In the past couple months, I’ve had a few opportunities arise. Being pursued and told your work is valuable is affirmation we all seek. For each chance, I thought I was really close. That any day, my work was going to change drastically. However, the opportunities were not the right fit, and we both moved on. It would have been easy to slack off and not write or build new sites in this time, after all something would work out, right?
Wrong. The universe does not owe me a job or a decent shot at something fun. In everything, I’ve gotten up and put my best work out in the world, and the world can do what it wants with it. Because whether the offer comes through or the pitch is accepted, I’m still slinging cardboard tomorrow morning.
Throughout this unstable time in my work, I’ve done my best to keep plugging away the work which got me noticed in the first place. Helpful content, great stories, and brands that connect. A lot has gone on behind the scenes, and I’m behind in my publishing schedule, but I’ve kept hustling.
An interviewer asked me if I would keep writing and producing content even if it wasn’t a part of my job requirements anymore. For me, and hopefully for all of us, this is an emphatic YES!
I believe we’re all in the age of the never-ending side hustle. Part of who I am and how I stay sharp is through writing and producing content. My online portfolio is just as important as my resume, and I would argue it’s more important.
You should always keep your resume updated, and keeping your blog-podcast-graphics-github updated is equally important. I love how Austin Kleon says “these days showing your work is just as important as doing your work”.
Earlier in the year, my Dad talked about his long-standing hustle, tax returns. As a CPA, he’s been doing this for a while. In the past several years though, he has done much better in his primary job, and could probably give up his tax clients without a financial hit.
But he doesn’t. Why? Here’s what he told me.
Because you never know when the job isn’t going to be there anymore. I’ve always kept these clients as insurance against lean years in the future, and it helps me remember all the lean years in the past. It keeps me hungry.
There’s another aspect to the willingness to hustle, and it’s taking short-term jobs that keep long-term dreams alive. When you’re between jobs and blogging isn’t paying the bills, it’s time to step up and hustle! I believe the courage to get on your feet and get to work is can be undervalued. Working for your passion is something to strive for, but in the meantime we’ve still got to eat and keep the lights on!
In the past year, here are a few things I’ve done to stay afloat, in addition to online web design and consulting.
- School bus driver
- Lyft driver
- UPS shipping specialist
- Football & Track coach
One of the most useful techniques I’ve found for hustling is to find unique convergences of your talent and resources. Communities like Elance and Odesk offer ways to find paid projects and assignments (I found my audio editor on Elance). Sharing economies like AirBnB, Lyft, and Uber can help you make money using your home and car. Part-time jobs are everywhere, then you can supplement through teaching, coaching, and almost anything else you can imagine.
The important part is to keep moving forward. Don’t dwell too long on success or failure. Both are mechanisms to teach us how to live with grace and humility. But please keep hustling, don’t ever step writing, drawing, designing, building, and solving the little problems only you are able to crack.
I promise you, one day it will matter.
photo credit: NCAA
FYI: The player in the photo is Patric Young, an athlete renowned for his heart, grit, and hustle on the court. He’s one of the first people that pop in to my mind when I hear the word hustle. It reminds me of the opportunity each of us has to work hard, do the little things right, and never allow a day to go by thinking “I could have done more”.
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