At the end of every year, I go on a side hustle sabbatical. It’s literally blocked off on my calendar. From November 15th through January 15th I try not to think about my business(es) or actively work on any projects for clients.
This year I’m extending that break by more than a month.
My sabbatical this year will be from today, October 1st, through January 15th.
The idea is to have a full reset, minus my family and my day job.
I’m doing this for a variety of reasons.
First, it isn’t easy balancing side hustles while doing the work that I do. It means early mornings and late nights of work so that my side hustles don't bleed into my work hours. It’s nice to have all of the opportunities that I have, but it always leads to me being very burnt out because I’m burning the candle at both ends.
Second, and more importantly, is that I need some time to focus on the future. I have some big decisions ahead of me about my professional life and the only way to work through those is to remove other distractions. This sabbatical will give me the room I need to do some deep work.
Related to that is that I’ve struggled for years with my personal brand. Because I have such an eclectic background I could operate all kinds of my own businesses. I have experimented with many of those. But, I haven’t found one that speaks to me enough for me to make it my sole focus.
Over the years I’ve done direct sales, run a financial advisory practice, designed and written business plans and pitch decks, brokered business loans, been a freelance copywriter, and more. At one point this year, I flipped and flopped between models so much that I was changing my X (formerly Twitter) banner to reflect my new business model at least once every few weeks.
I’ve tried to condense all of my skills and interests into one cohesive business model but it just hasn’t come together in a way that I feel good about, and I’m desperate for it to do so.
I plan to come out of this sabbatical with the business model I am willing to commit to for the next five to 10 years. It’s either that or I’m not going to have a business. In the words of a great line from the movie Searching for Bobby Fisher, “Don’t move until you see it.”
There is another way taking this sabbatical will help.
Taking a page from Tim Ferris’s playbook, I’m going to spend this time asking tough questions. Including one from his podcast intro. Which is, “What if I did the opposite?”
For example, what would happen if I didn’t side hustle at all? Would I miss the extra money? Would I miss the mental stimulation? Would I get bored if I wasn’t so busy?
What’s going to happen to the audience I’ve built, however small? Thank you, by the way, for being part of that audience. I consistently get messages from people thanking me for my content. Particularly from my YouTube videos. I love getting those kinds of messages because they are a reminder that I’m helping people. Will those messages stop if I don’t produce new videos over the next three months?
Or, do I even care? I do love helping people. But, I’ve been looking inwardly lately, and I suspect I’ve been doing all of this for the wrong reason. I’ve been focused on what it can do for me, i.e. produce revenue.
So, all of that is to say that I’m taking a break.
One more thing. If you’ve tried this type of exercise before, this full reset, I would love to hear how it went. What rules did you set in place to give yourself some space? What were the results?
If you are willing to share, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ll see you in 2024.