Another Labor Day is behind us. This day of barbecues and summer send-offs is actually designed to be an annual national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country.
Yet every year, this one being no exception, I run into people who are elated to be on a long weekend away from their jobs and dreading going back to the office come Tuesday. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American (ages 25-54, with children), works 8.8 hours a day. That’s a whole lot of time to be doing something you don’t love.
So what’s stopping you from finding a professional adventure that you don’t want to escape from? Or pay you your worth? Or give you more flexibility to enjoy the things in your life you do love?
If you think you don’t have time around your job and your kids to build an exit strategy, think again. Just last week, I interviewed three uber-busy working moms I get to work with who have found the time to build lucrative side incomes that are giving them more options and more financial breathing room.
There’s Kali, of Durham, NC, the certified nurse anesthetist at Duke, working 12 to 13-hour shifts, who has sandwiched her side biz in around her long stretches at the hospital and her two little girls to afford a beach house. And now her work life balance is about to get even better, since she’s been able to cut her shifts in half.
Zena, a full-time registered nurse, mom and wife in Rockdale, TX, spends oodles of time on her two sons’ baseball passion and a slew of community activities she and her business-owner husband are devoted to. Yet through her side biz she’s building financial security that she knows will never come from nursing, and she looks forward to the day her work schedule is designed completely around her kids.
And Amanda of Denver, CO has been a lawyer for 14 years and mama to two little girls. When her company reorganized a few years ago, she found herself with double her normal workload but the same paycheck. That light bulb moment led her to start her own side biz that has her closer to trading in business suits for yoga pants.
Even with all the demands on their plates, these women have successfully taken charge of their own futures to build the life of their dreams. So how do they do it?
They recognized an opportunity to leverage something big by taking advantage of the nooks and crannies of their lives. And they show up consistently, treating their side gig as something just as important as their day job, just in a lot fewer hours. They had full plates but they saw an opportunity they couldn’t pass up and, for the short-term, got bigger plates. And like me, they’ll tell you they’ve fallen in love with the possibility of controlling their own financial future, of owning their own businesses, and of living life on their terms. We’re also addicted to the satisfaction of helping others succeed and dream bigger, too.
The saying goes, choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. Now I’m not going to tell you that what we’ve found is never-ending nirvana. Some days it has its frustrations, disappointments and laugh-out-loud comedies of errors. But every day I still get up excited to see who I will be able to help, who might I connect to products that will give them the best skin of their life or a business that could enhance or change their life.
If you don’t wake up that way, here’s my wish for you: before next Labor Day, find something that makes your heart sing, and even if you have to ease into it just a few hours a week, do it. Take the leap. You never know, you just might find your labor of love.