When Passion Meets Purpose: From Side Hustle to Full-Time Entrepreneurship
From Side Hustle to Full-Time Entrepreneurship
When Passion Meets Purpose: From Side Hustle to Full-Time Entrepreneurship
In a world where nearly two in five (39 percent) U.S. adults juggle side hustles alongside their primary jobs, pursuing a passion project alongside a regular career has become increasingly common.
As a long-time marketer, I was fascinated by the idea of side hustles. In fact, I have even hired freelancers for various projects throughout my career. Simultaneously, I harbored a fervor and talent for writing.
In early 2019, I embraced freelance blogging as a way to refine my skills. I did it all while maintaining my full-time position. Little did I know that this journey would eventually lead me to the transformative decision of turning my side hustle into my full-time entrepreneurship.
The Moment to Make It or Break It: Side Hustle to Full-Time Gig?
My trajectory was building up to a pivotal juncture. The time had come to fully commit to my writing passion or continue down the familiar path. This crossroads, amid uncertainty and excitement, marked a turning point that would reshape my career and life.
The Evolution of a Passion for Writing and Information
From my earliest days in elementary school, I was the child who preferred scribbling stories in my notebook while leaning against the school wall rather than joining playground games. And when my dad brought home our first personal computer (yes, I may be dating myself), I taught myself how to type and started hammering out short stories on the new PC.
High school further solidified my love for writing, starting with the opportunity to serve as the news editor for the high school paper during my junior year and editor-in-chief my senior year.
The college years began with dreams of journalism, and I served as co-editor-in-chief during my first two years of junior college. When transferring to the University of Minnesota to earn my bachelor’s degree, a journalism degree was the obvious choice. However, some challenges with the accreditation program at the University of Minnesota got in the way. So, I changed my program to English. I studied the English classics, the art of storytelling, and how to use the written word to engage and inform an audience. My degree poised me well for a career in marketing. And while my journey in the marketing space left me content, I always felt that something vital was missing – my true passion.
Navigating the Unexpected
During my professional journey, I forged a successful path in sales. I represented esteemed names in the industry, such as FICO and Experian. These experiences not only acquainted me with marketing services but also introduced me to the world of personal finance and credit scoring.
While my role centered on selling to financial clients, an unexpected skill emerged—my flair for writing and effective communication. Little did I anticipate that crafting persuasive proposals, armed with the ability to inform and influence, would become my forte. I could fuse my writing prowess with the demands of the sales arena. It became a surprising yet impactful synergy, propelling me forward in unforeseen ways.
While I found contentment in the sales arena, however, relishing the financial rewards it brought, I recognized that the art of proposal writing alone couldn’t sustain my lasting fulfillment. The urge to immerse myself back into the traditional marketing landscape grew strong.
Sales and Marketing Sales – Where Did I Fit?
My pursuit led me to Sutherland Global Services, where I became the head of marketing for various industries, specializing in financial services, courtesy of my past stint with FICO and Experian. A pivotal shift occurred with the arrival of a new CMO, allowing me to explore corporate marketing under his mentorship. This period marked my introduction to the Upwork platform, where I seamlessly enlisted freelance writers for content creation—unveiling a realm that would soon become integral to my journey.
Following my trajectory, I encountered an opportunity to re-enter the sales realm, this time with a budding digital marketing start-up, which at the time was called SteelHouse. Drawn by the prospect of working for a former colleague from Experian, I embarked on this journey. The role was intriguing, offering insights into the potency of video in marketing content.
Yet, I soon realized it wasn’t the perfect fit for me. As circumstances unfolded, the company proposed relocating to Los Angeles—an option incompatible with my family commitments and a fraying marriage. Opting for a small golden parachute, I charted a new course by embracing Upwork. The outcome was remarkable—new clients flocked in, cushioning my brief period of unemployment to a mere eight weeks.
Freelancing turned out to be a game-changer for me. It padded my income to support me financially after my previous job. And, it eventually prepared me to find another full-time job. Although I returned to a regular job, I still kept a few freelance clients that I enjoyed working with the most. This balanced approach let me have the best of both worlds.
The Diamond in the Rough
Before the pivotal moment that changed my trajectory to put me where I am today, I had headed the marketing efforts for a small emergency loan provider. It was a notable departure from my previous corporate environments, as this was the smallest company I had ever worked for.
Yet, the world of financial services marketing captivated me. Despite my enthusiasm, the nature of the loan product restricted my ability to engage in what truly ignited my passion – content marketing through blogs, social media, and more. Despite this, I persevered. Around the same time, my marriage ended, adding another layer of complexity.
With the dream of full-time freelancing drifting further away, I continued to balance my full-time job with those cherished freelancing side gigs. It was a period of survival, determination, and hope for a brighter future.
A subsequent lay-off in 2023 after three years with the company was a gut punch, but it unexpectedly crystallized the path ahead. My freelance clientele expanded, and while job rejections stung, they couldn’t dim the growing beacon of my entrepreneurial pursuit. The prospect of not just surviving but thriving through my passion became apparent.
Seizing the Moment
To truly understand my journey from side hustle to full-time entrepreneurship, embracing what was happening outside of the workday was important. Amid these turning points, my personal life was undergoing a profound transformation. The dissolution of my marriage in December 2019, almost simultaneously with starting my new role at the emergency loan provider, plunged me into immense upheaval.
Amidst the chaos, my children and I experienced a challenging relocation journey, shedding many possessions but holding onto our unbreakable bond. The transition was a crucible of discovery, marked by unwise choices and valuable lessons. Yet, through determination and resilience, we navigated the storm, picking up the scattered fragments of our lives.
A Beacon of Hope
Then, a beacon of hope emerged. In February 2021, after navigating the realm of online dating, replete with first dates that led nowhere (a story deserving its own blog post), a fateful encounter introduced me to a remarkable man. What began as a chance connection flourished into a significant relationship that brought a wealth of unforeseen joys.
With newfound love bolstering my spirits, I was better equipped to face the professional crossroads that awaited me. As the landscape of my life shifted, my freelancing journey took a more significant role, shaping my career trajectory in ways that would eventually bring me to the precipice of a bold decision.
Armed with my fiancé’s support (he asked, and I said yes), I decided to go all-in on freelancing only a few weeks after that January 2023 layoff and just one week before our pending nuptials.
The work surged, and my rates followed suit, solidifying my place in the freelance blogging and copywriting landscape. Clients were willing to invest in the quality of work I could deliver, propelling me toward profitability and an unparalleled sense of fulfillment.
Turning Your Side-Hustle into a Full-Time Gig: Suggestions
The allure of side hustles is undeniable. For many, they’re a means of attaining personal freedom (38.7%), an avenue for additional income (27.4%), or a creative outlet (5.6%), among other motivations.
In my case, the drive stemmed from a blend of creative expression and a sense of calling, which unexpectedly evolved into a fiscally rewarding endeavor. The decision to transform my side hustle into a full-time gig was grounded in passion and economic feasibility. And ultimately, I surpassed the income I garnered from that previous stint at that smaller lender.
It Didn’t Happen Overnight
However, transitioning from a side hustle to a full-time venture doesn’t transpire overnight. My journey was no exception. The evolution required patience, strategic planning, and a steadfast commitment to growth. Gradual steps, unexpected challenges, and a constant learning curve mark the process.
The transformation demanded a blend of tenacity, resourcefulness, and a willingness to embrace the unknown. The path from occasional freelancing to full-time entrepreneurship was a testament to preparation and opportunity. Consider the following if you contemplate turning your side hustle into a full-time gig.
- Assess Your Passion: Gauge your enthusiasm for your side hustle – is it sustainable as a full-time endeavor?
- Financial Preparedness: Ensure a financial safety net before leaping.
- Network and Relationships: Nurture client relationships and build connections in your field.
- Skill Refinement: Continuously improve your skills to stay competitive.
- Embrace Change: Adapt to unexpected challenges with resilience and creativity.
Never Be Afraid to Pursue Your Passion
My journey from side hustle to full-time entrepreneurship is a testament to the power of embracing one’s passions. Through determination, support, a willingness to take risks, and support from the people who love me most, I found a fulfilling career path that aligns with my purpose.
If my story resonates, remember that your aspirations are worth pursuing, too. Don’t let fear hold you back—take that step toward your passion and transform it into a reality.