by Tanea Smith
You did it! You survived another year at your day gig. You showed up, you didn’t show out and you put in the work. Yes, even on those days back in the summer & fall when you were an inch from coming unhinged you somehow steeled your nerves, steadied your gaze on the finish line, and ran straight through that yellow tape! For all the projects you worked on, meetings you sat in, the annoying co-workers you successfully tuned out, conference calls you took part in, and graphs, charts, or presentations you loaned your expertise to, you’ve been rewarded with a bonus. Oh. Joy.
Hmm. What does one do now?
#1. Keep your mouth shut. Yes, you. Get as quiet as a church mouse. Why? Well for obvious reasons. As soon as you get off the phone blabbing to your cousin on your father’s side someone will have car trouble and be eternally grateful if you could help replace the transmission. Or maybe, you know, just a small loan for necessities. And how could you possibly shun your good girlfriend who’s struggling to get her 5-minute-old business idea off the ground and really needs an investor? I don’t doubt that her business has Forbes list potential but why get your hard-earned cash caught up in that fray? Selfish? Maybe. Smart? Oh, Absolutely.
#2. Do a pocket probe: Are you carrying debt? The lint can stay, but the debt must go. Yup, right now. If you have a high-interest credit card, apply for one with a 0% rate and use half of the money from your bonus to pay it off. If half is not enough to pay it off completely it will at least help you make a dent. That dent means you’re inching in the right direction. Debt weighs you down. Free yourself.
#3. Splurge: After you’ve done the righteous thing and paid off or paid down some debt take the remaining 50% and break that in half. And with this 25% go to town! That means buying that thing you’ve had your eye on for months or leaving town, literally. Maybe it’s a weekend ski trip with the family or a solo trip to rejuvenate. Or perhaps you’ll invest in a coaching package with someone that can help you take your side hustle to the next level. The choice is yours but whatever you do make it really good. Why? Because you’ve earned it.
As for the final 25%, that goes into your savings account. I call mine the GOD fund. You know. My “Get. Out. of Dodge.” stash. If your intention is to one day leave your day job and make your side hustle your full-time business having savings is not optional, it’s mandatory. If you’re not saving, you’ll never get out. Imagine that!
Congratulations & Happy Hustling!