Your side hustle is the gift that keeps on giving

Festive season magic

If you’re a side hustler or solopreneur, the festive season isn’t just about blue skies, braais, festive season shopping and summer holidays. It’s also a great time to assess how the year has gone for your business and to plan for the year ahead. Do you meet your goals and expectations for 2019? What opportunities beckon in 2020?

Then there’s the question of how you will play it while everyone around you is taking a breather. Will you use the downtime to earn a little more cash for your summer holidays or will you follow the lead of so many other South Africans and take a well-deserved break. Whatever you decide, the slowdown for the school holidays is a great time for reflection.

Here are some thoughts to keep you motivated as the year draws to an end.

Give to get

As a child, the season is about getting: getting gifts, getting treats, and getting excited. As an adult, the focus turns to what we give, and that includes our time and effort. Giving to others, whether volunteering for a community organisation, donating to a charity, organising a party for colleagues and customers, or simply cooking a meal for the family, is a great tonic for your sense of wellbeing.

Giving to others is often the thing that sets apart a successful side hustle from the one that struggles. To get help, first help others. Give people your time, your advice, your material support (insofar as you can), and your attention. You won’t get far flying solo. Focus in on others and you will be amazed at the opportunities that open up for you down the road.

Time as income

When you’re a in the early stages of your solo venture or side hustle, it’s fair to assume every hour you’re not working is income you’re not earning. This can make the holiday season a particularly difficult time. How can you justify sitting around when there’s nobody to keep the business moving forward?

And what if your business is seasonal? Relegate yourself to the side lines for a few days or a week, and that’s a lot of business you might miss out on. However, working around the clock is not a recipe for long-term success. Side hustlers know this.  Accept there are only so many hours in the day, and that time is your most precious resource.

  • Acknowledge that you cannot practically work every single hour and still meet your family and other life commitments.
  • Plan carefully and honestly what you expect to get out of each day during the holiday period.
  • When you give yourself permission to relax, do exactly that.
  • If you still find yourself preoccupied with work, remember you can only successfully do one thing at a time; and that includes relaxing. The most successful solopreneurs know how to focus on what truly matters from moment to moment.
  • If you’re tired, get some rest. Studies show that working while tired is essentially the same as working drunk.
  • Recognise that things may come up – however inconvenient – that need your attention and you are just going to have to deal with them.

Be resourceful

The mark of a true solopreneur is not the money that your side hustle or small business may or may not make in the long run. Instead it is resourcefulness. Running your own business means making every cent, and every hour, count. And it means knowing when to ask for help from friends and family.

This festive season, use only what you need, and be careful not to buy in what you already have or can make yourself. At the same time, don’t penny pinch with those around you. Be generous in your time and give the people helping you as much as you can comfortably afford. And if you cannot give money or material things, remember you can always give your time.

However, as you approach this holiday season, take the opportunity to spend time with your friends, family, and loved ones. Be kind to yourself and to others. And get ready to hit 2019 with every ounce of passion you can bring to your side hustle. Oh, and don’t forget to get in some exercise between those festive season treats.

Here’s to a wonderful festive season for you and your family – and a prosperous and happy New Year.

This article has been adapted from an original piece by Matthew Pattinson.