It’s a Sunday afternoon and sitting in a crowded bar with friends, I tell them that I have to step outside for a few minutes to take a call. Of course my friends say, “Oh my god! Work on a Sunday.” I don’t bother correcting them. My 9-5 job is overbearing at times, but it hasn’t hoarded my weekends in a very long time, this “work” that I have to do is the weekly SBM.org strategy call. It’s hard to describe it as work though, I’m doing what I actually love to do and progressing towards a goal of mine which is to one day become a full-time writer. The only problem is, it’s not easy trying to build a career from a side hustle.
I meet people all the time and they ask me what I do and I’ve learned that in 2011 that answer has changed. I used to tell people I was a consultant, but now I say, “I’m an aspiring writer, probably more accurately described as a blogger.” The next question, “Really, which blogs do you write for?” I have to take a deep exhale at this point because I’m on five blogs regularly, countless others on an ad-hoc basis and I’m always available for a guest post. I get told all the time, “You should slow down and write less frequently and the quality of your writing would go up tremendously.” I see their point and I raise them this piece of information; Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. I just started blogging or writing anything more than a Facebook note here or there in 2009, I’ve got some catching up to do. What most people don’t know is that if I sat down and tried to write an amazing post, or an amazing story, I could. But right now my goal is to get to the 10,000 hours. It’s an everyday hustle, most people put their eight hours into work and then they go about their day. I put my eight hours in at work, and then turn around and put anywhere from 6-8 hours a day into writing. Like Kanye said, “I won’t be taking no days off, until my spaceship takes off.”
I like to think of myself as an architect and a writer. On the train ride to work, I’m reading site after site to keep up on what’s going on in this section of the blogosphere. I’m also reading sites like Problogger, Daily Blog Tips, Life Hack, The Personal Branding Blog, and Copyblogger trying to figure out how I can make SBM and my personal blog better. I’m researching how to build brands while simultaneously keeping my pen — better known as my keyboard — sharp. I’m involved with panel discussions on key issues. I’m building relationships with organizations that promote positivity in our community. I’m writing about stuff that isn’t main stream even though I know it won’t reach as many eyes. But honestly, I don’t care as long as it reaches the right eyes. If I can impact one person through a post or appearance at an event, all the hard work behind the scenes is worth it.
There isn’t a whole lot of glory to this right now. I’m still developing myself and the progression is obvious to those that have taken the time to follow my journey. I’m not walking around with stunnah shades, hubris, and entitlement. There are no autograph signings and full length features in magazines. What do I get from this everyday? The answer is simple. I get the satisfaction of doing something I enjoy doing and the opportunity to see progress. And I won’t lie to you. Seeing SBM go from nominations in the Black Weblog Awards last year to 5 this year under my leadership is pretty cool. Actually, it’s f*cking awesome. Hard work pays off.
Sacrifices have to be made, “I hate my job” gets old and no one likes hearing it all the time if you’re doing nothing about it. So we spend our time trying to get out of the rat race; trying to find a way to make these words turn into dollars. I’m not going to lie, early on I thought, this will be a way to get my cell phone bill paid, or at least a little bottle money for the weekend. After I started looking at the take, I realized that there was much more potential to be had. It was very possible that this could lead into a very lucrative career. I want the book deal, lecture circuit, radio show, book adapted into a movie, or even a columnist in a popular magazine. I want those things and more, so I’m hustling hard until I get them. That’s why you see me posting anywhere from 5-8 articles a week on the internet, two eBooks, and spending time to collab with other writers. Despite all that, I’m working on two new eBooks and a mixtape. Closed mouths do not get fed on this boulevard.
I wanna run a lucrative website that has a positive impact in the community and have a column in a reputable magazine. Achieving those two goals will open all sorts of doors that I didn’t know existed as well as ones I’ve knocked on before. I have a running list of “remember when …” folks. I look forward to smiling at them and working with their competitors. **Sips Ketel on the rocks** Yep. That’s exactly what I’ll do. Bawse.Sh*t.
What about yall? What are your hustles right now? Where do you see yourself against some of the goals you set? Have things went better or slower than expected? Let us know.