Side Hustle versus Side Business: Key Distinctions And How To Get On Your Path To Legacy Building

By Vanessa Zamy

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

With Instacart and Uber cutting jobs, it becomes ever more prevalent how similar “side hustles” in the colloquial definition of the phrase are just as risky as a main job. At the start of 2021, Instacart made a decision to cut thousands of jobs…and it was not for those who were at headquarters, but instead the frontline workers doing the contractor work praising how amazing their hustle was. Now many of these same workers have the same worry they faced back in their W-2, “9-to-5” jobs, that they may be given the pink notice (or in this virtual age, the pink email). Instacart’s reason: a change in business model.

Happens (insert shrugged shoulder). In some spaces, you may refer to this as “restructuring” or “priority shifts.”

No matter what the reference, the fact remains. This treatment of employees as come and go, do what you want with them relative to what your business needs are, makes it ever more prevalent that your true freedom lies in being the employer.

Now some people with their side hustle may have held to this false thought that they were the employer in the situation – flexible hours, time in and out as you please, responsible for your insurance, and a host of other outside cubicle benefits. While these benefits are true for the gig worker who appreciates their side hustle in this gig economy world, many are now sadly waking up to realize, as companies like Instacart fire their gig workers, that they’re still just the employee. And it’s time for another job search.

What’s the first step to becoming the employer?

As I coach my clients and what I will share here, do not quit your day job!…yet. Instead, your path to your freedom lies in your development of a business in which you are the employer. The best and most fiscally responsible way to do this is on the side – a.k.a. side business.

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room before moving forward.

If building a business were easy, many would be doing it. And yes, when I am writing “building a business,” I mean waking up to the entrepreneur that is within you, every single one of you. I’m going to quickly run through the benefits of building your business while doing your day job. Just kidding, there’s really only one main benefit. The most important benefit of them all…CAPITAL! MONEY!

Your day job or side hustle is providing you with capital that you will need to get your business off the ground. A common mistake and path that many new entrepreneurs make is after deciding to do a business. “OMG, this year I’m building my business!”, they walk into the office (or hop on the phone), and quit. Then they go to their humble abode, and start living off savings. At some point, the savings are gone. Why? Because they went off without a proof of concept, without business building knowledge, and without a clear game plan.

Enter in the frustration, tears, stress, overwhelm, negative bank balance, and everything in between. You thought you were financially stressed before – you don’t even know.

So back to LinkedIn, these now jaded entrepreneurs go, applying for jobs, putting their business on hold to hop back onto the corporate ladder. Happens.

Well, Vanessa, what’s the alternative? – you may be asking

In summary, the alternative: keep your day job, stay calm, and build your business, an actual business of which you can become an employer, on the side.

A key distinction here is what I work with clients on, and that is a “purpose-driven” business. This is a business that is tied to what you want to do, what will have you waking up on Monday before the alarm with a smile on your face, what you wouldn’t mind spending the time, money, and energy to build, grow, and scale because it is tied to you.

On the contrary, a business you build that you have absolutely no interest in is just another side hustle – something you’re doing just to do. Unfortunately, in entrepreneurship, this means another failed business and back you go to another side gig you find online that will give you the pink email in about a year or so when the business model changes yet again.

Let’s say you’ve been doing this already, working on your side business. But you’re struggling, because as I’ve already written, building a business is not easy, so what next?

Is it time for you to quit your day job so you would “have more time”? NO! Though, I get it, I had the same thoughts a few years back while building my side business.

Instead, you need to focus on efficient and effective practices to getting your business up and running. You need to maximize the five, ten, or twenty hours you have per week to work on your business and also keep yourself together.

In the first few months of building my business coaching business a few years ago, I wrote a bestselling book, went on a fitness journey and lost over thirty pounds returning to my high school weight (I know!! I looked at the doctor extra shocked), was promoted at my day job with a double digit salary increase, built a mailing list of hundreds, aaaaannnndddddd slept 7-9 hours per night in the process, and you can, too!

Here are three (3) next steps you can start implementing TODAY for success in your profit-producing, purpose-driven business and all areas of your life:

Remove all toxicity. This includes toxic people and toxic habits. Ask yourself: What do you not like about how you work? What habit is not serving you? Are you finding yourself procrastinating and not delivering excellent work? Then it’s time to fix that habit. Are you snoozing alarm each day when you should be waking up? It’s time to wake up when it rings. People – Who continues to surround you with negative emotion? Then remove yourself from that person. Is it an ex? Is it a negative Nancy cousin? You are not obligated to pick up that phone – you choose to.

Next Step: It’s your life. Decide and remove yourself from the negativity. Let them be, and you do you.

Realize your gratitudes. I cannot stress this enough. Recall what I wrote earlier in this article. Your day job is giving you capital for your business – that’s something to be grateful for. What else? Appreciating and recognizing all the good in your life allows you to focus on the positive while your neighbor, coworker, boss, news anchor, and everyone else is complaining, whining, and making excuses. Your business will not be built on excuses. You will not become the CEO you want to be as you cloud around excuses.

Next Step: Each morning when you wake up before the alarm and each evening before you head to bed, ask and answer: What am I grateful for? What am I proud of? What am I most excited about for the next 24 hours?

Recognize the power of consistency. This is a crucial piece most new entrepreneurs do not have in their business and a habit I spend a lot of time coaching my clients through. To know if you do not yet have consistency in your business, ask yourself: What was the last project or idea I finished in my business? Then, ask yourself, for that finished project, how often or how long did you market it to the public?

As an ambitious visionary, it is easy for you to have a lot of ideas. You want to do everything. You think time is running out for you to do them #FOMO #Shiny Object Syndrome #Impatience. The truth is that you are right where you need to be when you need to be.

Consistency may sound boring, but that’s great! When you get bored with your tasks, it means you’re being consistent. Just as consistent as you are with logging on at 9am for work, be just as consistent for your business.

Next Step: Decide when each day or each week, you will focus only on moving forward in your business…and then here’s the tough part and where I serve as an Accountability Coach for my clients, follow through!

Your legacy awaits!

For hundreds of more tips and in-depth workshops on productivity, marketing, sales, and financial management, join me and 1,000+ ambitious, purpose-led solopreneurs in my community, “Skyrocket Your Side Business with Vanessa Zamy.” Sign up at


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  • Connie Stewart
    March 9, 2021 at 2:52 pm

    I Enjoyed reading Features and stories in your magazine , I am looking forward to reading more articles !

    • Bronze Mag
      March 12, 2021 at 7:11 am

      Thank you Connie! Your feedback means the world to us. We truly appreciate your readership and support:-)

      – Bronze Mag Team


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