

Working 5 to 9: You Got To Be Creative Everyday

“Creativity” is one of those artisans words that when people hear, they either believe they’re creative or they believe they’re not. Some years ago, I had a film prop creator tell me that everyone’s creative. Whether they tap into their creativity is another thing. And I believe that to this day. We all possess creativity, some more than others, but the raw talent or skill is there. And when and how we use it depends on us.

And there’s no better evidence of this than in a startup CEO and someone who has a side hustle. And there’s no better way to push yourself to see what your creativity looks like than when your livelihood is on the line.

Now, as a side hustler, you may not feel exactly like your livelihood is on the line, but depending how closely you’re living paycheck to paycheck, it can just about feel that way. So being creative with what you have and how you use it is no different than creating a masterpiece that will hang on a wall in someone’s home. It just looks different and serves a different purpose.

Take the picture above of the person who taped their business cards around a traffic light pole. Most people hand out their business cards or leave them in an office with high foot traffic. “Normal” ways, right? This person chose an alternative, creative way of getting their business cards out with the resources they had.

And that’s it. That’s what it means to be creative. Working with the medium you have or that’s been provided, you can be more creative with your side hustle or future endeavors than you ever imagined. You already have all the creativity you need to get started right now.

Working 5 to 9: Hustle Hard

See that blue car? The one in the right hand lane? Okay, you can’t see what I see — or maybe not as clearly as I wanted you to see it — but that blue car has a true hustler driving it. How do I know?

On the back of his window he has an Uber and Lyft sticker and on top of his car is one of those mobile advertisements mechanisms people can get paid for when driving around town. I don’t know if you’ve figured it out just yet, but he’s putting his car to work. Literally.

That driver is taking every opportunity to make money with his car. Whether he’s shuttling people around town, or just running errands. That, to me, is the spirit of hustlin’. It’s taking each opportunity that has come your way and turning it into something that benefits you, ideally, financially.

Now, maybe you don’t have a hustle as hard as this blue car driver. Maybe you don’t want to hustle as hard as him. I don’t know, but here work seems to be what turns dreams into reality. If you’re gonna have a hustle, hustle hard.

Working 5 to 9: Making a Judgment Call

Would you believe it, I had someone call me this past Sunday at 10:35PM asking for notary services in Sherman Oaks. Aside from the fact I am a firm believer this is how Hallmark made-for-TV movies get their inspiration, I thought this guy was really out of his mind. Granted, if you search my business on Google, you’ll see that I am available for service until 10pm, but that is in select areas. Sherman Oaks is not that select area.

I said no, but before I said no, I asked the guy could we meet in the morning instead. He said something about getting his car out of impound and how the price goes up every few hours. Never have I heard that (it’s usually a daily surcharge, but whatevs), I didn’t feel comfortable getting out of the bed I had nicely conformed to, putting on real people’s clothes and meeting some strange – client, really – near midnight.

Seriosuly?

I get that, if he was telling the truth, was crunched for time, but I wonder if the role was reversed, would he meet some stranger at 12:00am on the premise of proving a service? And I’m not a bail bondsman. So I made a judgment call and told him I didn’t feel comfortable meeting so late at night. And I felt comfortable saying that to him.

As a lady, my safety is more important than my next earned dollar, no matter how much and how soon I may want to be in business for myself.

Working 5 to 9: The Juggling Game

It seems like when we become comfortable with our side hustles and we have regular clients, we’re constantly juggling between the various elements in our lives. Whether that’s work, the side hustle, family, friends, passion projects, caring for a loved, our pets, volunteering or whatever else incredible busy ambitious and busy women do these days. We have a lot on our plate.

But when we’re juggle between multiple side hustles, it can become challenging to know how to transition from one to the next.

This past Sunday, if you were catching up with me, I had clients I needed to see in two opposite directions in town and was able to get to them both on time miraculously. What I didn’t share was that I had to cancel on meeting a new person for my writing passion project that I’ve been planning for a couple of weeks. That kind of suck. I met her via the NextDoor app and discovered she lives relatively close to me. And she’s an aspiring writer and I like to think of myself as an aspiring writer. So we had plans to meet this past Sunday at 12pm at a cafe she knew of in the mid point between us.

Well, while working with my website client, at 11:15am I wouldn’t be able to make it to see her in time. And I was bummed out about it. So I sent her a text, explaining I was with a client but wouldn’t be able to meet her at our agreed upon time. I asked if we could reschedule. She seemed really okay with it and happy that I gave her notice before she made her way over to the cafe. But I just felt so bad I couldn’t keep that commitment.

Juggling all these things on my plate feels like a combination of luck and art. It’s about timing my schedule appointments so I give myself room to go over schedule without being late to the next appointment your. And I thought I was doing that. I just didn’t think I’d be working with the first client for nearly 4.5 hours! Sheesh!

Although, I am happy to say that I’m almost done with the website for the client. I’ll send him an email notice, have him review the final draft and collect my $125 balance that I am owed.

The only the good about juggling so many different projects is when they get finished, you can move it off your to-do list.

Working 5 to 9: It Happens

On Monday of this week, I made plans to meet a notary client between 7:30am and 8:00am on Tuesday, as I was not able to meet him Monday afternoon. I was busy. Actually having a life. Plus, I didn’t have my notary journal or stamp on me. So I needed to reschedule. And in our text communication, I agreed to the time set on Tuesday and he agreed as well. I also explained that I would text him when I was leaving and when I arrived that morning. He liked the sound of that.

So when yesterday morning rolls around, I shoot him a text letting him know I was headed his way. Then, 15 minutes after I sent the text, he responds asking how much will the total be for the notary services. I tell him the notarization is $15, but my travel is $25. He then responds, “the bank charges $15”. I said, so do I but I also charge a travel fee since I’m traveling to you. He thought we agreed to a $20 fee. Nothing in our text ever said I agreed to $20 fee for everything. He thought I was really going to accept $5 for traveling 13 miles out of my way to him.

He said he couldn’t pay that while I was in my Uber on my way to him. Frustrated at this point, I just texted back “thank you.”. He then said no worries, like he was really doing me a favor and asked if he could save my number. I, in turned, saved his as well… so I know never to respond to him in the future.

Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice, shame on me.

But it happens. Working with clients on our own isn’t going to be perfect and rainbows and sunshine all the time. We’re going to get people who are a disappointment. Who cost us more money to work with them than not to. Who don’t commit or poorly communicate. It happens. It’s part of the process. It’s how we learn how to do what we do better.

So even though he cost me $9.95 in fare money, I take this as a lesson learned experience. It’ll happen. The not so good clients will come and I will still have to roll with those punches.

Working 5 to 9: Don’t Share Your Aspirations With Everyone

There’s something about having big goals or dreams that puts people in an uneasy state with you, particularly if it’s not their big goal or dream. I wouldn’t call this jealosuy or envy right away, but definitely an opposition. I’ve learned a few times with different people not to share my lofty goals or aspirations.

I had a coworker, neither she or I work at the former company anymore, who told me she would never work as hard as I do. There’s nothing that she would ever want in this life to make her hustle they way I was. What was funny about her statement was I knew her boyfriend and he was, probably still is, a hustler. He was working, seriously like three jobs. The two of them lived together split their rent and bills down the middle and even had a joint checking account (unmarried and in their 20s, girl, yes). But she was content with her one job and one income stream. Her boyfriend obviously wasn’t.

I’m obviously not. YOU’RE obviously not. That’s why we hustle. At least, that’s one reason.

Sharing with her wasn’t a bad move. Neither was sharing with any of the others, not entirely. Not at first. At first, people seemed to want to have a hustle of their own too and wanted my help creating one. Awesome! But, when I would try, they would hit me with excuse after excuse as to why they couldn’t start right now. It was like I was getting pumped for information and having the life sucked out of me. Later, perhaps, it grew into an envious mindset. After all, I was the only one who wouldn’t complain about money all the time, even though there were others who were making more of it than myself. Because a side hustle helps you generate more money.

And it removes the desperate factor from your life. It takes away your money urgencies. That need you have for more money all the time. You may still feel that at times, but the truth is if you have an active side hustle, you don’t need money as bad as many of your counterparts. And they see that. They see you hustle but not struggle like them and that doesn’t sit well with some people. Some people want you in the same boat as them. Misery loves company.

I’ve learned that. So I don’t tell new people and even others who I haven’t told already that one day I plan on being wildly and successfully self employed. That’s my big goal. That’s what I’m hustling for.

Working 5 to 9: When You Don’t Control a Resource

Where are all the cars?

If you’ve been keeping up with the Uber IPO news of late, you know that Uber is set to go public this Friday, May 10th. And the company is looking at a $90 billion valuation. But more importantly, that their drivers are striking today in about a dozen major cities in protest to cut wages and longer hours.

If you’ve been keeping up with me, you know I use Uber frequently for my notary business. It’s how I get around Los Angeles to all my clients. It’s how I’ve gotten to clients in areas I typically don’t service, but thanks to Uber, I could. But in light of the strike today, I’m down a resource that’s beyond my control.

How does that work?

The short version: I would not be available to see clients today, if requested. Couldn’t I just take the bus? Yes, I could. But depending how far I’m going, my commute to the client would be longer than the both of us would like and I may be traveling to an area that’s not all that safe.

Typically, whenever something like this happens, as someone who side hustles, it’s my job to find an alternative solution. My alternative solution could be to use Lyft. But they too are striking today. I could find another ride sharing service. I could take the bus to clients who are closer. However, just like I have no control over the Uber and Lyft strike, I have no control over the location of clients.

So they best I could is hope this strike doesn’t last longer than today and that I don’t have a super in need client.

Has anyone else been in a similar pickle with their business or side hustle?