From fireworks to family time: festive lessons for side hustlers

6 min read
Matthew Pattinson

Bonfire Night is in the rearview mirror and the Christmas period is upon us. Your solopreneur venture is picking up pace, and you may even be thinking of ditching the day job and branching out on your own. Things are beginning to wind down for the year, but your inner Side Hustle drive is still pressing forward.

What inspiration can you draw from the festive season as you prepare for 2019?

Light my fire

Large-scale firework displays are a thing of beauty. Not just the eye-popping visual results, but the vast levels of organisation behind the curtains. Think of the New Year’s Eve display in London or Thanksgiving in New York.

Whilst the 5th of November might have been and gone, the spirit of Bonfire Night lives on in a solopreneur’s heart throughout the year. In many ways, firework display organisers are the ultimate risk takers. They need to balance safety with a cracking outcome. Like a well-organised domino display, one misplaced move and the show will come tumbling down.

Their willingness to put their lot on the line reveals a level of resolve that can serve any solopreneur well. Embracing risks and flying against the prevailing consensus takes nerve.

But having nerve and being bold do not necessarily require some large act of bravery. As a solopreneur, it is more likely you take small steps each day. Eventually you look over your shoulder and realise you have walked much further than you ever imagined.

And, in the UK, both men and women are taking up the Side Hustle challenge. Those who dare to have a bit on the side of their day job are split evenly across the genders. According to recent research released by GoDaddy and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), the number of UK side hustlers has rocketed in the last decade with women representing 50.9% of the total.

It’s official: flying solo is yin and yang in equal measure. So how do you become a side hustler and put on a show?

From fireworks to family time: festive lessons for side hustlers

Putting on a show

One thing firework display organisers know for sure is that planning an event doesn’t happen by itself. It requires hard work, planning, teamwork, and a willingness to take a risk that things might not go to plan.

So it is with side hustling. Whatever your sideline and however large your ambition, you are putting on a kind of show whenever performing a service. The planning is intense, the organisation relentless, not to mention the marketing and promotion. Just at the time you want to curl up on the sofa and take a break from the day, you need to get back in the groove with planning and preparing whatever product or service you offer.

Not that the prospect of hard work seems to be putting people off. According to the GoDaddy/Cebr study, the number of active UK side hustlers grew by almost a third in the past decade. This represents a veritable army of people going the extra mile to create opportunity for themselves and their families beyond the conventional day job.

And just like a fireworks display, when things go right the end result can be spectacular.

Season of giving

Perhaps the best thing about Bonfire Night is that it heralds the onset of the festive period: the days may be short and the weather sharp, but Christmas is around the corner. And the season’s focus on giving should be enough to warm anyone’s heart.

Giving is a quality that solopreneurs understand in spades. To build anything truly valuable, you start by giving: giving time, giving attention, giving resources.

But here’s the beautiful thing: the more you give, the more progress you make. Some ventures take several years and numerous iterations to finally get off the ground. Others are up and running in days. Either way, invest in yourself and others around you, and have faith that ultimately your investment will pay off.

The statistics are certainly on your side. Side hustlers directly contribute £14.4 billion to the UK economy, with a total economic impact of £29.1 billion. That sounds like an investment worth making by any measure.

Just like Christmas that comes around every year, your solo venture has every chance of turning into the gift that keeps on giving.

Never too late

The holiday season is a time for generations young and old to come together. Which may be good for business, because solopreneurship knows no age limits.

For all the media focus on young entrepreneurs building internet companies with multi-million valuations, the actual profile of someone branching out on their own is quite different. In fact, almost six in every ten side hustlers is over the age of 40, with just one in five under 30.

It's older parents and grandparents who are primarily driving this new economy. Since when was not being young so cool? Just keep that in mind on Christmas morning when you're unwrapping another pair of socks.

It takes a village

With any Side Hustle, perhaps the biggest lesson the festive season reminds us of is the importance of community. You might be making it your own way, but you won't get far flying solo.

Lean on your friends, your family, your neighbours for support. Ask for help and you will be surprised at how people will rally to your side.

And it’s not just good for you. Eventually the people who helped you along the way will feel the benefit too. According to the Cebr research, almost one additional work opportunity is created for every side hustler doing their thing. How brilliant is that?

Reflect, relax, recharge

While every side hustler loves the satisfaction of progress made, nobody can stay busy with business forever. You need downtime, the space to recharge and reflect. For any solopreneur, it’s important to know how to kick back now and again.

So as the holiday season gets into full swing, close out your 2018 confidently and lay down ambitious plans for the coming year. But also take the opportunity to spend time with your friends, family, and loved ones. The most successful solopreneurs know how to focus on what truly matters from moment to moment.