The other day, I was in a meeting with my entire company when everyone started clapping for me. I work at a company with a supportive culture where we regularly celebrate one another’s accomplishments, so the clapping wasn’t particularly surprising, but what they were congratulating me for was. It wasn’t a campaign or piece of content for a client—in fact, it wasn’t related to my full-time job at all. The CEO had announced that I had an article published in Fast Company, a personal goal for my freelance writing career. It was that meeting that got me thinking more about the ways that a side hustle can help your full-time job.
There is a common misconception that having a side hustle is detrimental to one’s career. The myth is that if you’re doing something on the side, you aren’t 100 percent focused on your full-time job. I’ve found the opposite to be true: My writing and marketing outside of work makes me better at my job. I am constantly learning about new industries, fostering relationships, being creative, and making my writing stronger. Still skeptical? Here are five ways that a side hustle can actually help you at your full-time job.
You may spend hours researching a position, adjusting your resume, and crafting the perfect cover letter only to have some arbitrary algorithm eliminate your application before HR even sees it — let alone a hiring manager. Of course, you need to ensure your resume is optimized with proper formatting and keywords, but there are better ways to impress your potential employer.
You need to set yourself apart, and we’re here to help you do it. Here are five ways to stand out from the applicant crowd and score that coveted first interview.
In the age of self-made YouTube stars, Kickstarter campaigns, and food bloggers, it’s no surprise our newest job seekers are pursuing passion over a steady income, established companies, and climbing the corporate ladder. This is leading to a proliferation of freelancers, artisan businesses, and innovative startups. Rather than the exception, it has become the perceived rule: Do what you love, and the rest will follow.
Is Passion Enough?
The reality is, however, there are many reasons why turning your passions into a career can actually backfire. Following your passions is important, but it’s simply not enough to develop an idea into something real, and profitable.
The No. 1 reason startups fail? Customers don’t want the products. Other pitfalls include an inadequate team and ineffective marketing. In turns out, there are millions of details— everything from user research to marketing your product to actually developing the idea and building it—that require tangible skills. While passion might provide the spark of an idea, there’s no guarantee it can carry you across the proverbial finish line.
I was an Account Manager for a startup-ish company (read: cool downtown office, lots of young people, OK to wear your pajamas to work) that seemed like the perfect match on paper. Unfortunately, it came with a verbally abusive boss that left me psychosomatic. My breaking point was having to run off a rush hour train to dry heave into a trash can at one of the busiest NYC subway platforms…and feeling fine once I knew I couldn’t go into work that day.
Live your passion. Follow your bliss. Do what you love.
You’ve probably heard advice like this when it comes to finding and achieving your dream career. But what if you’re not sure what your passion is? Or what if you have many passions? If either scenario is the case for you, then this advice remains vague and largely unhelpful.
I’ve worked with thousands of creative people on their dream career development since 2008, and what I kept finding was this:
It’s not about doing what you love or loving what you do. It’s about getting clarity on your lifestyle goals, and then figuring out what you need to do to bring them to life.
Simply put, a “dream career” is one that allows you to wake up in the morning, think about the day ahead, and look forward to at least 70% of it. If you’re doing work you enjoy with people you like being around, and it leaves room for your personal priorities, then you’re in the sweet spot.
Do you want your lifestyle to allow you to pick up your kids from the bus and spend quality time with them until bed? Then that’s a piece of your dream career puzzle.
Do you want to be able to work from anywhere, filling up your passport quickly? Then that’s a piece of your dream career puzzle.
Do you want to be able to attend a lunchtime yoga class every weekday? Then that’s a piece of your dream career development puzzle.
Are you finding it hard to finally resolve to do something new in your career in 2016? Maybe you’re starting the year bogged down in endless work that you don’t enjoy. Or maybe you’re dealing with something more permanent, and you feel like you’ve lost an important spark in your career development.
Regardless of your situation, it’s important to take a step back and remember: everyone goes through these dips and spikes in their careers. Even more? The power is in your hands to course-correct and find the right path forward.
You need inspiration. But contrary to the popular saying, inspiration doesn’t just ‘strike.’ You need to go out and find it. Get in the right mindset for 2016 with the following TED talks.
In the world of startups, one fact that is very often glossed over is that most startups do not ever raise any money, much less Kleiner-Perkins venture capital money. Even then, only a very small percentage of companies do raise any venture capital – and the majority still fail.
For the startups who don’t raise venture capital, how do we fund our businesses from startup, through cash-flow positive, through profitability? We bootstrap it. But what does that look like?
Completely simplified, bootstrapping a business is very clear: you use only the money you have and the money you make from the business to start, build, and grow the business. More specifically, here are a few of the things that you may and may not do in order to bootstrap your business.
A recent University of Phoenix survey showed that 63% of 20-somethings have a strong desire to start a business. That’s a great first step: desire. But what else does it take to start a business that is sustainable? Since 1999, right around the time many of these 20-somethings were born, I’ve started seven businesses. Five of them failed. In that time, I’ve learned from experience what it takes to be a startup founder.
Mia Pokriefka enrolled in User Experience Design in January 2014 at General Assembly’s Los Angeles campus. Before long, she was able to combine her passion for serving and empowering people with her newly-learned UX skills into a site called Elm. Together with her best friend, Elissa, and a former classmate, Amanda, Mia is building her own company. Elm teaches everyone the skills you need for life based on other people’s shared experiences. Continue reading →