For Aspiring Online Hustlers: Getting a Day Job Isn’t Giving In

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I feel like I speak for all of the online hustlers out there when I say that many of us feel like getting a regular corporate dayjob is like quitting or giving up early. That we’re not true lifestyle entrepreneurs if half of our lives are regulated by the standard hours of a 9-5. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

If it’s a means to an end, it isn’t. There is nothing wrong with working a job temporarily to build your network, learn new skills and save cash while you work on other projects. If you’re not doing any of the three things just mentioned, well then you’re just wasting part of your life. Don’t feel like you’re copping out or any less of an aspiring entrepreneur because you work a day job. If you’re able to to do both, more props to you.

I graduated from college with a sizeable amount of debt, getting a job out of college was 100% necessary. So when I’m in the office, I kickass and then from the time I get home to falling asleep… I kick more ass. My job isn’t my future, it’s just another stream of income that’s comfortable for now.

The #1 Thing to Avoid

Once you get your first steady paycheck, whether it be salary, hourly or commission based you’re going to want to spend the money. It’s nice knowing that in two weeks you’ll have another one coming in that’s just like this one and if you spend the money now, it will be back in your checking account in no time.

You’ll see your friends or co-workers spending money out on things like new cars, furniture, flatscreen televisions or whatever other status symbol they’re interested in. It’s so easy to get caught up in this routine of spending on items that are unnecessary and bring in nothing for you.

You should be investing in yourself and your future. Not buying crap that you don’t need. A lot of people go into deeper debt after they graduate and get a job just because they have this income regularly coming in.

I did this for a while. Well, most of last year and I’m paying for it now. Literally.

Re-Investing Your Paycheck

As I just mentioned, we look at paychecks differently than we do other forms of income. There’s a certain guarantee to it, so spending it freely causes us almost no regret.

Yet, if we earn money through a niche site or side consulting work, it’s treated differently in our minds. Somewhere we think, okay I made this on my own I need to save some of it and invest the rest so that I can generate more income.

There’s no reason why you can do this with your regular paycheck. Make sure that you’re paying off all of your monthly bills, re-negotiate the interest on your student loans by claiming financial hardship, put some away into a fund that you will not touch and then use what’s left to build a business or take what you’re doing already to the next level.

You’ll Have To Learn Time Management Fast

Being stuck in the confines of a regular job (9-5) or the off hours in the service industry will limit the amount of time that you have to spend on your side businesses. You’ll have to get efficient quickly. I wrote a lot about how I hack time, but I think the quickest thing that you can have is a list.

Whether you use Evernote, iPhone Notes or just regular pen and paper… creating a list each day is the ultimate time management resource there is. Allow the list to become your obsession. Don’t let the day go by without accomplishing the things you have on it.

How to setup your to-do list:

  • 5-6 items maximum
  • Block out one hour time slots where you do nothing but that item
  • Remove all distractions (facebook, iphone, twitter)
  • Go after the difficult items first

Lists are awesome because they train you to be proactive rather than reactive. Proactive is when you’re accomplishing things before they need to be done, where reactive is when someone else interrupts you and you switch thought processes to deal with it.

Poor managers are reactive. They’re always fighting fires and dealing with problems. Most of the time the things you think are problems or urgent, can be dealt with by processes or handled at a later date.

Email in all of its glory is the number one reactive time killer. You’ll be caught up in doing something when all of a sudden you get an email from a friend / client / relative / etc that you feel the need to respond to. Wait and get the work done first.

Some experts will tell you to quit your job, raise a bunch of money and then go build your business. I disagree and think that getting a job is the perfect way to secure your finances and it should still provide ample time for you to work on your hustle.

For inspiration, I’ve included this keynote by Gary Vaynerchuck. You might be working from 9-5 or 9-6 you come home and spend time with your family or do whatever, but then you’re back at it until 2 am.

Love the enthusiasm and REALISM to his approach. Get out there and crush it!

  • Robert England

    Thanks for this post Ben. I need a job now to payoff some debts and bills, but am still working towards building my own online businesses.

    • http://benhebert.wpengine.com Ben Hebert

      Dude there is nothing… absolutely NOTHING wrong with getting a job and working at night. Shoot me a message and keep me updated on your progress.

  • Angela Kelly

    The psychology behind money is kind of fascinating. We do treat our income forms differently.

    • http://benhebert.wpengine.com Ben Hebert

      Haha I know this way too well. Treat it al the same and continue to re-invest.