An 80-Hour Week Does Not Guarantee Your Side Hustle Is A Success
Everyone wants a side hustle nowadays. Ever read Refinery29’s money diaries? They all have side hustles — even those on massive salaries.
I always dreamed I could write for a living, but it isn’t something I thought was actually possible. *Luckily* I graduated in a recession, so the crappy job I had pushed me to pursue my writing.
When I started, I was pretty broke, so I spent a lot of time on personal finance and side hustle websites.
These websites make for grim reading for people like me that like to make time to sleep, eat, and do jigsaw puzzles whilst binge-watching New Girl. There were people working 80 hours a week — be it on their blog, their day job, or both. Those that were doing both often exceeded 100 hours a week.
And this wasn’t outlying cases. This was the norm.
The hustling lifestyle is not for me. It’s just swapping one hell for another.
I’m tired after a six-hour workday, never mind working ELEVEN HOURS EVERY DAMN DAY.
Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t work 80-hour weeks if you want to. Indeed, if you want to make a side income quickly, you may need to work this much.
But you don’t need to. I didn’t.
If you follow the methods I use, you could write 1000 articles in a week and Google would still make you wait 8 months before they rank you.
Obviously, with 1000 articles you’ll be able to hit more keywords. More content is always good, but not at the expense of you going crazy and throwing your laptop out of the window.
The problem with hustling hard
- Burn out
You get tired. Your brain doesn’t work, and you can’t concentrate properly. If you’re an impulsive idiot like I am, you delete all your hard work in a fit of rage and vow neve to blog again, only to come crawling back three months later.
- Hustling for the sake of it
In my opinion, until you start getting significant traffic to your niche site, or blog, the only thing that’s worth spending time on is keyword research and creating content.
But those tasks are hard work, tiring, and (crucially) don’t get direct feedback for at least a few months. It feels like you’re writing into the void.
So you decide to add to your workload and spend an hour a day on social media (plus the time it’ll take you to learn strategy, Canva and the associated tasks).
But social media can deliver results fast. It’s exciting. You have written proof that people like you, or at the very least, you know someone out there has read your work.
But social media algorithms change on like the wind. One shadowban that you don’t even deserve and your traffic (and revenue are in the toilet).
Social medial is increasingly pay-to-play too. All the followers in the world don’t mean a thing if Instagram won’t show them your content. you also have to either post regularly or pay for a scheduler. Who has the time?
Best to tame the Google beast early, and load up your site with kick-ass content. Once you have a decent amount of traffic, then you can make a go of social media.
If you’re feeling like you’re working too hard, cut back on posting to social media. Stop trying to build your email list and write that free ebook and paid course. Concentrate on one thing at a time.
- You’re more likely to give up
I usually spend about ten hours a week on my main website.
It’s taken me a while to make a full-time income from it (I started in July 2019 and first got paid in August 2020).
Now, if I was spending 40 hours a week on it, alongside my main job, I’d have given up around December. Too much time spent on something that got 486 pageviews in a month and cost me money to maintain.
But I didn’t. I liked my little corner of the internet, and I knew I had to be patient and wait to get out of the Google sandbox.
By the way, not giving up is a skill a lot of online content creators and writers have to develop. If you want it enough, you’ll keep crawling back — I know, because I did.
Instead of hustling, do three tasks per *preferred time frame*
One of the irritating things about hustle culture is the insistence that anyone can do it.
Bu the thing is, a lot of people looking to make a living online want to do so for reasons that don’t align with hustle culture, such as:
- People who work long hours, who don't have time to write for two minutes, never mind two hours
- People who work physically demanding jobs, who worry about the long-term impact on their body
- Parents that want to stay at home
Don’t think you don’t have the time. You only need a couple of hours a week to write a blog post (though please, please, pick a topic you love/know about — it’ll make it so much easier). That’s 50 articles a year. My website only has 127, and the bulk of my views are made up by about ten of them.
I used to make a list of three tasks that I needed to complete in a week. Now that I’m doing it full time, that can increase to three tasks per day.
Maybe you can pick three blog-related tasks a month: start with picking a niche, keyword research and coming up with 50 articles ideas.
Next month could be getting a domain name, hosting, and a theme.
I recommend getting a domain name from Google, hosting from Siteground (there are tonnes of youtube videos to help with this), and a theme (Generatepress is great for newbies).
A great piece of advice that never gets mentioned in school career’s lessons is to think about the life you want, rather than the job you want.
There’s no point training to be a vet if you don’t like being on call, dog drool, or people crying. Do you really want to be a lawyer, or do you just like watching Law and Order and wearing suits?
If you want to start making a bit of money on the side with a blog, you don’t need to be working all hours of the day. It often does more harm than good. I know it’s the biggest cliche of all time, but slow and steady really does win the race.
It doesn’t matter if you change your niche. It doesn’t matter if you take six months off. Yes, it will slow your progress. Yes, it may take years to make significant money, but it’s worth it in the end*.
*If you enjoy writing. Should you be starting a blog just to make money, it may not be worth it. Sorry.