Starting my side hustle was motivated by mostly a combination of desperation, confusion, and hope. I was optimistic that it could improve my life, but honestly, at that point, I was desperate for any type of change. Needless to say, I did not know that it would transform my life the way it has!
In this episode, I want to share some of the things that have come with starting a side hustle that were beyond what I could’ve ever dreamed. I hope that this helps excite you for the potential that your own side hustle or business could have for you.
You’re capable of so much more than you know!
Tune into this episode to hear:
- What I had hoped my side hustle would do to my life when I started it
- The unexpected ways my life changed from my side hustle… some wanted, some not
- How starting a side hustle changed me as a person when I wouldn’t have expected that!
Facebook Live Replay
Transcript of Episode
Leah Gervais: Hey you guys. Welcome back to the Your Biggest Vision show. I am your host Leah, and I’m very excited to be here with you on this beautiful fall Monday morning. I am in the best mood ever today. So for those of you that are on live, I suggest having some espresso or coffee or something because I am buzzing with life. So today I’ve been feeling very reflective, you know, I think it’s a combination of the year’s ending.
And, I also just interviewed for my podcast, one of my good friends who’s also an alum of Scale Your Side Hustle and alum of my mastermind and just thinking about what she’s done in the last year. And also I was get very reflective when I start thinking about what’s next and what I’m going to do next. And of course I’m thinking about that right now because I’m thinking about the new year and now that I just got married, I have a little more time to think it’s not my business, which is really great. Uh, and in doing so I have been getting sentimental. I’m really grateful, but also just a little bit stunned at how much my life has changed from what was a side hustle. And I’m not going to talk to you guys about, you know, the normal things that you would probably expect me to say or the things that you know, which is that obviously I was able to quit my job and yeah, it worked for myself now and make way more money than I would’ve if I was still at a nine to five job.
Like things like that are pretty obvious. I want to talk about some of the less obvious ways that my life changed from adjoining or from starting a side hustle. So this is for you if you are thinking about joining a side hustle or starting a side hustle and you’re not sure what it could really turn into. This is also for you if you are in the beginning phase or even if you’re just thinking about what could be next for you or how your life could change because these were all surprises in one way or another to meet. So for those of you that don’t know my story, I started Urban 20 Something as a side hustle for fun blog ears when I was a paralegal. And at the time I was not very fulfilled in my job, uh, but I was going through a really confusing time because I was a paralegal at a good firm in New York.
And I also, I had just gotten into law school and law school had been my plan for pretty much my entire adult life. It’s high school. So, um, it was a really comfortable situation. I was in not, not that being like working at a law firm or going to law school would have been easy, but it was very clear, it wasn’t really pushing me outside of my comfort zone. And, I started feeling confused about what I really wanted to do. And in other words, I started realizing that being a lawyer was not really what I wanted to do, but I didn’t know what it was that I wanted to do instead. And looking back, it’s easy to say that this was kind of a normal thing for someone who was in their early twenties to go through, but at the time it was actually one of the darker points of my life.
I honestly felt like a failure. I know that that can sound a bit dramatic, but I felt like a failure. I felt like I had done what I thought was right and still not felt like I was good at or like, like I would be a good lawyer and all of my friends were in at the time, very prestigious jobs for how old we were in New York. So I felt really behind. I felt just really confused and like I didn’t know what to do. So I started urban twenty-something to write about my confusion and right about that time in my life and I had hoped that I could learn how to make some money from it. I tried some other side hustles at the time, um, because you know, I was working as a paralegal in one of the most expensive cities in the world, so I did not have a whole lot of extra money.
I was taking out my student loans, like just like wasn’t going that spectacularly at the time. And I know that this sounds very much melodramatic because my life was good. I lived in New York, I had a good job. I was dating a great guy who is now my husband, and so on the surface things looked pretty good, but I just was so internally confused and could not see a way out of it because I knew that if I just kept going through this law school track, then I would end up with six figures. The debt, I would end up still in a stressful job. I would end up still, you know, I’d make okay money, but I would have a lot of student loans and they would be [inaudible]. You have very clear income ceiling on how much I could make. So I just felt trapped and stuck and unclear of where to go.
And I started Urban 20 Something to write about my experience and I also started it to hope that I could make some money online and figure out how to do it. But all this is to say when I started it, it was sort of out of a place of confusion, desperation and, and hope. I will say it wasn’t all negative, but I was desperate for something to, I like to change. I was very confused and I was hopeful that if I started something like this, maybe it would help something in my life. Maybe it would help me feel less confused. Maybe it would help me make more money. Maybe it would help give me clarity. Maybe it would help connect me to people that were going through somebody similar. I didn’t really know, but I was optimistic. I was hopeful and that’s how I [inaudible] I started it since then.
Uh, my life has changed in the most spectacular of ways and I’m very grateful every day for what’s happened to me in the past few years. I didn’t go to law school. As you guys know, now I work for myself. I have a very successful, I do say so myself business and I have finally reached the, the lifestyle in New York that I always wanted, which meant having freedom, which meant having fulfillment, which meant being able to actually experience the city for more than just a cubicle or a crowded subway. Uh, it meant being able to travel frequently and met being able to have a career where I was really impacting people’s lives. It, all that has come to life and I’m incredibly grateful. But there was some unexpected things that came with this too. And that’s what I want to share with you today. So the first thing that I did not expect to come out of starting a side hustle was that my side hustle would become my career.
So like I said, I did this as a blog to document this confusing time while I was trying to figure out what my career would be. I did not think that my website itself would become my job or my business or that it would be something I could, you know, make money from and even make a lot of money from. So if you are feeling a tug of wanting to explore something that’s your own or not really feeling totally satisfied at your existing job or in graduate school or school or wherever it is that you’re at, but you’re not exactly sure what else to do, where to begin, what type of thing you want to do next. I highly recommend just creating a website because what happens when you create a website is you start creating content. There’s [inaudible] a million different ways you can create content and a million different things you can create content on.
You can do videos, blog posts, audios, images. Um, you can do social media, you can do a podcast, you can just write about things, you can write poetry, you can write a diary, can do anything. And all of those things can be about out anything that you want. So for me, I started blogging about my life in New York and I started blogging about turning down law school cause I didn’t know what the hell I was doing and I did not certainly know that I would be able to turn a business out of that. So even if you’re just like in a place of [inaudible] confusion, don’t underestimate how many people will relate to that and how valuable that still can be because that’s where [inaudible] that was at. That obviously has evolved into, you know me learning how to find clarity mean learning how to build a business online.
Me helping other people do that. Me infusing my lifestyle element into it. Me going after my lifestyle dreams with a website like it’s changed so much but it never would have happened if I didn’t just start. So the big takeaway here for this is to listen to something that’s calling you and then start trying. You will never find the clarity you’re looking for by sitting behind your computer screen, Googling things you just walk. So if you’re doing that stuff, start taking action. Start making a website, start producing content, start putting things out there, see what works for you and what sticks. And just like what happened to me, you may never know a piece of content or a few pieces of shit. Content you can create can change the path of your life. And maybe what happened to me won’t exactly happen to you. Like maybe you won’t have your website turned into your full time job or something like that, but maybe because you write a certain blog post, someone from your industry will reach out to you and you’ll get a connection and that’s how you’ll get your next job.
Or maybe because you create a certain video or you interview someone, you then create a relationship with someone that you interview and you guys end up co-founding a completely new new idea or a new business or a startup or something like that. So the possibilities are endless, but the possibilities don’t come to you. You have to put yourself out there for them. This is so, so important. This the biggest time I learned this lesson and it’s stuck with me ever since was when I was traveling throughout Southeast Asia alone and I knew I wasn’t ready to come home, but I didn’t know what I was going to do because I pretty much ran out of money. I didn’t know where to go in Southeast Asia. I miss my boyfriend. It was like, I didn’t know what I was thinking, but I had to listen to that whisper that said, you’re not ready to go home just yet.
There’s still more than you need to learn. From there. I ended up going to Bangkok for a little while and staying and like an $8 and I’d hustle because I didn’t know what else to do and I remember crying on the subway and down the streets of Bangkok, just thinking, I don’t know what I’m doing here. I don’t know what’s here for me. I don’t know why I’m here. I should be going home, but I just, something’s not clicking about getting on plane right now. And from there I just decided to do this, to be open, to see what was going on and what you know, I could find out and things changed really quickly. I ended up meeting a family on the subway that was from Israel that we wanted to have an American teach their kids English to do the kids’ English while in Bangkok.
And so I ended up being able to work for them and they paid me what they would’ve paid an American salary in America, which obviously went a hell of a lot further in Thailand. So I ended up even moving in with them. I’m still very close with them. And that’s when I really learned the lesson that these, these opportunities, these things at your disposal are all around you at your fingertips, you to start reaching for them, you have at least, or that you’re ready to receive them. So if I wouldn’t have, you know, said yes to that thing in me saying that I wasn’t ready to come home yet, I would have been on a flight back home and I always would have wondered what else could I have learned. And I ended up learning so many things, but those, there were ways for me to stay in Southeast Asia.
So if I would’ve just stuck to the limited thinking that I had, that I didn’t know where to stay, I didn’t know how I would make money. I didn’t know where my next paycheck would come from. I didn’t know if I should even be there, that I never would have found a job in Bangkok. I never would’ve found a family to live with in Bangkok. I never would have made that amazing connection and I never would have been able to volunteer or speak rotary groups the way I did in Bangkok. You get the picture. The point is, that’s when I really learned that you have to put yourself out there in order for the opportunities that are endlessly at your fingertips to actually come to you. So that’s what happened with my website. I put put myself out there. I wrote about that things I didn’t know if people would be interested in.
I started seeing traction in certain places. I enjoyed certain things more than others. I followed those little crumbs all the way to where I am now at my six figure business and the career that will never ever let me go back to a nine to five job ever again. I honestly, and I don’t like to never say never, I don’t think it’s a great word, but I can pretty confidently say it. I will never have a nine to five job again. And so put yourself out there because you’re a little side hustle that might just be there to help pay off some student loans or might just be there to, you know, give you a creative outlet or whatever it is, can, can become your career, can introduce you to someone that could help you get a career or could introduce you to a type of work that you never knew you loved or a type of content you never knew you loved.
You never know what’s out there, but you will never know if you don’t start. The next unexpected thing that came from a side hustle was a new community. And I, um, this took me a little bit longer to really discover and be open to, to be honest. You know, when I started and saw on Instagram that people had these masterminds or these coaching programs, I sorta just dismiss them and it is not lost on me that now it’s the irony. Yeah. Because now that’s mostly what I do. And I did dismiss them because I didn’t see the value in them. But I, um, I had supportive friends. I have, have a good community. My boyfriend at the time was really supportive of what I was doing and these groups were expensive. They were hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars. And as a paralegal I did not have that kind of money sitting around at Adams.
Well, like I can’t even explain how much I did not have that kind of money and I didn’t see the return on the investment in a numbers way. You know, some groups would say you’ll make X, Y and Z amount back. But a lot of them couldn’t quantify that rightly so. Uh, and so I just couldn’t justify taking the risk on spending so much money on a group when I felt like I had a good community. What I didn’t know was that when you are an entrepreneur or whether it’s a side hustle or [inaudible] your full time job, you will reach your goals. They will be amazing and you will often, then I hit a point where you wonder, what exactly is next for me or what can I do with this next? Or where is this going from here? How do I keep pushing myself without burning out?
And the number one way I have answered those questions during those times was through communities that I was in of other entrepreneurs because they will be doing different things. They’ll be doing things in different ways. They’ll have different ideas, they’ll have different suggestions, they’ll be living in different ways. They’ll seem happier in different ways, ways that you can’t really grasp at the time because you’ve been so focused on the goal that you just achieved. So I don’t think that my mind would have been nearly as open or that I would, let’s say nearly as inspired if I hadn’t surrounded myself with people that were either living the way that I wanted to live or doing the things I wanted to do or making the money that I wanted to make. And through that, I have made some of the most incredible friendships that I have ever had in my life, only in the last few years.
Uh, in fact, one of the women that I met in a free entrepreneurial Facebook group years ago is one of my best friends now. She is an alum of my mastermind. She has helped me grow my Instagram and she even came to my wedding with her husband two weeks ago. So they clearly mean a ton to my husband and I, and we never would have met them if I didn’t start yet, find or try to find a community of side hustlers. So even if you think you can do it alone and even further, even if you can do it alone, I don’t recommend doing it alone because you could Rob yourself of the friends and the relationships that you will meet. And I want to have a little truth, uh, with this point here, that it’s not all sunshine in rainbows because part of this meant that I had to grow apart from some of the existing friends I had in my life.
Because people will hold you back and it’s not because they don’t want you to succeed or because they’re mean or anything like that. You will have people hold you back because they will project their own fears onto you. So whether that’s friends, coworkers, colleagues, family, even some of the time there will be people in your life who doubt what you’re doing, who don’t know if what you’re doing is going to work, who don’t fully support you. And even if they pretend to or even if they aren’t so proactive about tearing you down there, doubt will seep in and you don’t have time for that. You don’t. And so you need to replace the people that you have in your life that are filling your mind with doubt or disbelief or even just allowing you to fall into habits that aren’t helpful to you. Excuse me, my voice cracked with people that are pushing you, that believe in you and that can give you inspiration even when you can’t give yourself inspiration.
And when you are building a business or a side hustle or any [inaudible] sort of goal that you’re very focused on, you know that your time becomes limited. You don’t have time to go out for happy hour every day to be on the phone with friends and family on in the mornings, getting ready for work to go out every day during the your weekends. You just don’t. You have to sacrifice those things in order to make things happen so you have a finite amount of time to spend with with friends, and this is where it really surprised me how much of that would be replaced with people that were also entrepreneurs that so had six figure businesses or seven figure businesses that also traveled full time that also stayed inspired, that had done things I had never done before that had a lifestyle that dared to be different.
That girl that I just mentioned, that is one of my best friends, her and her husband are now traveling across the country in a van and they’re staying in national parks all the time because that’s what they wanted to do. They wanted to life a full time travel and mobility and now they have that. None of my friends in New York are doing that. Another one of my entrepreneurs, no friends who’s also a mastermind, an alum of mine is going to India next month for a month to do a yoga retreat because that’s our version of success. No, while you’re that I know in New York is doing bad, you know, other of the people that have been in my groups and that I have met along this journey are able to be full on, stay at home moms while also running their business. You don’t see that when people in the corporate world, some other people are able to, um, I don’t know.
Some people have bought, you know, really beautiful homes, which you’re not, we’re able to usually do from, from a nine to five salary. So the point here being there is a value in being around people and surrounding yourself with people that either have done when you want to do, have achieved what you want to achieve or that continue to inspire you to do better and keep you going even when you might some your own growth and those people will be [inaudible] your greatest friends and your, your biggest allies and your advocates. You know, they’ll, they’ll be there for you even when you have your own self doubt. Right. Let me take a sip of water. We’re going to keep going. Do any of you see a bunch of you live on Instagram? Who? You guys, any of you have any comments on this? Unexpected things that have happened to you if you started assigning hustle or if you’re starting a side hustle, let me know.
Okay. The final unexpected thing that came with a side hustle was my [inaudible] deepened spirituality. So I grew up Catholic and this is a quite personal share but it’s important so I want to share it. I grew up Catholic and I have loved being Catholic, but I sort of fell out of touch with it a little bit after high school, you know, which I think is somewhat normal. It wasn’t because of any really active reason, it just wasn’t part of like my everyday life or my everyday thought process or conversation. And when I started my side hustle, I went through a lot of [inaudible] fear around it. I held myself back a lot. I had a lot of questions about what people would think of me if this would work. Is it worth taking the risk if I put myself out there, what did people laugh at me?
Um, why do I deserve to have the success that I’m going after? A lot of little fears can and will pop up when you’re starting to do like this. They certainly did for me. And again, this kind of was, was rooted when I was in Bangkok and started seeing all these things just handed to me in a way. Like it almost felt too easy. Um, I had never experienced such flow before and I had never experienced so much excitement before and I realized that it’s because I had never taken such risks before and I had never really believed that things could be possible for me, easy for me, and that even, you know, the things I was working after could just be simple enough is me reaching out and taking them. And that’s exactly what happened. So that really brought me back to my own sense of spirituality because I came into a huge gratitude practice after that.
I really realized that I had so much to be grateful for. And I realized that the more I paid attention to gratitude, the more it was given to me. And the more in essence that I connected with God and prayed to him and thanked him for what he had given me. The more I found clarity about what I needed next and the easier it was able to come to me. And I don’t think that this is like any sort of magic formula. I just think that a lot of us get boggled down with the day to day messy stuff that comes with modern, busy life. And we forget about the big picture of how lucky we are, how deserving we are, how incredibly worthy we are. You know, from a Catholic point of view, uh, God gave up his only son for us and for our happiness and for our ability to be human.
So how could we not feel deserving of these big things that we want? And without getting too deep into that, that in its essence helps me move through it. Well. A lot of fields around quitting my job, feeling like, well, what if I quit my job and it doesn’t work out well? What if I quit my job? And it does? What if I quit my job? And it’s the best thing that ever happened to me? I mean, isn’t that the most Holy thing you could think of? Is that your life works out exactly. Either way God wants it to. And that’s what happened. I quit my job and shortly thereafter I had my first five figure months. Um, I went on to build six figures in under 11 months before I was even 20, while I was still 26 years old. I mean, things went in the most spectacular of ways and I believe that because I was able, and I’m now in such a more deeply spiritual place and I am embedded in that every day and every night, able to stay on the path of what is best for me, not hold myself back and not succumb to my fears.
This certainly was not something that I thought would happen when I was, you know, 23 up at seven 6:00 AM starting a WordPress website in my little three bedroom apartment in Manhattan. Before I’d go to my paralegal job, I did not think it was going to lead me back to it [inaudible] religion or back to a place of deeper spirituality or even just there for the first time. I just wanted to make a few extra hundred, maybe 1000 bucks a month so that I could have a little more money. I did not think I would meet him, my lifelong friends. I did not think that I would ha, you know, come to a new spiritual place and a new spiritual practice and I didn’t think it would become my career. But all of this happened and I’m so, so grateful that it has because I’ve learned more about myself and doing this than I ever would have if I was in law school.
I can confidently say confidently say that about myself. Everyone is different, right? And you have to follow what’s right for you. But I want to share these messages with you because so many more amazing things are in store for you than you could ever imagine. You are capable of so much more than you know, and you are meant to have absolutely the best things that you can dream of and fantasize about, but they aren’t there to just follow in your lap. They are there for you to take them, and that means you have to take them. So take action this week. Start your side hustles. Scale your side hustle. Find a mentor that can help you get to the next school. Find a community. Think of a deeper, bigger goal. Stop holding yourself back. Your life is now and bigger and better things are waiting for you on the other side than you could ever imagine. All right. I hope you guys enjoyed this. I’ll talk to you soon. Here’s your absolute biggest and most beautiful vision.
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