Creating Your Side Gig in Six Steps
Welcome! This is the program, you’re in the right kitchen. If you missed the original content (totally worth it), you should see it here. Context is everything, my friend.
It is so cool that you are doing this. I absolutely believe that you can create extra income that will also feed your soul. Mick and Keef would be proud.
You don’t have to lock yourself in a room with cancer sticks, but getting yourself in a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted will be very helpful. For best results, work each step before moving on to the next. Don’t forget your worksheet!
1. Start From Where You Are
This first step is crazy important but super simple. You already have everything you need to do it. You’re going to take a good look at your present situation. Fortunately or unfortunately, you’re the only person who can do this.
It’s important that you’re 100% honest about your current circumstance. We’ll get to wishes, dreams and motivation later, but right now you’re just taking a look around. Assessing. Ask yourself questions like:
What’s my working situation? Employed? Full time, part time? Too much?
What’s my money situation? Enough? Not nearly? More than I know what to do with?
What’s my family and friend situation? Do I have good people around me?
What are my resources? Do I have my own working space? A computer? A notebook?
Spend as much time as you need to think on these, but once you’ve done the thinking, it’s helpful to write your answers down. Not only does it give you clarity, but you can look back later and see where it all started.
You know where you are. Now what?
Once you have those answers, go back over each circumstance and write down how you would change it if you could (or not). Mick and Keith wanted to get more gigs and make more money. What do you want? Try not to judge your answers. This is the part in life where you get to say what you want. This is just for you, you’re not sharing this with anyone if you don’t want to.
Are you done? Awesome, great job. Now you know where you are and where you want to be. Take five before we move on to the next section. I would tell you to smoke one, but those things will kill you.
2. What Do You Like To Do?
Time to make another list. What do you like to do? What interests you? What are you passionate about? What could you talk about for hours? It doesn’t matter what it is. Day drinking? Okay. Crocheting beer can hats? Nifty. Tinkering with old cars? Rad. Playing the recorder? Lovely. Vegan baking? Mmmmmboy. Sex? Sure, why not.
There are probably a lot of things you like to do. Write them all down. Yeah, even the weird ones.
This is another time where the judgment fairies will slap you in the head if you start in with the “But I couldn’t do…” You’re not here to judge what comes out of your head at this point. You’re just making a list of stuff. No matter how silly. This is not about “shoulds,” this is about “likes.”
It’s tempting to confuse this with what you think will make money. Slow down, we’ll get there. Right now is not the time for exploring get-rich-quick schemes on the internet. This is looking inside yourself to see what you like to do. That’s it. Really.
Got your list? Good. I hope it’s full of fun things you really like. If not, go back and start over.
3. How to Make Money?
See, it didn’t take long to get here. This is kind of the fun part. Look over your list. Take each thing you wrote down and do a little brainstorming. Is there a way to make money with the thing you like to do? Spoiler Alert: there is. There are no wrong answers here, this is you getting creative.
Like tinkering with cars? So many possibilities. Do simple maintenance on your neighbor’s cars. Make how-to videos. Package and sell DIY car maintenance kits.
Day drinking? Start a wine tasting blog that focuses on Rosé. Write a cocktail book.
Sex? Online sex toy store. Make videos teaching teens about safe sex.
If you know that people are already making money with your interest, that’s fantastic. If you’ve never heard of anything like it before, that’s okay, too.
4. Narrowing It Down
This step is a little more of a challenge. Kind of like Mick and Keith, there may be so many options on the table, you don’t know where to start. Do you write songs about booze and cigarettes, or girls and cigarettes? Crying and cigarettes?
Take a deep breath and look over your list. Which ones make your heart skip a little beat? Which ones would you do just for fun, even if you didn’t make any money at all?
It’s super important that you’re not hung up on the money part right now. The reason is that as soon as you start counting cash in your head, you’re doomed. This thing you’re going to start doing absolutely needs to be something you are passionate about, that you love, that you would be doing anyway. Otherwise, when things get a little tough (they will) you will very likely drop it altogether. Because you already know a few ways you could make money with any of them, you can forget about that for now. Try to focus on what’s jumping out at you without thinking too hard.
Once you have it down to two or three and you just can’t narrow it further, you will just have to choose one. Eenie-meenie-miney-moe. Close your eyes and point. Whatever. You can always go back and do them another time, but for right now you need to pick only one to start working on.
Got it? You are doing amazing. Take another five.
5. Mise En Place
This is one of my favorite phrases and activities. It’s French for “putting in place.” It’s used in kitchens where a chef needs all the ingredients assembled before they start cooking. That’s what you’re going to do here. You’re going to assemble everything you need to get yourself started creating your thing.
Mark your territory! You need to designate a special space just for this. Here’s some helpful reading on that: http://littlesidegig.com/start-with-your-space
Are you crafting things to sell? Cool. If you have what you need, get it together now. If you need to acquire things, do it now (at least order them). Dust off some shelf space or put your tools and supplies in a box or bag. Need to use the family computer? Create a user profile and folders of your own so you’re not sharing with anyone else. The main thing here is that you want to set up easy access to your stuff. You want to be able to hit the ground running. You don’t want to be hunting around for your knitting needles when it’s time to get to work.
If you live with others, your mise en place means making sure that you have time to yourself without distraction. If you can’t lock yourself in a room, then you have to make it clear to everyone around that you’re working on your thing. Your presence in the communal space does not equal availability. Unless you’re writing songs about tears going by with your guitarist. Then you kinda have to be available for them.
6. Make a Schedule
One of the most important things you can do is to set aside purposeful time for your thing. Like all the other steps you took to get here, it’s about making it clear to yourself and the world that you are actually doing something of importance.
If you try to multi-task this and work it into the chaos of your day, it will feel like fiddling around. Fiddling around doesn’t seem very important. Establishing a scheduled time does, and you will accomplish more if you take your time seriously.
You don’t have to be detailed about what you’re going to do with each scheduled time slot, unless you want to be. You’re just blocking out the time to work on the thing you said you want to do. An hour, half an hour, 45 minutes, 20 minutes, whatever. It may not seem like much right now, but it adds up. If you’re feeling ambitious and you have more free time, then do more. Yay! Just don’t forget to celebrate when you complete your scheduled time. Every time you work on your thing, you are a step closer to getting your boring blues band on the charts.
Need More Help?
Hey, I’m proud of you. Mick and Keef would be proud of you, too, if they had any idea of the amazing things you are going to do.
If you got stuck on anything here, or you have questions after you’re done, please reach out to me. Or if you just want to share what you’re going to do, I’d love to hear about it. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.