I ran into an acquaintance at a coffee shop. She had just finished taking a meeting about some freelance copywriting work, so I asked her how her work was going.
“Good, I guess”, she said, shrugging and casting her eyes downward. “I mean, I’m still doing some other stuff to supplement my income.”
She was sheepish about the whole thing. She seemed ashamed or embarrassed by the need to take on other work while she was building her business – apologetic, even.
I see this a lot. And I get it. I sooooo get it. It’s not awesome to have to take on other work because your business isn’t making enough money to pay the bills. Yet most people do this in the beginning, myself included. I kept my gig as a part-time professor for a while before I took my business full-time. It’s true what they say: success doesn’t happen overnight.
Not being psyched about your part-time job is one thing, feeling ashamed of it is another. You needn’t feel insecure about doing what you have to do to put food in mouths while you get things off the ground. Don’t apologize for the hustle. OWN it.
Holding down a waitressing job so you can be available for auditions? OWN it, girl. You’re doing what you have to do to make your chosen profession work.
Still working tradeshows while you set up your PR firm? OWN it. They’re a good way to meet people, anyway.
Working part-time at a retail job while you write your book? OWN it. You’re getting paid to think up your next chapter title while folding sweaters.
Working full-time for a startup to pay off your student debt while you plan your own biz on evenings and weekends? OWN it. Who wants to start a business in debt, anyway?
Let’s remove the cloak of shame around the various ways we make money. You have to start somewhere, and every person who has ever built something big started with something small.
Having a side hustle does not make you a second class of entrepreneur. And you’re not a second rate professional just because you’re doing a slow build toward your second, or third, or tenth career.
You’re being responsible, thoughtful, methodical. You know that despite what you’ve heard, life is not a race. You’ll get there eventually. In the meantime, you’re doing what you need to do to fund The Dream. Don’t apologize for it. Not ever.