First my dad wanted me to be an anesthesiologist. Then he backed his wish down to nurse anesthetist. Eventually it was, how about just a regular nurse?
The closer I got to enrolling in journalism school, he was practically begging me to do anything else. There was no money in it, he told me. But I didn’t care. I wanted to write. And four years later, when I accepted an entry level sportswriter job, the $26,000 annual salary seemed like more money than I could ever spend.
It didn’t take long before I realized that Dad was right. A writing career isn’t especially lucrative. Especially not for most 22-year-olds.
I had to scrimp. I got by on Campbell’s Chunky for a while. I found some really professional-looking shirts at the second-hand store. I discovered that if you filled your tank at night, the cool air would contract the gas molecules and you could get more mileage for your buck. (Don’t quote me on the science behind that theory. There’s a reason I didn’t become an anesthesiologist.)
Eventually I got pretty tired of “The Soup That Eats Like a Meal.” Never mind wanting more money, I needed more. Student loan and credit card payments were eating me alive.
And then one day, miraculously, a friend at another company needed help on a project, and I discovered freelance writing—my first side hustle. It’s a wonder that they don’t teach classes about freelancing in journalism school. Without it, I would be doing something else right now—anything else. But the extra income from my side hustle allowed me to keep writing. It got me through the lean early years and allowed me to make it to this point, where I can do a job I love that serves others and pay the bills.
A side hustle can work two ways—either it helps support you financially, as in my case, or it helps feed your soul as a passion project. If self-determination is your passion, your side hustle, then you’ve picked up the right issue of SUCCESS.
If self-determination is your passion, your side hustle, then you’ve picked up the right issue of SUCCESS.
Be sure to check out our ultimate guide to a solo-on-the-side pursuit. We also profile lots of people like you, achievers who never settle, and introduce our first ever 30-under-30 list. Plus, be sure to check out our feature stories on perseverance, positivity, imagination and productivity.
I would say that you couldn’t ask for anything more. But you’re a side hustler—you always ask for more. That’s why this issue is devoted to you.
Related: The Side Hustler’s Handbook
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2019 issue of SUCCESS magazine.
Photo by @criene via Twenty20