The Great Side Hustle Apocalypse Has Begun — Here’s How To Survive

Aug 03, 2021
 Created by the author — original image from Pexels by Marcio Silva
“I haven’t published a podcast for two months!”
“Sorry, guys I’m skipping uploading a YouTube video this week!”
“I just posted an article in the first time in forever!”

I hate to say I told you so but I told you so.

The hype for side hustles had started to get out of control. Many people started theirs during the pandemic when they had far fewer options with what to do with their time. When faced with the boredom of being stuck inside, they found the motivation to be productive in their free time.

It led to unrealistic expectations of a new normal. Three months ago everyone I spoke to was adamant they weren’t going to give up whatever they had started.

Yet the reality has been different. There’s a reason most people didn’t choose to spend every hour working before the world turned upside down. The return of social life has understandably meant hustling has fallen down people’s priority lists.

I made the leap to take my side hustles full time but my friends who didn’t are struggling to recapture their earlier enthusiasm and that’s ok.


I don’t feel sorry for them

This might sound harsh but I don’t feel bad for the quitters at all.

They are choosing to prioritize other things in their lives which make them happier. To me, this is a good thing! I see them out and about taking pictures with their friends with big smiles on their faces.

Some of my friends have confessed to me about how they feel guilty for falling behind on their content schedules. It’s like they want to impress me by reassuring me they will make the sacrifices they need to in the future. Yet I encourage them to do the opposite and have fun instead!

What are you going to remember in 20 years? Memories with your loved ones or time sat at your computer editing?

I don’t need other people to live their lives the same way I do to validate my life decisions. I know many bloggers want you to follow their path but I’d rather you did what is right for you.


Giving up doesn’t make you a failure

Simone Biles gave up the chance to win gold medals in several events at this summer’s Olympics. She had trained for her whole life and was and carrying the expectations of the world on her shoulders. None of these things matter though and she had the guts to do what was right for her mental health.

If she can do what she did then you can quit the blog or YouTube channel you’ve been running for a year without any shame. Any fan who wants you to continue despite knowing you’re miserable isn’t a fan worth having. Your side hustles should serve your life, not the other way around.

Side hustle culture can be so glorified online but it’s stressful and unrewarding for many people. You can abandon yours without being any lesser a person.

I quit my blog nearly six years ago after realizing no one was even reading. When I came back to writing years later, I was in a much better place. I’m so glad I didn’t try to force myself to keep up with the original!


Processes. Processes. Processes.

You might decide you don’t want to give your side hustles up. Congratulations and I hope the lifestyle works for you.

The first thing you must do is adjust your expectations.

If you want to find a balance with a more active social life then slow down your content schedule. Someone who posts twice a week could set themselves a target of once a week instead. You want to reduce the pressure on yourself as you adjust to a new routine. Increase your load in stages so you can be sure you won’t be overwhelmed.

I had podcaster friends who during the pandemic spent eight hours a week editing their own shows. They didn’t mind when everything was shut but it wasn’t how they want to spend their Saturdays in normal times. I’ve encouraged them to document processes that they can outsource.

Yes, it costs money but it means they can maintain the schedule they desire without missing out on their social events.

Think about what admin tasks you do for your side hustle that you might be able to outsource. Be honest with yourself about what you enjoy and you might find the extra expense is worth it. Remember time is your most valuable resource.


The survivors

I made a calculated decision when I left my job in June this year. I knew my side hustles would tear me apart if I tried to keep them up so I could pick two out of work, side hustles, and social life. (Spoilers: work lost).

My businesses are in competitive and saturated spaces yet I was encouraged by my prediction of the ongoing apocalypse. My theory was if lots of people choose to focus on other aspects of their lives then the content machine should slow down.

Take my long-term bet to launch a podcast. I believe there will be a larger decrease in the supply of podcasts relative to the decrease in demand. It takes much longer to produce a podcast than it does to create one. As more people resume their regular commuting schedule, there are more opportunities for them to listen.

If my bet is correct, it means the people who continue to make time have greater chances of success because of the reduced competition. I could be catastrophically wrong but it’s a theory that eases my anxiety a little.

While I’m not a fan of the potential loss of choice as a customer, what I’d hope is those who truly love what they do in their side hustle make the time for it. In an ideal world, it means the internet is full of the passionate, not the people who want to get rich quickly.

Amar's Letter

Real talk on driving impact as an imperfect human.