Last year, my side hustle dreams came true. After several years of developing a client base and building my reputation as a dependable and effective after-school tutor, I crossed the $1000-a-month mark in extra income. My side hustle was more than enough to cover our mortgage payment for the month. My side hustle was almost an extra paycheck. My side hustle was a success. And this year, I made the decision to walk away from much of it.
One of the reasons why my side hustle was so successful last year was my willingness to tutor at seemingly every hour of every day. In addition to keeping my regular afternoon hours, I was rushing out to the library after dinner for last-minute cram sessions. Then, I started staking out a spot at Starbucks on weekend morning and evenings when the library was closed to meet with students who needed extra help before the follow week’s deadlines. In between sessions, I was fielding emails and answering phone calls to provide more coaching and support.
My flexibility and dedication to these students spoke volumes. Families loved it and recommended me to their neighbors. Eventually, I had to create a waiting list for sought after time slots and even turned some families down. I had found a really effective way to build a business.
I had also discovered a terrible way to be a wife, a daughter, and a friend. I was ducking out of weekend family parties to hit the library before closing time. I was leaving notes for Mr. P to reheat his meals during the week, since I wasn’t going to be home for dinner. I was passing on plans with friends to meet teenagers who couldn’t keep their binders organized.
In addition to taking a toll on my relationships, my side hustle was taking a serious bite out of my sanity. Much of what I do in my classroom depends on what I do in my free time — giving students feedback, monitoring data and student growth, creating new lessons, modifying old lessons, and communicating with families all takes place outside of my regular 7-4 job. Unwilling to sacrifice the quality of my teaching, I started to skip out on sleep, exercise, meditation, and more. By the end of the last school year, two things were abundantly clear: I had boosted my income, and I was running on fumes.
This year, I decided to forgo drumming up new clients at the start of the school year. I sent one email to the previous year’s clients to gauge their interest in continuing our collaboration. Then, I etched out a schedule that would allow me to work with a handful of students and still be home in time for dinner.
It’s true that I’m missing out on a significant amount of extra income this year. But I’ve also spent more weekends with my parents, caught up with more friends, and enjoyed more meals with my husband. There are always opportunities to make more money. It’s impossible to make more time.
So Tell Me…How much do you side hustle? How to balance your hustle with the rest of your life? Am I foolish to walk away?