A lot of the creative entrepreneurs out there are side-hustling, myself included. Where, after we get home from the 9-5 we work on our side-hustle/business/passion project.
While it's easy to look over at our friends who are full-time for themselves and think, "sure would be nice," the truth of the matter is, it won't be better, it would just be different.
It's SO easy to look over and have "the grass is always greener" mentality, when in reality, your situation is primarily affected by your emotions associated with that thing. Any day-job or even your own business can be as wonderful or as miserable as you make it out to be.
So today I have compiled a list of ways to be thankful for your full-time job and also some ways to use it to your advantage.
1. You have complete creative freedom
Having a full-time job may not seem like a luxury, but for your creativity, it definitely is.
When you have that reassurance of a reoccurring paycheck from the 9-5, your creativity can thrive. You have the opportunity to try new things and take risks.
But when you make the leap to work for yourself, it becomes less about the craft and more about getting paid. On the Being Boss podcast, Emily Thompson says, “nothing kills creativity more than desperation,” and I believe that to be so true.
If you know you're not going to make rent, your creativity is sacrificed for that job that may not light you up but it's something to pay the bills. When your side-hustle isn't the main breadwinner it's more about the creative freedom and accepting jobs that are the perfect fit and ones you truly enjoy.
2. You can take risks
Related to the above point, when you're in a situation where you depend on your passion to bring in the bucks sometimes that can lead to staying in the "safe zone," taking on jobs you know aren't a good fit but you don't have a choice.
For instance, if you want to try something crazy and do an art installation downtown, you can do it without the worry that you won’t be able to pay your electric bill because you're not depending on it to provide for you.
Especially if you’re just starting out and you haven’t found your niche, your audience, or your favorite medium, now is the time to take risks, experiment and see what you like. Find out what you’re best and experiment with the process.
In the book “Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity” Hugh McLeod writes a chapter entitled “Keep Your Day Job” for this very purpose, calling it the 'Sex and cash theory'. Meaning there’s the day job: cash and the side hustle: sex, and when the side hustle becomes the day job you lose the drive and creativity in place of stress and worry. I don't know if I agree with that 100%, but I can see some good points.
So if you're in a season of day job and side-hustle, take some risks! Now is the time.
3. Use can use your day job as a stepping stone
My older brother once said, “your employer hires the competition,” meaning the job you have now can prepare you for what you want to do for yourself.
If you’re currently at a full time job that is in a similar field as what you want to do for yourself, learn all there is to know while you're there.
Take a step back and really learn the entirety of the job so you can see if it’s what you want to do or not. Use the time to your advantage and soak up as much experience as you can.
4. Make the most of your workday resources
So, my 9-5 is at a specialty printing company where we do high end printing - which has some pretty nice perks. I have the opportunity to do some design work and I also am the prepress printer. So I print digital jobs.
Even though my job can sometimes be stale from lack of creativity, it’s helping me become a better designer because I'm learning the technical side of things, such as setting files up for print, getting die-cut jobs ready, best practices for files, paper quality, spot colors, and the list goes on. Sometimes I take my day job for granted, but it's truly been beneficial to my business and has taught me so much that I might not have learned by myself.
In short, soak up all the opportunities wherever you're at, and they can give you great knowledge, experience and practice for when you work for yourself.
5. Get free training
Your job is the one place where you can get paid for learning new things.
Like I said earlier, I do digital printing and design but I didn’t always do that. When I first got hired I did shipping and I grew into the role of prepress and printing later on.
When you work hard and show you’re a good student and you have the opportunity to move up in the company to a different department to do something you’re more passionate about. You never know until you ask.
6. Keep up your education as you work
If your job allows you the freedom to wear headphones this is perfect for you.
There are so many incredible resources at your fingertips from podcasts to YouTube videos to webinars to lectures — use this opportunity to soak up and learn from the pros while in your cubicle.
Or, if you don’t have that opportunity, learn what you can on your lunch break, use that time to sketch, think and plan for your own personal projects.
At the print shop where I am, it's nice to have copy paper at my disposal. So when I'm at my desk and an idea hits me I can quickly grab a pencil and sketch it out or write it down. A lot of times I write things in the Notes section of my phone too.
Having a quick way to scribble down ideas for you to mull over later is invaluable.
7. You can go at your own pace
Like I said earlier, when you have a steady paycheck, the beauty is, you can work has much or as little on your side hustle as you want.
If your goal is to go full time at the end of the year, calculate how much free time in the day you have to work on things and plan accordingly.
If you don’t mind your full time job and are enjoying having both things going, take your time. The beauty of it is that it’s all up to you.
I watched a replay of an Ellechat which is a live weekly webinar from Lauren Hooker of Elle and Company the other day. The replay I watched was called “The Hang Ups of Starting a Blog or Business.” Lauren had a guest on and they chatted about how they started their businesses and blogs and the difficulties of starting. The guest, Robyn of Real Food Whole Life, made a shocking confession (to me anyway) that amidst her wildly successful blog she maintains her full-time job.
I would think once you start monetizing it’s 'see ya later' to your 9-5. But Robyn was saying how she enjoyed that she had a lot of creative freedom because she had a steady income from her day job.
She said she may make the transition but she admitted that she was very happy with the current situation and that was really encouraging to me, knowing that it IS possible to grow something while maintaining a 9-5 and a life.
8. Develop those social skills
If your job interacts with customers this can be a great chance to work on the client relationship and understand how things work, what client meetings look like, or how to interact with people in different scenarios.
So, for me, at my day job I was given the task to do some event branding for a local business. I had never worked one-on-one with a client before so I was really excited to get started.
But, as it turned out, it was one of those horrible client experiences. But the experience showed me a lot of different dimensions of the client relationship and it showed me how to handle situations in the future. Now I can better approach difficult customers for my own business.
9. You can grow your business organically
Do you know what growing organically means?
It’s means growing reeeeeaaaaaally slowly.
This is hard for those who really dislike their day job.
But, growing organically is the sure way to a successful long-term business.
Sure, you have some of those jobs that happen overnight but most of them have taken a lot of blood, sweat, tears and time. It takes time to grow things of value and I think there’s no way around it.
Whether it be months or years the nice thing about having a day job is that you can afford to grow your side hustle organically.
10. You can pivot without repercussions
It's easy to think that when you're full-time for yourself things won't be as "hard" or things will be smooth sailing. But the truth is, once you have an income stream, it's difficult to change directions if you want to.
It's definitely possible, but it's much easier to change things when you're not completely relying on your business for providing for you and paying the bills.
So if you're just starting out or if you've been doing the day job and side-hustle for a while now, maybe it's a good time to ask yourself if you really love what you're doing, if you want to change directions, or if you maybe want to make some changes to your service or products.
It's nice to have the day job to fall back on and be able to make small or big changes to your business effortlessly.
If you're growing slowly and still maintain a 9-5 don't be discouraged. Right now you can take your time, develop your craft, get paid to learn more and you have the option of taking risks. I say, it’s a win-win-win-win!
If you're a side-hustler, which out of these 10 things do you appreciate the most about your day job?
Do you plan to make a smooth transition? Or will you maintain your day job as you become successful?