The personal finance community, especially the FIRE community, has a tendency to promote side hustles. The idea is simple – increase your earning power so you can save and invest more money. This in term will help expedite your FIRE journey.
So people side hustle like there’s no tomorrow. Most people have their 9-5 full-time job, then they hustle on the side. For some, it’s not just one side hustle, it’s multiple side hustles like:
- Complete online surveys
- Make food deliveries
- Charge scooters
- Drive for Uber or Lift
- Refurbish and re-sell used products like furniture, bikes, electronics
- Dog walk
- Host with Airbnb
- Turn hobbies into side gigs
- Start a blog
- Freelance writing
- Affiliate marketing
- Sell services on Fiverr
- Sell products on Amazon or Etsy
- Become a virtual assistant
- Teach yoga
- Sell handmade soap
- Buy and sell domain names
And the list goes on…
If you’re not hustling, that means you’re not trying and you don’t really care about your FIRE journey. It is therefore frowned upon when you’re not busy hustling like everyone else.
So people are constantly on the run, busy with their full-time jobs, busy with their side hustle(s), busy with their lives.
B U S Y !!!.
The constant busyness
Have you ever invited someone to a get-together and got the reply “Sorry, can’t make it because I’m busy” response?
When did it become acceptable to constantly say that you’re busy rather than just decline the invitation? It seems that the busy excuse is now the norm. It is the “polite” way to decline an invitation or a commitment by simply saying that you’re busy. But how many people are truly “busy?” Why are we constantly projecting this imagery of busyness and hiding behind this image whether it’s real or not?
We seem to have a tendency to take on more and more tasks upon ourselves just so we can proudly declare that we’re busy. Then we can use the busy excuse to get out of a commitment.
It’s as if it is not OK to have free time on your hands so you can do something spontaneously. Somehow, being free and being spontaneous aren’t something we strive for anymore.
I believe that instead of being so busy all the time and not knowing how to get out of this crazy busyness life of ours, we should be consciously opting out and living and leading an intentional life.
Stop boasting about your unread email count.
Stop telling people how many meetings you have each week.
Stop committing to something half-assed, then back out of it, pretending you are too busy.
I’ll be honest, I am certainly guilty of doing that myself, telling people that I’m busy, instead of just declining something that I have no interest in doing.
I’m tired of this pretending crap.
I need to do better.
I need to stop and live an intentional life.
Growing your side hustle(s) aka making more money
I’m tired of this constant pressure within the FIRE community that you have to grow your side hustle and make more money.
G R O W T H
I’m sure that six-letter word has kept many people up at night.
Take blogging, for example, many people started their blog with the sole intention of making money and creating an income stream.
This quickly leads to the never-ending wheel of…
- Grow the mailing list
- Grow the monthly pageview
- Start affiliating marketing
- Start advertising
- Optimize SEO
- Create online course(s)
- Write eBook(s)
- Sell more products
- Get sponsored posts
- Freelance writing
- Pump more products/contents/courses to make more money
Get 100 email subscribers? Time to get 100 more. Get 1,000 pageviews per month, time to get 5,000 pageviews per month. It’s a never-ending game of growth, growth, and more growth. Unfortunately, not many bloggers ask the question of what is enough? Or are we all just chasing an always-increasing goal post?
Even Pete at Do You Even Blog came out and talked about the pressure of having to grow his business.
He feels like crap… because of the constant scrutiny and pressure of the NEED to grow his blog, Youtube channel, emailing subscribers, Podcast, etc.
I started blogging in July 2014, almost eight years ago with the intention of sharing our financial independence journey online to keep ourselves accountable. I’m ever so grateful that through blogging I have met and connected with so many like-minded people. I will always remember meeting Jay from FI Fighter in Hong Kong and we talked for like 4.5 hours on blogging, personal finance, FI, investing, real estate, travelling, and life. We only parted ways because we had to catch the last train of the night. I am sure we could have talked for another couple of hours. Similarly, I had a great time chatting with Matt from Financial Imagineer in Taipei a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed our 2 or so hour chat over Starbucks coffee.
For me, making money has never been the goal behind blogging. Over the years, I have taken the slower growth approach that Cait wrote a few years ago (she has since taken down the post, unfortunately).
For the first four years or so, this blog was not generating any net positive cash flow at all. I treated this blog as a passion project. Since English is a second language for me, I have never imagined writing consistently. However, I have found that I really enjoyed writing. Over time, writing on this blog has evolved into a creative outlet for me.
In the last two years, the blog has finally generated some positive cash flow. But if taken into account how much time and effort I put in for the blog, I’d be making way less than the minimum wage. However, I’ve always seen the money as extra gravy, just like how we are not counting OAS and CPP in our financial independence plan. It’s nice that the blog is making some money now, but I don’t feel like I need to make more money by creating online courses, writing ebooks, and cramping my products down readers’ throats.
I’m really grateful for all the readership. For me, it’s about personal connections, helping readers with their finances, and hopefully inspiring readers to start their own FI journeys. It is never and will never be about the money.
Relax, it’s OK to slow down
Ok, so what’s the point of this post?
Navigating through this global pandemic has been extremely hard for everyone. We all are mentally drained. Some of us have been in survival mode for many months, trying to get by and just making it to the next day.
Mrs. T and I certainly have had our struggles.
It has been hard and quite often we are both mentally and physically exhausted.
We’ve certainly spent more money on takeouts, coffee, chocolates, just to have some comfort in life. As a result, our expenses have increased compared to other years. At first, I struggled with this reality but eventually, I came to acceptance with it. We should all be OK with spending a little extra money for comfort and luxuries throughout this pandemic.
We need to look after our well-being. And if taking some breaks, forgetting about side hustles, and spending a little extra money can lead to better mental and physical well-being, we should all do that.
We need to stop shaming people for spending money on making their lives easier! We need to stop being so judgemental. Personal finance is personal. Stop the judgement!
So, take the time to pat yourself on the back for maneuvering through this tough difficult period and making sure you and your family are doing OK.
And know that it is OK to slow down.
Let me repeat that.
It’s OK to sit down and relax!
It’s OK to spend money on comfort in life so you can take a break.
Stop feeling guilty because you slowed down or stopped to take a breather.
Stop feeling guilty because you are not side hustling and making more money.
Forget everything that society and the FIRE community have preached.
Focus on your mental wellbeing and take care of yourself. And of course, provide a helping hand to those in need.