The Side Hustle

Painting trucker hats
Training for the Chuckanut 50k in 2012. No trucker hats back then.

Training for the Chuckanut 50k in 2012. No trucker hats back then.

The power of incremental progress is fascinating to me. I remember back to when a group of friends and I signed up for our first ultra distance trail race together. When we signed up, I was fairly new to trail running at that time and I was doubtful if I could ever run that far. But, we trained together for months, slowly building up our strength, stamina and endurance. There was no faking it. Skipping training runs was never an option for me because the goal was so daunting. When race day came, we all ran and we all finished feeling like we had done something which was impossible a few months before.

Still smiling after finishing my first 50k.

Still smiling after finishing my first 50k.

A few years ago, I was on a work trip, eating alone in a small, dark restaurant. It was crowded and a little noisy. I was minding my own business, when I heard a familiar voice at the table across from me. She was a friend from my good old design school days. Since then, she had married another good friend from school, and after chatting for a little while, we made plans to all go out for dinner later that week.


While catching up on life and work, she explained that, while working full-time, she started a Side Hustle making designer cycling kits for women by working on it for just fifteen minutes a day. At first, I didn't believe her. But she convinced me that it was possible. In the following few months I learned that there was a whole culture around these types of projects. I learned that people started Side Hustles for all kinds of reasons. Unlike a hobby, the purpose was to make a little extra cash, to build an asset for the future, to be able to leave full-time work one day… There are all sorts.

The concept of a Side Hustle was new to me, but it came at a point in my life where I really needed it. Work at my office job had become stagnant. The idea of having something fun to spend a little time, a little creativity, a little effort was just what I needed. So, I began, with just a few minutes each day before work, sipping coffee, researching, finding ideas, making to-do lists, checking things off the to-do list…

Before long I had everything set up that I needed to start turning my ideas into reality.

Drawing hats

Did I stick to the fifteen minutes a day concept? Nope, I did not. I often spent more than that, but I rarely spent less. I tried to do one thing every day, a task, a project, a design, an idea… In a way, it was a lot like training for my first big run. If I showed up and did the workout, I would see results. And over time, I could accomplish something that, at the start, seemed impossible.