The magic of the side
Almost every important thing I’ve done in my life has been done on the side.
Most of the progress I’ve made has developed on the side.
The side — if you have one — is where the real action is. The side, if pursued persistently, is where you find meaning and purpose. The side is where opportunity and freedom are found.
Your front is your day job, how you support your family, where you spend the bulk of your time.
The side is where you dream and discover. The side is where you wonder and experiment.
The side is where you develop new skills, acquire new knowledge, engage with mentors, meet new people, push your boundaries.
The side is where you burn the midnight oil in search of something more, new, different, better.
The side is where you turn keys that unlock doors to new worlds, new adventures.
The side is your part-time venture that gives you hope and energy to get through your full-time grind.
In August 2004, my front was delivering water to convenience stores while attending college. I started washing windows on the side. In November of that same year I quit my job; my side had become my new front, and that front eventually opened other doors on the side.
In June of 2006 my front was real estate and other investments. I started writing (for free) on the side. In December of that year I was approached to write a book. When that book became a bestseller, freelance writing became my new front.
I’ve kept my front of freelance writing while continuing to develop Life Manifestos on the side.
In my spare time every week for the past three years I’ve written an “Inspiration Weekly” article to my email subscribers. After writing 157 articles, my email list has grown to over 6,800 subscribers.
In September of 2013 I started another side business helping people retire through done-for-you real estate investing — and in the process, moving the cause of liberty.
My front pays the bills. My side feeds my fire.
My front gives me stability. My side gives me inspiration and excitement.
My front provides security. My side produces freedom.
My front builds my credibility. My side builds my wings.
My front gives me a dependable home base from which I can safely launch side projects. If those side projects crash and burn, my life and family don’t come crashing down with them. When side projects take off, I follow them where they lead.
I don’t care what your front is. I want to know what you’re doing on the side. I don’t care where you’ve come from. I want to know where you’re going.
Are you ready to go places you’ve never been before?
Don’t quit your day job. Don’t jeopardize your family or your finances. Start a side project that feeds your passion, advances your purpose, leverages your talents, boosts your income.
Want to make 2015 your best year ever? Make this the year of the side. Maintain your home base, but commit to launching something on the side.
Start a blog and write for an hour a day. Post on social media. Build an email list.
Start a network marketing business and commit to talking to two new people a day.
Create a product and try to sell it. Follow Seth Godin’s advice:
“Start your first business this way: Begin with the smallest possible project in which someone will pay you money to solve a problem they know they have. Charge less than it’s worth and more than it costs you. Repeat. You don’t have to wait for perfect or large or revered or amazing. You can start.”
Start a charitable organization, or volunteer for one on a part-time basis.
Whatever you choose as your side, make it big and compelling enough that it becomes the focus of your life. Your front may consume the bulk of your time, but your side can permeate your thoughts and dreams.
Eliminate all excuses. Cancel your TV subscription. Don’t strangle the possibility of the side by killing time on your bottom.
Don’t tell me you don’t have time for a side project — I’ve built several businesses and published two books on the side. The side is the most important time you have. (I wrote this article, as I have for about 60 percent of my articles, on late Sunday evening, the night before it was published.)
There are magical worlds you have yet to explore. There are spine-tingling adventures waiting for you.
But they are not found directly in front of you. They are discovered and explored on the side.
Are you serious about your side? If so, read this book as fast as possible: Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job by Jon Acuff.
“There are friends (I might be one of them) who will tell you, ‘Quit your job and follow your dream.’ But Jon Acuff is smarter than that. Quitter is about going from cubicle-bound to Outward Bound without committing financial and marital hara-kiri along the way — and actually succeeding in the end. This book is wise, personal, funny and loaded with practical, real-world insights from Mr. Acuff’s own ongoing odyssey. If you’re torn between living your dream and putting food on the table for the wife and kids, don’t make a move till you read Quitter.”
-Steven Pressfield, Best-Selling Author of The War of Art and Do the Work