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Is a Side Hustle for You? | Nan McKay

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During the pandemic, women felt an urgency in making the decision on returning to work or choosing an alternative. Are you that woman? Would your company/agency let you work remotely? Would working remotely for a partial week satisfy you? Would your daycare problems continue? Women in their 50s have more flexibility. Do you have more flexibility than you did ten years ago? Do you have a 401K and savings? Would you like to start a business as a side hustle? Are you thinking about the freedom entrepreneurship offers, the flexibility, and the ability to make a difference?

Is your solution pivoting to make a change, perhaps pivot to a business, but what business and how to do it? For my research for the book I wrote, Gold in the Golden Years, I started a new playlist called Pivot to SOAR, which is my launch plan for starting a new business. I interviewed many women to gain insight into the positives and negatives. I asked them for tips for women over 50 who wanted to start a business. That data became the inspiration  for my book, webinar, and courses.

Feeling the need to change has no age limit. The awakening to start something new is becoming a need rather than a want. Instead of a complete switch to another job, the answer may be a side hustle to bridge from one source to another. Or the solution may include going back to school. Or becoming an entrepreneur. And what would that take? What would you do? How can you decide what you are good at and what interests you? Those decisions can take a long, circuitous route. Give yourself the gift of finding out who you are at this stage and who you want to be.

Have you heard the term “side hustle?” A side hustle is something you are doing in addition to your primary job. It’s a part-time job or occupation. It’s a way to get extra money. But how does that relate to someone in their 50’s or 60’s – or older, of course?

 

In a survey by Bankrate in 2017, younger millennials 18 to 26 were the age group most likely to have a side hustle with 61 percent of younger millennials saying they earn extra money on the side every week, and 96 percent of them say they do it at least monthly.

An interesting article from Influencer Marketing Hub, cited research by Bankrate. There are three main reasons people choose to start a side hustle:

  • Disposable income (34%)
  • Making ends meet/paying for regular living expenses (30%)
  • Savings income (27%)

Why would this concept have to related only to millennials? Why couldn’t it also be related to a woman over 50?

 

Let’s say you have a full-time career as Director of Finance for a large corporation, but you are not getting the satisfaction you once did from it. You are dreaming about working from home in casual clothes where it’s OK to get a cup of coffee and think. You start thinking about starting a bookkeeping business from home. But you laugh at yourself and say, “Yeah. Right. And what would I live on?”

And then a picture comes to mind. You are sitting at your kitchen table at home with a cup of coffee close by. You are smiling, and you are working on a laptop. You have QuickBooks open and you are entering data from a file that a client has sent you. You are entering expenses for the client, something easy for you to do, and you are going to print out monthly reports for them and send them back to the client. The client is very grateful because they have told you that accounting, bookkeeping and figures are not their strong suit. What they really mean is they are lost when it comes to math, and they don’t even want to think about it. But they realize it’s a necessary evil if they are going to file taxes at the end of the year and deduct the expenses. They want to spend their time on something they are good at, to further their own small business.

This could be reality. You think, “When would I have the extra time?” The answer is if you love what you do, you will find the time. If you have a passion, you can start it on a small basis, earning some extra money, while you are still working your job.

 

The next step is to start doing some research. You know your Avatar, your ideal client. She is someone with a small business whose pain point is bookkeeping, W-9s, and accounting. What would it take to find her? How many of her are out there? What would you charge? What would you create to help her gather the data that you need to enter the expenses into a program? How much time would you have to devote to it?

Three ways to mitigate the risk include procuring a contract before you leave, taking on the business as a side hustle in addition to your work career, and having a twelve-month cash reserve. How far you can delve into your business “on the side” while you are employed depends on your band width of time available.

If you can procure a limited, manageable project before you leave that allows you to get your sea legs, your maiden voyage started by offering the product/service on a small scale to someone who is familiar with your knowledge and skills, you will mitigate the risk because you are starting your business with a contract in place. The contact for the contract/first project is usually based on someone you are in contact with stemming from your current employment. If you can line up a good contract prior to leaving your job without crossing any legal or integrity boundaries, it is the best of all worlds. But be careful of any potential conflicts of interests, especially if you have signed a conflict-of -interest agreement when you were hired.

Interview with Robin Brewton, Founder and CEO of Strategy Mosaic LLC, How to Pivot into Entrepreneurship Without Fear | Robin Brewton (trailblazersimpact.com)

“Figure out your passion and run toward it. Don't run away from your job just because you're miserable. I see so many people who grasp that something, the next get-rich-quick scheme, a multilevel marketing company, just to get out of the misery that they're in. It doesn't make them happy. It is not successful. Instead of running away from that situation, find your passion and run toward it. I believe that if you are following your passion, you are not going to fail. The happiness is a trade-off for you, even if you are making less money. I also believe if whatever you want to do is of value to others’ success, income will find you. The financial fear does not immediately go away. I tell people to do it as a side hustle for a while until you have some revenue and are comfortable taking that leap.”

The first step if you are going to make the jump into entrepreneurship is to find out, to the penny, how much you are spending and what you are spending money on. This isn’t a budget. It’s the real numbers. Then go back and realistically figure out if you can cut back. I hear people say, “I could live on a lot less.” But when you get the pencil out and start crossing things off the list and say, “Would you really cut out that gym membership?” the answer may be different.

With a side hustle, you mitigate the risk. If you can combine making these cuts with a side hustle, now you are getting closer to making your side hustle your primary hustle. In between, you still have a safety net – your job.

Side hustles are usually easier to start and often involve remote work. I didn’t say it would be easy to transfer from a full-time career to a full-time hustle, but might it be worth it?

 

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