Diary of a Side Hustler – Surviving the End of the Year Grind

Diary of a Side Hustler – Surviving the End of the Year Grind


by Tanea Smith

Oh, my dear sweet November. After last week’s election, hostesses across America are changing seating arrangements at the Thanksgiving dinner table with the quickness of birds flying south. Meanwhile, retail stores are prepping for Black Friday all-nighters. And you’re just trying to simultaneously hit your fourth-quarter sales goals, and keep your head above water at the day job. Cocktails, anyone?

So, please take heed of what I’m about to tell you.

You’ve got to slow down. Yes, I know, it’s near the end of the year. I get it. But if ever there was a time to pencil in some good old-fashioned self-care, it’s during these last six weeks.


Here are a few things you can do to keep yourself on an even keel:

  • Shhh: There’s nothing I love more than the sound of well, nothing. This world is earth-shatteringly noisy. From rush hour traffic and cell phone, conversations far too high for public consumption to the time suck that is social media and never-ending emails – all will gleefully snap any sacred moment you might catch for yourself. You’ve got to find a way to set aside a pocket of quiet time every day. Perhaps you have a morning ritual of yoga or meditation. Maybe go for a walk at lunch to clear your head or when you get home from work instead of grabbing your iPhone and jumping into the fray on “The Daily Face”, you sit and journal for 20 minutes. Trust me, taking time to pour out your anxieties will give your spirit some much-needed room to breathe.
  • Yup, regularly. While most people gain weight during the holidays, the side hustler tends to get so wrapped up in the grind, we forget to nourish our bodies. Not with a Snickers while you’re on the go, but with real food. Now, I have every intention of eating like a glutton at my sister’s place on Thanksgiving before hitting my in-laws for dessert, and every family game known to man, but one day of ecstasy does not a balanced diet make. You should strive to have fresh fruit, plenty of water, and all of the vegetables you can get. Thou shall not work thyself to the bone, eat trash, and expect to be well. Respect the needs of your body, because if you’re not healthy, well – there goes the hustle.
  • Expect and prepare for the unexpected. Your cakes are the best cakes and not a single soul can tell you differently. Traditionally, November has been a good month for you. The past two years have seen a surge of new customers and you’re ecstatic. Bravo! I love it when a good hustle turns into a great one. However, here’s the real truth about the side hustle, at times its feast or famine, and you’ve got to be ready to switch gears at a moment’s notice. When your once-upon-a-time prospect turns into your biggest customer to date, and then with an email suddenly becomes your most demanding customer faster than you can say “upside down pineapple cake,” you’ll have to keep a cool head.


When your normally reliable oven goes out as you’re waiting for the last batch of cakes, you’ll need to be able to deal. Yes, I know they’re due at the church in two hours. What to do? Activate your plan B. If that means whipping up a whole new batch and driving it to your parent’s to get that order out, do it. Plan for everything that could possibly go wrong, because chances are, something will. While the amateurs are sweating, you’ll be just fine. Why? Because you were prepared.

Do tell. What is your strategy to survive the end-of-the-year side hustle grind?



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