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Think Americans are looking for the quickest route to Easy Street? Think again. With an economy that is in many ways still recovering from the crash of 2008, many people have become entrepreneurs out of sheer need, due to issues like mass layoffs and entire industries being disrupted by tech. However, more and more people — especially millennials — have decided that entrepreneurship and the grueling hours and efforts it takes to succeed are actually preferable.
In fact, according to a recent study by Volusion, one of the world’s leading ecommerce software companies for small businesses, Americans like the daily grind. 67 percent of Americans reported that they would still work if they won the lottery, IF they could do something for which they had passion. That number jumps to 79 percent for millennials, illuminating the fact that the “trophy” generation just may not be as entitled as is the prevailing notion.
This said, the study also finds that American workers often have their heads in the clouds, especially while on the clock; 60 percent of full-timers say that have spent time at work daydreaming about a job or career they’d rather pursue. We’ve all heard the adage that, if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. The study agrees. Today’s workforce is focused and determined, but that drive may not be tied to their current job — the majority of Americans spend time at work thinking about something else they’d rather pursue. The findings show that many people agree. Most workers long to start a career or side business about which they are passionate, to the point that they’d do so even if they won the lottery.
While both men and women, young and old report wanting work and passion, men were slightly more likely to report continuing to work if they won it big than women. Millennials are most motivated to work on their passion project post-winnings (79 percent), followed by 34-54 year olds (70 percent), and 55+ (54 percent).
But, with Americans wanting to work and wanting to be passionate about how and where they clock in each day, a surprisingly smaller percentage (37 percent) are actually pursuing a “side hustle” — e.g. a passion project in addition to their regular jobs. This is not to say that they don’t want to pursue these projects (more than half [55 percent] of Americans and over 60 percent of full-time workers want to start a side hustle) but, the truth of the matter is, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Barriers to entry include not having the startup capital or resources (37 percent of Americans), followed by 33 percent reporting no time and 20 percent reporting they are overwhelmed by the steps needed or simply don’t know where to start.
So, how can people tackle these barriers to lead more fulfilled and lucrative lives? Here are the 5 common obstacles people cite, and what to do about them.
1. Not enough time
Regardless of your job, family situation, or other responsibilities, most of us reach a point of frustration where you feel like you don’t have enough time to do it all. The solution? Sit down and draft out what your daily timeline looks like, hour by hour. Take into account everything you do throughout your day, including the time spent at your full-time job, with your children (if you have any), or any other commitments such as caring for aging parents, running errands, and even your commute. This will give you a good idea of your daily pressures and what needs to happen to begin your side hustle without over-combusting.
2. Saying “yes” to everything
We have long been told not to say “no” to opportunities and that 80 percent of success is showing up. However, constantly saying “yes” when you know you don’t have the bandwidth can cause you to quickly get in over your head with commitments at the expense of your passions. The solution? Be honest. If you decide to pursue a side gig where you work with several clients, like freelance writing, or graphic design, explain to them what your existing work situation looks like. It’s highly likely they will not know everything else you have on your plate and be completely understanding if you need to scale back.
3. Taking on side gigs that are a conflict of interest
Sometimes side hustles can be competitive to your full-time job. The hard truth is that if you’re a full-time employee getting poached by a direct competitor to your company, don’t take the gig. Even if it looks amazing. Even if it pays well. Do not jeopardize your full-time job or think you can work the other side hustle without word getting out, which won’t bode well for your employment or your reputation.
4. Getting paid on time
Rarely do side hustles follow a lock step payment schedule the way that a regular job does. Before taking on a side project, make sure you have a written agreement in place which covers what to do next if payments run late or you are not paid at all. Best to have a solid prenup in place before you and your side hustle get “married.”
This is the hidden challenge of having a side business, given taxes aren’t automatically taken from your earnings. Simply put, you can’t recklessly spend every paycheck you get from your hustle. If you are not confident about doing your taxes with a side hustle, you may consider working with an accountant or tax professional.
Tackle these barriers and you just might find yourself pursuing your passions and gaining some plentitude along the way.
Kevin Sproles is CEO of Volusion.
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