Is it worth having a side business given the HUGE amount of work that goes into it? This is a fair question!
Often there is more work involved than folks anticipated. And many will dip their toes in, and decide the amount of work is not worth it.
Today I want to offer some of my own reflections to help you decide if it is worth starting a side business or not. I also want to share some tips to help make it a smoother process.
Starting a side business tends to involve the most amount of work and the least amount of reward right at the beginning.
If you didn’t exercise your delayed gratification muscle enough in grad school, starting a business on the side of your main productive role in life will do it for ya.
I spent 20 plus hours a week building Private Practice Skills during evenings and weekends. I didn’t see a dime of income for a year!
No matter what kind of side business you are getting into, it takes time and strategy to make it happen.
Similarly, if you wanted to learn a new sport or instrument as a hobby, you could pursue this at your leisure. But, if you wanted to have serious success with it, you would expect to put a ton of work in at the beginning. And usually have very little pay off until later.
Let’s say you wanted to generate a reliable side income of at least a few hundred dollars per month. This is going to require some strategy, a bit of elbow grease and extra time and effort. Just like what you did while studying for the licensure exam.
Is The Effort Worth The Outcome?
There’s a reason I’m focusing so much on the amount of time and strategy it takes to get a side business off the ground. When we ask ourselves if something was worth it, we usually reflect on whether the payoff matches the amount of effort we put in.
For example, some folks think it’s not going to require that much effort in order to achieve their goals in their side business. Then they dive in only to discover it is way more work than they thought it was going to be. There’s a good chance that these folks may feel like their business venture wasn’t really worth it.
It’s important to have a clear understanding of how much work is involved, before you determine if it is worth having a side business.
What’s Your End Goal?
So to help you answer the question in the title of this article, I invite you to reflect on two additional questions.
Question 1: What’s your end goal?
Question 2: What’s required of you to arrive at the end goal?
The first question is quite important. Depending on your end goal, the amount of work required could vary greatly.
Let’s say your end goal was to self-publish a book and make 10 sales per month. That’s going to have a very different set of requirements than if you hope to publish a book with a major publisher and make the bestseller lists.
Important To Be Specific
I’ll acknowledge here that it’s quite common for folks to have a vague end goal. For example, their goal may be to “make money” or “make an extra $X per month.” \
It is really important to have a much more specific end goal in mind. Otherwise, it is going to be unclear how much work will be involved to reach your goals. It will also leave you without an explicit plan of how to get there.
For example, when I started out, my end goal was to teach therapists about starting and growing a private practice, utilizing free and affordable tools to get there. I intended to generate income through YouTube ad revenue and online course sales.
Of course, my business has shifted as things developed, but this specific goal helped me identify what steps I needed to take in order to arrive at my objective.
How Much Work Is Required?
Once you are clear on what your end goal is, you can finally ask the question: how much work is required?
The answer to this question is going to be different for every person. But there are ways to find the answers to this before you’ve ever started a side business.
You can start by asking Google. You can network with folks with similar interests or who are early on the same path that you’re on. Or join Facebook groups of other folks pursuing similar goals.
By doing this, you can get a sense of how much time others have dedicated to arrive at similar goals. You can also learn what strategies they leveraged to get there.
Is It Worth It?
After gathering all this information you can then ask yourself: based on what’s required, is the amount of work worth the end result?
I imagine for most of us, this isn’t an entirely new thought process. If you’re a therapist, you likely went through a similar line of questioning when you explored grad programs.
You asked yourself: what do I want to do with my degree when I’m finished? Should I get a doctorate or masters degree? How much work is involved in grad school? How much does it cost? Does one grad program that takes longer than others offer a special edge that still makes it feel worth it to me?
Then you decided if pursuing this end goal felt worth it to you given the amount of work and years you would have to dedicate.
Making The Decision
It’s helpful to take this same mindset as you go into a side business venture. Sometimes a side business is seen as something we don’t have to give too much thought or strategy to. We hope it will come together easily. But, it doesn’t usually work like that.
Starting a new business of any size requires a lot of work! It’s important to know what you are getting into.
So, is it worth having a side business? The honest answer is: it depends.
You may look into what is required of you, and decide that it is totally worth it to you! You’re all in. You are going to put your head down and make it happen.
But most importantly if this is something you’re wondering about, I hope you feel empowered to have the information you need to make an informed decision about whether it’s worth it for you.
Even More Tips
If you want to dig deeper into gathering information about having a side hustle, I have a couple of YouTube videos that may be helpful.
Here’s one on generating passive income, and how much work it entails to get your business off the ground.
I also did a live stream answering questions about how to start a side hustle.
Finally, read my blog post on how I am able to work part-time while earning 6-figures. It took a lot of work to get there, but if I can do it, you can too!
Until next time, from one therapist to another: I wish you well.
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