Productivity Tips for a Successful Side Hustle – Ep. 35

If you have one foot in a full-time job and another foot in your side hustle and the needle just isn’t seeming to be moving, this is the episode for you! I share from experience the blocks that were keeping me from seeing success, how I shifted my narrative, and how I was able to quit my corporate job one year after committing to being productive. Don’t forget to rate and subscribe!

In this episode, I talk about how I felt before quitting my corporate job for my side hustle (05:01), tips on moving forward (13:00), and finding clarity (19:00).

Audio Transcript

Hello! Welcome back to The Wanderlover Podcast. I’m your host, Danielle Hu. If you’re here from our new thrive global feature, welcome to the community.

We are so excited to have you here. And this is my podcast where I talk about all things entrepreneurship, mindset, social media travel, and all things to help you design a life you are wildly obsessed with. As some of you may know, I came from a corporate background and figured out it just wasn’t for me. And so now I’ve been traveling full-time for the past four years and working with incredible clients around the world. And to those of you who have been part of the community for quite some time, I just want to say, thank you. Thank you for reaching out to me on Instagram. Be an email on Facebook about all the ways this podcast and my brand has changed your view of reality, your mindset and your life.

(1m 34s):
I get a lot of comments and questions and DNS, and I try to respond to every single one. But for those of you who have taken this message and each, and every message I share and actually implemented them into your life and seen amazing results. I just want to say, thank you. You guys are the reason why I continue creating these podcasts episodes and creating content and it’s vulnerable. I get it. It’s vulnerable to admit that there are things about your life that you’ve worked so hard on. That might not be what you expected, right. To come so far and reach a point where you’re like, wait, is this right for me?

(2m 14s):
Is my job right? For me, is my career right for me and start questioning your current reality. And that’s okay. I really value and understand this vulnerability. And it’s the first step to creating change. I am currently in Hawaii. I’ve been here for the past six months and just going surfing every day. Having mastermind calls, having client calls, being able to express my creativity fully and be compensated for it, getting paid for it and being able to work anywhere in the world that I want to, it has not always been like this. You guys know in my corporate job, I had limited vacation days a year.

(2m 59s):
And this freedom that I’m currently experiencing was nowhere to be found, which is why I chose a different path. And so if you resonate to those, you are in the right place. And today I am going to share with you the productivity tips that I’ve always had in place, whether it was when I was working in finance and working on my side hustle, when I first became an entrepreneur and even practices that I still do to this day, that has really just skyrocketed my productivity. Because as an entrepreneur, as a side hustler, you guys know that it takes action to make your dreams come true.

(3m 39s):
And so by really honing down and focusing on how you can be the most productive and notice I’m saying productive, not busy because keeping busy, doesn’t always necessarily equate to being productive. It doesn’t necessarily move the needle in the direction you want it to go. And so my intention with this episode is to share tips. So you guys always feel like you’re getting one step closer to your goals. So I first noticed that there was a difference between wanting to achieve my goals of quitting corporate and starting a side hustle versus actually achieving a successful side hustle and quitting my corporate job.

(4m 21s):
So this happened my first year, when I first entered corporate America, I knew within like weeks that it wasn’t for me. I couldn’t see myself staying in this environment for the rest of my life. I knew I wanted to start my own thing. I knew I wanted to quit. I knew I wanted to be financially independent and not have to rely on a corporate salary and not be limited by my vacation days. And that’s what I kept saying to people that I was close to, that I was meeting within my corporate job. Of course it was like close friends. I wasn’t just going up to my managers on the first day being like, I hated those, but new people that I would meet and get coffee with.

(5m 1s):
I would kind of question them being like, do you want to stay here forever? Because I don’t, if I felt safe where I could share that, I would tell them I don’t want to stay in corporate for the rest of my life. And then I would have so many conversations about this to the point where the next time I caught up with that same colleague, maybe it was a month after, or two months after they would ask me, Oh, how is your side hustle going? Or how is it like, how are your plans to quit corporate going? And I would say to them, I’d be like, Oh, I don’t know. Like, I don’t know what I want to work on. I still don’t want to stay in this job, but I really don’t have the time I come home every night.

(5m 45s):
And I’m just so tired from working in finance, working on Excel spreadsheets that my brain is fried. And I would just tell them I didn’t have the time or the mental capacity to really focus on my side. And so this happened a few times and I was okay with it until maybe it was coming close to almost a year when I was at my car corporate job. And I remember getting coffee with one of my friends and they were like, okay. So I think you’re like about to start your next rotation. Are you going to go into the rotation or are you going to quit? Because they knew that quitting was something I had wanted to do since the beginning. And at that point, I said to myself, Holy shit, it’s been a year.

(6m 29s):
And the needle really hasn’t moved at all. And then within the same few days, I was messaging my best friend at work. We were in the same finance program and we used to just complain to each other, how unfulfilling our current roles were and how draining it was. She had messaged me saying that she was going to quit her job. And because we were the same age, we were in the same program. We started off together and we were in the same internship the year before. And she was making the move to quit. She was doing what I had said. I wanted to do four months almost a year. And she was actually doing it. And I was still basically in the same place where I was saying I wanted to quit, but I had no means to.

(7m 14s):
I had no idea what I was going to do. And I just couldn’t. I was paralyzed. And so at that moment, I realized that what I had been saying over and over, I really wasn’t being productive. I wasn’t making any moves. I wasn’t doing anything differently. And all I had to fall back on was that I had no time and I couldn’t do it. However, someone right in front of me had proved to me that it was possible. And when I told her, I was like, I can’t believe you’re actually doing it. Like, this is so scary. But congratulations. She was like, it’s okay, Danielle, your time will come. And that was really comforting to me. It was comforting to know that just because she was doing it didn’t mean I had to right away.

(8m 1s):
And I had a choice. I always have the power to change my future. So it was comforting and it was instant powering. And this was the moment I said to myself, okay, Danielle, I am sick and tired of being that girl. Who’s always making up excuses and being upset at her current reality. When there’s people in front of you proving that it’s possible and you know, it’s possible. But today I am going to choose a different path. I am going to choose new habits. I’m going to choose new ways to be productive because I can not go another year of this habit. Thing of having the same coffee dates of people asking me, how’s it going?

(8m 45s):
And for me to be like, I just have no time. I’ve made no progress. And if this sounds like you, I totally understand. I’ve been there. It happens so often. I see it all the time, you know, in my life before in my clients’ lives and people’s lives around the world. People feel unclear about what they want to accomplish. They feel unmotivated and unproductive. So over time, what I’ve realized is this is always a choice. You always have the choice to choose a different path and to do things differently. So if you are sick and tired of listening to yourself, complain about the same things and not seeing progress, then I would really encourage you to think about how you can do things differently, because that is when the magic happens.

(9m 34s):
I’ve experienced it, you know, coming from a place where I just felt a year, a whole year of feeling uninspired, like I was able to kind of snap out of that and reprioritize. So I am confident that you will. And so the first thing that I did to increase my productivity was actually to focus on my energy, energy levels are so important, especially if you are working a full-time job. I got into the office before the sun Rose and I left after the sun had set. I was in like a middle dusk. So a middle of the floor desk because all the CEOs had the corner offices and the offices with windows.

(10m 16s):
So I got like no sunlight during the day. And it was like very draining, right? So my energy levels during the day, we’re basically at zero, except when I had lunch, because lunch just was my most exciting part of the day. And it gave me a little boost of energy. But most of the time for the rest of it, the day I really had no energy. And so what I started doing was actually waking up early to go to the gym every single day before work. And yeah, if you guys know me in real life, you will know that I am not a morning person at all. I will rather, I would rather stay up until 5:00 AM, then wake up at 5:00 AM.

(10m 59s):
But because I wanted to make a change in my life to do things differently. And so by focusing on ways where I can get my day off to a great start, be excited for the day I tried going to the gym early and what I have, and also really gotten into was counting macros and started meal prepping. And it got a little intense. I would actually like weigh out my meals, which I don’t do anymore, but it was a really good learning experience. And I was really excited to learn more about this new world that was making me healthier and made me feel better. And this was the first step in realizing that it’s not about having the time.

(11m 39s):
It’s about making the time. And once I had this down, the habits that I previously had in like my previous life, it started, you know, slowly disappearing. So instead of going to happy hours after work, once a week, I chose to basically stop drinking altogether. I would set boundaries, prioritizing my health and my business over my social life. And I’m not saying you have to make drastic changes like these, but if you are so fed up with how your business progress is going, and you really want to commit to seeing success in your business, then you need to make sacrifices in the beginning.

(12m 19s):
Because if you go with your current routine, you’re going to be seeing the same results. So on top of having a diet and exercise plan, no alcohol, I was feeling amazing. That ended up trickling over to spending my lunch breaks, spending my extra time after work, to being super focused about what it was that I was going to work on. And once I found those avenues, I pursued them relentlessly. And if you go back to my first episode about my four chapters of my career, so it was corporate.

(13m 0s):
The second chapter was try everything and make mistakes phase. My third was travel influencer, a fourth business coach. We are currently in the try, everything relentlessly and make mistakes phase. So this is where I started contacting suppliers in China and started a successful e-commerce business. I tried FBA and was importing Bitcoin wallets back in 2017. I started a travel Instagram and I started blogging. And all of this I did with the same number of hours I had in my day. But instead of coming home and feeling like I couldn’t do anything, I was so excited to get things done because I knew that this was moving the needle.

(13m 46s):
One step closer to where I want it to be tips that stemmed from this new found energy was not only going to the gym, but I knew every single morning I wanted my special K cereal and a big cup of coffee. Like I just placed so much intention and happiness around this little morning ritual that I had in my cubicle. And that really helped me set my day up for success. I also started bringing my Mac to work everyday because I knew that lunch, I would want to talk with my suppliers, research, new products, research, new business ideas. And I was just so motivated.

(14m 27s):
I was like on a roll. And these are the changes. These are the actions that you need to take in order to not be in the same position one year from now. So it’s safe to say that all my side hustling in year two led me to where I am today. It led me to being able to quit my job after a year or two. And what also changed dramatically during this time was I decided that I was going to take action and follow instructions. So I had of course, invested into books, into courses, into coaching year two for all of the new entrepreneurship avenues that I wanted to take.

(15m 8s):
And I followed everything that I was told. I think back in year one, when people would give me advice and give me new ideas of what to pursue, I would just kind of like, look at them, kind of doubt myself and be like, I don’t know if I can do that or find a flaw with their business model being like, that’s actually not what I really want to pursue in like 10 years down the line. It’s like ma although they were amazing ideas, but it was just fear. It was doubt and being non-committal. I just really didn’t commit to anything. But in year two, I was like, I know I want an online business. There are so many different avenues. Let me just try anything and everything. And I dove head first.

(15m 50s):
So if there was a book that told me to brand my Instagram a certain way, that’s exactly what I did. If my mentor told me to set up my FBA shop a certain way, that’s exactly what I did. And over time, this taking action based on the specific steps that have already been outlined to me or outlined for me, it made my life so much easier because instead of questioning everything that I had to do and trying to figure it out myself, I was basically told by an expert what I should do and how I should be doing it. So after a few months of just following step by step instructions, I started seeing change. I started seeing, again, the needle move in the direction that I finally wanted it to.

(16m 35s):
And what I learned through this process of basically comparing my corporate year one versus corporate year two is that productivity is a lifestyle. We all have it within us to be productive, right? It’s not like I’m here to make you productive with this magic pill. That’s not how it works. It’s like, how do we hone our discipline and our energy levels so that when we tell ourselves we’re going to get something done, we are going to get it done. And so over the past six years of working on my side, hustles, working on side projects to being a full-time entrepreneur, I am always filling up my cup first, filling up my energy.

(17m 21s):
And even now I still make the time to do things. I still make the time to go for a surf every day, drink my big cup of coffee every morning, because I know that these are the habits in my day. That’s going to let me serve my clients the best consistently create content for all of you and run a business that is fun and sustainable in a way where it doesn’t cause burnout. And it doesn’t cause dread. So just to recap, the first big productivity tip is to find your why for me, I was so productive year two of my corporate job, because I knew that in a year’s time, I didn’t want to be in the same position.

(18m 5s):
I didn’t want to be faced with another year in the books of not making progress of saying that I still don’t have a business. I still don’t have the time and just making up excuses for myself. That was honestly my why that kicked my butt into gear and was like, Oh my God, I need to do something differently. Second big productivity tip is to frame your entire day around productivity. So you’re energized. So you are motivated and you’re not drained with all of the extra time you do make for yourself. You want to make sure you’re showing up in a way that’s going to serve you. So for me, that included going to the gym every morning, waking up super early, planning out my meals and planning out my days so that I could really focus with my laptop at my favorite cafe and just getting work done.

(18m 59s):
The third tip is to have clarity around what it is you want to accomplish in the big picture and day to day. So for me, I wanted a remote business that let me work online. I wanted to be able to express my creativity and I purchased resources and hired people to coach me on how to do everything. And because I was showing up to every work session, really motivated, I actually got things done. I was implementing everything I learned, and that’s how I saw progress. And what also helps is if you don’t have one already create a vision board for yourself, exactly what you want to accomplish within the next three years and where you want to be in three years time.

(19m 45s):
So that when you’re trying to decide what to do every day, if you’re like, should I go to this happy hour? Or should I spend an hour on my laptop? You look at your vision board. And you’re like, well, my happy hour, get me one step closer to location independence, or will my laptop. So it helps you filter through questions and activities that maybe before you would just like, say hell yes to any and all happy hours, which is what I used to do. And once you have the clarity on what exactly in three years, you want find resources to help, you know, what to do on a day to day basis. So invest in yourself, invest in resources, on books from people who have already been there last but not least my productivity tip for when you have all of the sound.

(20m 32s):
And you’re just like struggling to sit down in front of your computer and get things done is to break it down into bite sized pieces. You don’t want to commit an hour til, you know, figuring out an entire website when you have no idea how to even design a website. So if you’re like in an hour, I am going to complete my website. That is way too large of a goal and way too big of a goal. But instead, if you create a checklist for exactly what you need to work on on the website, such as buying a domain, creating a homepage, creating an opt-in form, creating an about me page, then you can dedicate one hour to writing your about me another hour to creating another page.

(21m 17s):
And it’s much more manageable so that when you’re in front of your computer, you know exactly what it is you need to learn or work on. Another tip is to download an app that I still use to this day called Laura. What it does is you essentially set a timer for, let’s say 20 to 45 minutes. I wouldn’t actually recommend any longer time. I like working in smaller bursts of energy. Maybe that’s just my Myers-Briggs personality though. So just take it with a grain of salt, whatever works for you. I usually set a timer between 20 and 45 minutes. And in that timeframe, you just work on one task. Do not over-complicate it.

(21m 57s):
And try to fit in five things in 45 minutes, just focus on one thing. And what Florida does is you plant a little seed and it grows into either like a Rose or a tree. If you don’t touch your phone for that complete time. So if I don’t need my phone and I just need to work on something on my laptop, I’ll set the timer and it’ll grow into like a plant. And I feel bad. I have to like, you know, stop the timer because it kills that plant. And over time you start growing a little garden. So it’s a really fun way to be productive. If I need my phone for the task, let’s say I need to post a reel or post an Instagram story. Then I’ll just set a timer on my phone instead to notify me when my time is up and that 45 minutes, I will commit to one task.

(22m 47s):
I promise guys, it gets easier. The more you practice these rituals and these habits in your day to day life, it can seem very daunting at first because it’s so unclear what you should be working on, what you should be doing and prioritizing. But looking back, if you’re just making one little step in the direction you want to go, that is progress. We love baby steps in the laundry lover community. Every week we celebrate all of our little baby steps and even tuning into this podcast episode. If you have any reframes in your mindset about how you could be acting differently, to get a different result, even that thought is a huge win.

(23m 29s):
So if you guys enjoyed this episode, it would mean so much to me. If you could take a screenshot right now and post it to your stories, I repost every single one of you guys, as stories, sharing what you learned, maybe some things are going to try out and it really helps spread the wander lover message to get people to think differently, feel differently and act differently because that’s what gets different results in our lifetime. So I hope this was super helpful. If you have any questions, if you want to talk, if you’re feeling stuck on any part of this series, this D on me, my deans are always open. Let me know what you guys think.

(24m 9s):
Sending so much love to all of you, and I will see you next week.


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How I went from a side hustle and unfulfilling jobs to finding my passion, 5-figure months, and full-time world travel.

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