Career 14 March 2017
Out-of-the-ordinary ways of earning an income are on the up and up. More and more, we’re renting out spare rooms on Airbnb, selling crafts on Etsy or moonlighting as Uber drivers to earn extra cash. But what do you do if eventually you want that side hustle to become your main gig?
If you have a side hustle you’re passionate about – and one with genuine potential for financial success – it may be worth exploring. Start with these basic questions before ditching your day job to pursue your dreams full-time.
Am I financially ready?
The last thing you want to do is take a leap of faith and quit your job only to realize you’ve jumped into the financial deep end. Do you have a financial plan in place? Have you saved enough to cover your monthly budget for six months if needed? Do you know how much you’ll need in your retirement, and are you tracking to your goal? Are there start-up costs to fund your entrepreneurial dreams, and do you have those in savings? It’s important to estimate whether the income from your side hustle will be enough to keep you on track with all of your financial goals and sustain you long-term.
Map out a prediction of your side hustle income along with your monthly expenses. Try creating a budget using Northwestern Mutual’s 20/60/20 breakdown: 20 percent of income should go toward saving and investing, 60 percent for essential expenses and 20 percent for discretionary spending. Online tools can be a lifesaver when it comes to revamping your spending and saving limits, and using budgeting apps can keep splurging on guilty pleasures to a minimum while you’re trying to save.
If you don’t already have a financial plan in place, you’ll need one now more than ever. Before making your move, meet with a financial professional who can advise you on the best approach and create a tailored plan to help maximize your chances of future success.
Have I set boundaries?
Once you’re actively running your business full-time, the temptation can be to prioritize the financial needs of your business over your personal financial needs.
It’s important to define boundaries along with your personal definition of success. Realistically, how much money do you hope to make in the first year of your business? The first five years? How much of your own money are you planning to invest at the ground level? And perhaps most importantly, will you at least break even?
Ask yourself the tough questions now to help reduce financial stress down the road. Start off on the right foot by meeting with a financial professional who can help you chart out a plan as you build your business.
What will help me achieve success?
Have a clear vision of what success looks like to you. Whether your goal is based on financial success or simply having more work-life balance, there are plenty of online resources to help your business succeed: online accounting software for balancing business finances, sites for building your online and social media presence, and even online business consultation.
Online tools can help you test out options that will make the most sense with your business plan. Online forums for having conversations with other entrepreneurs can also be extremely helpful – after all, these people have already faced some of the same challenges you’ll likely experience.
Despite the prevalence of online resources, don’t underestimate the value of meeting face-to-face with a financial professional who can give the personal attention you’ll want when considering this important life change.
The financial responsibility of becoming an entrepreneur can be a unique challenge. But, by considering these important issues beforehand, you can build a more solid foundation for your start-up and be on your way to making your passion a success.
3 Min Read
With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.
When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.
Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan
Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.
Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.
The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.
Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits
The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.
With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.
Tip 3: Start slow and strong
If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.
Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.
Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize
In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.
When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.
Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness
From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.
Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.
Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.
A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.
Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition
In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.
If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health
While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.
For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.
While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.