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I'm an Indiana girl who started a small Etsy shop side hustle in college and grew it into a nationally recognized personal brand. I love writing, educating, and raising chickens with my husband. I'm here to help other multi-passionate, ambitious women (like you!) own their everyday and reach their potential, too!

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4 Tips to Starting a Creative Side Hustle When Your Hands Are Already Full

Do you have a big dream that seems totally out of reach given your current schedule? Maybe you’ve been really wanting to start that Etsy shop or web design business but with your current job, family needs, home projects, and extra commitments… there’s not much time left to squeeze in another thing.

Plus, if you’re anything like me, you tend to overcommit yourself. Personally, this year’s big resolution is to allow more time for rest and taking care of myself by making room for margin.

Maybe you’re in a similar boat. 

Look, I get it. On the one hand, you want to be careful not to overcommit yourself because your hands are already pretty full. But on the other hand, you don’t want to keep putting off your dreams. 

#thestruggleisreal 

You just KNOW this is your year to finally go for it… it’s just finding time to actually start that’s a problem. 

I’ve been in your shoes. 

At the beginning of 2019, I KNEW I wanted to start my online school for creative female entrepreneurs buuuut I also had 4 arms to my business going (my shop, my podcast, 1:1 business coaching, and speaking). 

On top of that, I was getting ready to launch my book and go on a national book tour in the Spring.

It didn’t exactly seem like the ideal time to add on my next creative endeavor. 

My plate was already so full. However, I knew in my gut that I at least needed to move in that direction because I had been putting it off for over a year at that point even if I wasn’t going to be able to really develop the full vision right away.

So you know what I did? I looked at the whole year and made a plan. I decided to give my all to stewarding what was already on my plate, and slowly but surely shifting things around to make room in the first three quarters of the year so that I’d be ready to take the first step in quarter 4. 

When quarter 4 rolled around, I didn’t build out a full website or have a massive business built ready to rock and roll. Not even in the slightest. 

I simply made the announcement to my community and offered a short one time group coaching program to kick it off without a super long term commitment on my part. I had to give four weeks – and I learned a lot from those four weeks! 

Not only did those who took the program get some incredible results but I did as well! That small start helped me see what my community REALLY needs and how I could dedicate the following year to developing tools and resources to meeting those needs.

So, if you have a vision for the creative business you want to start but feel like you have no time… I’ve got 4 incredibly important tips for you.

1. You don’t have the time unless you make the time.

This is just a fact. You may not be able to make the time to go all in within the next three months of your life, and that’s okay. 

Think bigger picture. Look ahead to the next 12 months and pick the 90 day window where you can commit to taking the first steps to really getting it going (even if you still can’t go all in). 

The point I’m trying to make is that you, and only you, are responsible for investing in your dream. And the most important investment you can make into your dream is TIME. More specifically committed time (like my 4 week coaching program in Q4 example!). 

Look at the next year in 90 day increments (did you know our brains are biologically wired to operate in 90 day increments? We get bored if we try to do the same thing for too long). Consider what you’ll dedicate the bulk of your free time to in each 90 day window. If it’s not Quarter 1, could it be Quarter 2 and 3? What steps would you need to take to prepare for that? 

To really invest time and energy into this, ask yourself this very important question: What Can I Let Go and What Do I Want to Grow? 

Can you let go of Netflix for 90 days in Quarter 3 and dedicate that time to building your dream? What does your answer to this question look like and which 90 day period of the year will you commit to this discipline?

2. Incremental, Implementable, Imperfect Action 

I know all the motivational gurus are telling you to take BIG, MASSIVE ACTION. And sometimes, that’s what it takes. There are certainly times we just have to take a big step or make the leap. 

But more often than not, especially for the busy, everyday woman just trying to pay her bills without giving up on her dreams, taking massive action just isn’t realistic.

This is why my mantra is incremental, implementable, imperfect action. In other words, what is ONE thing you can do to move 1% closer to starting that creative business dream even if you’re not actually starting it yet?  

A friend of mine that I had on my podcast not too long ago shared a great example on this. She said, “As a mental health counselor with a dream to be a writer, I knew I wanted to do more writing on mental health buuuut my workload as a counselor was already overwhelming… I knew it wasn’t something I could really pursue full time in the near future. So, I focused on doing one tiny thing that would allow me to move a little closer to the dream without abandoning all stability: I’d write one caption on mental health content per week for the next few months.”

She shared that doing that allowed her to fulfill that passion a little bit, and begin establishing her as an authority on the subject online, without having to give TOO much time or go all in. 

Look, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing when you’re just starting out! What can you do that would move you 1% closer to what you want to do? 

3. Start with a Plan 

To piggyback off the last point, sometimes the best incremental action step you can take is to MAKE A PLAN.

Us creatives are FULL of big ideas and not always so savvy when it comes to planning… and without a plan, those big ideas can sometimes overwhelm us, right? 

So, I’d recommend that the one incremental step you take is to actually put pen to paper and create a business plan for yourself so that you have a roadmap to follow step by step! 

This doesn’t require you to launch or start the operations of the business overnight but it will help you get a clearer picture of what you’re going for, who you’re aiming to serve, and what you need to do first, second, third, etc.

Once you have a business plan, you can begin to formulate a bit more of an action plan.

4. Keep a Dream Notepad (even if you don’t make money in that business for another 6-12 months)

Last but not least, even if you’re not quite ready to go all in, I highly recommend you go to the store and buy yourself a note-pad or journal dedicated solely to your creative business dreams and ideas. 

When you have an idea for something you want to create or launch in the middle of the night or while you’re at work, WRITE IT DOWN in the dream notebook. 

Then, when it comes time to really dip your toe in the water and start the business as a side hustle, you can go through your ideas and start with the one that’s most practical for you to implement FIRST.  

This is a tool that has helped my non-stop brain keep my ideas organized without having to totally alter the whole business plan every time I have a new idea.

Once you’ve had a chance to watch the video, we’d love to hear from you:

  1. What’s your creative dream?
  2. What’s ONE thing you can let go to make a little room to take an incremental step in that direction?

Drop your answers in the comments below!

January 6, 2020

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