Work Smarter//

I Quit a High-Paying Job to Work for Myself—And You Can, Too

Start where you are with what you have.

When most of us think about our passion we rarely think of it making us money. Usually passion is something reserved for our leisure time, and not everything you are passionate about should be a revenue source—playing golf, teaching your dog new tricks, writing poetry, or selling vintage items on eBay—might be activities you want to keep just for fun. 

Maybe you enjoy knitting more when you don’t have a set output you have to meet, or you love attending yoga class but don’t want the pressure of showing others the headstand pose you’ve not quite mastered. That’s fine! If you are an incredible cook you might want to reserve your talents for people you love. You don’t have to want to cook for others or teach others your culinary secrets. 

But if you do—think of how many people would love to learn how to cook, or the entire market out there that might enjoy your gastronomic creations. Martha Stewart started out as a local caterer. Bethenny Frankel baked and delivered her own cakes under the name Bethenny Bakes. You need to identify which passion you would like to make a business—one that can live and breathe and sustain itself and one that you won’t resent as it grows and demands more of your creativity, time, and energy. Then—down to business!

The secret to success is being resourceful. The number one way to do this is to use your network. It’s bigger than you think. As was covered in the previous chapter, don’t be afraid to let your contacts know that you’re open for business. Post your side hustle work on social media, share your elevator pitch with everyone you meet, and start an email list updating people with your offers. Most people will support you. After some time my corporate clients became some of my biggest supporters and even coaching clients (turns out a few had, or wanted to begin, their own hustles).

The following reinforces the point that hustles are differentiated from hobbies by producing income: So many of my coaching and consulting clients spend more time worrying about their website and business cards when they start out than they do about getting paying clients—but I started making thousands in extra monthly income BEFORE I had a website or a business card. Yes, they can be useful tools, but they’re no substitute for your own hustling attitude.

Start where you are with what you have. The trick to kicking off a successful side hustle in record time is to put word out—get orders or service requests and just BEGIN. It’s a common misconception that you need a lot of money to start a business. Several people have said things to me along the lines of “Well, you had all of this money saved from a lucrative career, so it must have been easy for you to invest it into your business,” but my initial set-up costs were precisely $0. In fact, I made it a condition of my side hustle that it had to pay for itself, so I had paying clients before I spent a cent on my business. I knew that if my side hustle were not self-sustaining, I’d never be able to grow it to a point that would allow me to quit my job without dipping into my savings.

You don’t need an office or studio. You can help someone with their résumé over Skype or in a café, for example. You can show people how to housebreak their puppies in their apartment and in the park. You can be a freelance web designer and work from anywhere remotely. My friend Amber, a photographer and videographer, generates up to $4K a month for just the price of a latte or sandwich with a new client! Plus, she chooses when and how much extra work to take on. While she balances her demanding day job with her growing video business, Amber says, “I take frequent breaks and will step back from projects if I think they are weighing on me too much.” She also makes sure to value herself properly by never working for free. While this can be a technique for getting your foot in the door, it’s important to value what you’re offering. That way, others will too.

Look around you. Who can you add to your email list? How can you grow this list? What did you leave untapped? Your volleyball group? Old coworkers? College alumni? The parents of your children’s friends? What Facebook and LinkedIn groups are you in? Can your spouse help with his or her friends? Remember—the world needs your product or service, so you must not be bashful in sharing it!

Adapted from “What If It Does Work Out?” by Susie Moore, published by Ixia Press. Copyright (c) 2017 by Susie Moore. All rights reserved. 

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.