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4 Ways To Prevent Side-Hustle Burnout

Update: July, 2020 - Well, it looks like the recession has arrived suddenly! With the Coronavirus/COVID19 pandemic currently sweeping the world, I put together a FREE Financial Crisis Survival Guide (blog post with available printable PDF) to help those of you either preparing for or responding to a cut in hours, layoff or termination.
Here's the free downloadable PDF version of the guide: Financial Crisis Survival Guide (Version: COVID19) Downloadable PDF version 
Side hustles are an excellent way to stack some cash and are great for your bank account, no matter where you are along the personal finance continuum. So, if you’re organizing your finances, getting on a budget and eliminating your debt and/or moving more toward financial independence, this will pour some gasoline on your efforts.
But keep in mind, without a detailed and actionable plan, you can fall prey to the dreaded "side-hustle" burnout and risk losing whatever gains you've made. I don't want that to happen to you, so I put together this list of ways that you can both avoid burnout and actually get even more traction toward your financial goals. Let's discuss!

Side Hustles In Brief 

Side-Hustles have become a natural part of the economic lexicon. It seems that everyone has one nowadays.
It seems that the increasing economic squeeze on the middle class necessitates that a “side-hustle” is almost a natural fixture in any self respecting worker’s income generation arsenal.
I won’t go into all the meta-reasons for that in this piece rather, I want to talk about the benefits of side-hustles specifically for debt-eliminators. And even more specifically, I want to present a very strategized approach to them so you avoid the dreaded “side-hustle burnout".
Here are the 4 strategies:
  1. Begin with the end  in mind. Know your “why”. The more specific the better.
  2. Know your numbers (debt, savings, investment, vacation savings, etc.)
  3. If possible, break your hustles up in to shorter “spurts” to avoid burnout.
  4. Take breaks, but don’t give up on #1.

1. Begin With The End In Mind

Steven Covey’s book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” always comes to mind when I think if this principle, largely because it’s the first place I ever heard it spoken of.
It’s so important to think about how you want things to turn out before you even begin, so that you have a very precisely defined set of circumstances to work toward. Ultimately, this diminishes disillusionment and dramatically reduces burnout.
So for example, if your “end” is, “I need an extra $1000 this month”, you’re very very clear on what you’re aiming at and can set goals accordingly.
Pinterest? I'd love it if you pinned this to your favorite Pinterest board. It might help someone else as well.

2. Know Your Number 

I’ve already partially covered this in the previous point using the $1000 example. 
With most of my students, this number has to do with debt. But a growing number of my audience is much more aspirational and are looking past their debt into early retirement and using a side hustle(s) to help them get there.
So, attached to this number is the purpose of the dollar amount. It could be for things like:
  1. paying off debt
  2. saving for a mortgage down payment
  3. investing for retirement
  4. saving for a special vacation
  5. wanting to gift the proceeds of your side hustle to a ministry or charity


3. Break It Up

Now that you know your “why” and your specific number, you can set some short-to-mid-term goals for the activity levels you can commit to.
I think this is really important because, using our earlier $1000 example, if you’re committing to driving for Lyft get get that money,  you probably want to pace yourself. 
The last thing you want to do is burn yourself out by trying to drive 7 days a week (unless you “absolutely” have to) and not leaving yourself any margin to be productive with your day job or to be present for your family.
No, we want to break it up. Instead of “going to the wall”, commit to say, 3-4 days/nights per week where you drive for say, 3-4 hours at a stretch. That would likely be MUCH more sustainable for you than going “all out”.


4. Take A Break

So, even when you do get on what appears to be a “sustainable” schedule, there may come a time where you start to feel exhausted and need to take a break. Do it. Set some boundaries and stick to them.
It’s totally counter-productive to work yourself into absolute exhaustion, to the point that you can’t even function at your primary job. No! You have to be attentive and vigilant to the signs and symptoms of exhaustion and burnout and plan down time accordingly.
Some of the symptoms of exhaustion and burnout are:
  1. Having a hard time waking in the morning.
  2. Pervasive feeling of tiredness throughout the day.
  3. Not being able to concentrate well while performing your day job.
  4. Losing track of your “why” because of a growing resentment of “overactivity”.
Now don’t get me wrong, you WILL get tired. As I outline in my own journey to paying off $43k in 2.5 years, there were MANY times where I was completely exhausted. I’m talking about that fine line that your cross to where you’re at risk of collapse and utter burnout. THAT’S what we want to avoid.
I looked a lot like this guy when I was side-hustling my way out of debt.


Call To Action And Some Great Resources 

So, let me know in the comments section below, what are you going to do?
  1. Have you decided that debt is an evil thief yet?
  2. Have you decided to outrun it once and for all?
  3. What’s your “why”? What’s your number?
  4. Which side hustle(s) are you going to choose
  5. What will be your activity level?
  6. What will be the timeframe for you to “take a break”.
Two fantastic Side Hustle oriented podcasts for you:
Now, let's talk a bit more about the 8 steps to get you completely out of debt forever.

The 8 Steps To Obliterate Your Debt

This is the blog post that outlines the 8 steps I followed to eliminated $43,000 in debt in 2.5 years.
And whether this is your first or thousandth time on the blog, I want to make sure you have this “8 Steps” framework that ALL of our content is centered around. 
These are the steps I personally followed to obliterate $43,000+ of debt in 2.5 years
Maybe your number is bigger, maybe it’s smaller. Either way the principles are the same and I want you to have them.
0. Stop All Retirement Investing (Until Step 4)
2. Starter Emergency Fund of $1000
3. Eliminate Debts Smallest To Largest (a.k.a The Debt Snowball)
4. Full Emergency Fund of 3-6+ Months’ Expenses
5. Invest A Minimum of 15% Income Into Retirement Accounts (and increase savings rate to 50%+ if possible)
6. College Funding (if applicable)
7. Pay Off The Home Mortgage
8. Build Wealth, Serve, Be Ridiculously Generous And Go FI (Financial Independence)!
I’ve created a simple, easy to follow guide that you can use as your foundation as you navigate the absolute annihilation of your debt forever. 


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When You Need More Help

And again, if you’re looking for some resources to get started, you can download our free budgeting forms. Also, if you’re in a place where you’re ready to kick your debt in the teeth, here's the link to our free “8 Steps To Erase Debt” guide for you to use as your foundation.
To your freedom,

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