You need to diversify

Not just your investments, you career too.

If you’re employed somewhere. Great! Get a side-hustle. And this is particularly important if you’re slogging 14-hour-workdays and don’t see yourself working for this very firm 5 years from now.

I know what you’re thinking… “how the hell am I suppose to find time for this?” I hear you my friend. I know it’s tough to give yourself some time let alone lend it to someone else. But if you don’t have time, it’s most likely your fault. Yup, you’ll need to suck it up and accept that you don’t have the systems and processes in place to make you more productive.

And that’s okay. There are tons of resources out there (including this site) for hacks on saving and maximising time. Implementing these tactics will help you find time to help entities (people and small/mid-sized businesses) with your expertise. That’s the kind of exposure that makes mediocre consultants into great ones. Think about the impact and the edge that you’ll have over competitors, say 5 years down the lane, when you switch to a different job or open your own shop with all the knowledge and experience you gain working on your side projects. It’s priceless. Particularly when you realise that your peers are still stuck with those cases assigned by their supervisors. Terrible!

Yes, you’ll miss out on the work-life balance. But truthfully, not much. Those claims that you hear from your friends, family and peers are highly exaggerated. They’re more comfortable in their cushy jobs while you’re busy making yourself future proof.

If you’re self employed or independent, consider investing a chunk of your time in side-projects too. Now, what you’re doing maybe the result of all that hustling while you were also busting your butt 14 hours a day. But it doesn’t end there. It never should.

Get another side-hustle or two that’s geared towards pushing your limits while helping you gain a valuable skill. Even if you end up failing at it! (That’s a Scott Adams quote I just butchered. Sorry, Scott!)

So, if you’re now writing full-time and have a 40-hour a week retainer, great! More power to you! But find a way to work on the other skills that you would like to develop. If that’s public speaking, for example, reach out to your local chamber of commerce or Rotary/Lions/Toastmasters Clubs for a speech slot. Share what you know. Rinse and repeat. If you’re lucky, you’ll start getting paid gigs one of these days. Worst case scenario, you’ll be one of the best writers who can deliver a stunning presentation! And your future prospects would simply love it!

Here’s why I’m so big on having a side-hustle (or side-project as I call it) :

  1. There are absolutely no guarantees to whatever you’re doing right now. Be it a full-time job or freelancing full-time or running your own business.
  2. The most successful entrepreneurs and world-class employees have multiple skills that go beyond their business/work requirements. They’re always pushing the envelope. Always trying something new, failing at it, learning from it, getting better and keeping at it until they master the skill.
  3. Diversification can surprisingly bring in a level of stability by giving you an opportunity to monetise your newfound skills. Something that can never happen if you’re stuck with your job or business (as in working “inside” the business than on it).

For someone who’s full-time employed with tons of responsibilities, my deck is stacked! Besides running a marketing agency, I have projects that allow me to use my expertise as a management consultant to solve some of the local business’ challenges. I’m also working with a handful of clients as an executive coach, helping them elevate their performance at the workplace and their businesses. And years ago, I invested a lot of time to sharpen my speaking skills. Something that I intend to use a great deal this year.

The point is, I could never make a living as a coach. And this doesn’t have anything to do with finances, though this is equally applicate if that’s a focus area for some. If you’re one of those who doesn’t believe in just surviving but thriving in this ever-changing world, you need to be constantly evolving. The best way to do that is by playing outside your comfort zone.

In my experience, one can get comfortable with their jobs or businesses within 6 months. Irrespective of how demanding the job is. Heck, some even get too comfortable with the pressure. The best way to break out of that mould and continue to grow as a person is to diversify attention and seek new opportunities and skills.

Think of yourself as the YOU inc. What would you do to grow your own professional services firm? Stay stuck where you are or explore new avenues?

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