How I Found More Time to Work on My Creative Side Business
Shay and I have this joke where we say, "Work always gets in the way." It gets in the way of us having fun, spending time on our hobbies, and pursuing a creative side business. If we're being really honest though, all jokes aside, our day job provides the means to do all the things I just listed. I think the deeper issue, the one most people have struggled with at some point, is finding a balance.
Specifically, I'm going to talk about finding the balance between working a full time job and pursuing a creative side business. Both are work, but one usually stems from a burning curiosity in our heart. I'll talk about my experience with this and hopefully it helps you in some way!
About a year ago I "officially launched" my photography business. I use quotes, because I've been pursuing photography for years, I just didn't realize it. Rather, I think photography was pursing me. A year ago is when I finally surrendered to the fact that this is something I should be doing. And I decided to throw myself 100% in the game, while still working a full time job as a civil engineer.
Around that same time, I really wanted to change engineering jobs. But I thought that mixing up my day job while starting a side business would be too much to handle. So instead, I stayed where I was. I told myself I needed six months to a year to get a grip on running a business before I would even consider switching engineering jobs.
Sounds like a good plan, right? Well what I didn't realize at the time was that I was already burnt out and un-engaged. This made coming home from work and continuing to "work" on my business that much harder. At some point, I think pouring 40 hours a week into something that doesn't excite you makes it really hard to pour any additional hours into something that does.
Two months ago I started a new engineering job, 10 months after launching my photography business. In the beginning I remember thinking photography would need to take a back seat to this new gig for a while. The interesting thing is, I actually feel more inspired, excited, and productive in my side business now than I have in a long time. I now believe having a day job that excites me and challenges me actually gives me more energy to pursue my passion.
I find myself writing blogs in the Notes App on my phone during my morning commute (which is how I wrote this blog). I brainstorm ways to make my business better while on my lunch break. I usually listen to creative business podcasts on my commute home. Lately, I've been using my free time to check-in with my creative self instead of checking out.
I'm not saying I should have switched engineering jobs a year earlier. I really believe everything happens in its right time. I'm happy with how things have played out, I wouldn't change it. I now know that feeling excited, challenged, and purposeful at my day job directly affects my ability to feel excited, challenged, and purposeful in my side business. This may not be the case for everyone, but this has been my experience.
There are so many blog posts floating out there titled "Should I Quit My Day Job to Pursue My Passion?", and part of me is wondering if maybe you just need to find a new day job. A job that doesn't consume all of your energy so there's nothing left for your hobbies or side business. I'm curious what your thoughts are on this! If you agree/disagree or if you're still figuring it out, let me know below!