‘Scandal’ Lesson: What Side Hustles and Relationships Have In Common

As Olivia Pope makes her TV return, tap into how extra obligations may not be ideal

(Image: File)
(Image: File)

Is it me, or is there an increased popularity in our culture with “sides”?

Side hustles.

Side chicks.

My favorite TV show, “Scandal” and Olivia Pope—the side we love—is premiering this week. So, I’ve been focused on the challenges with having side … ventures.

Typically, “sides” represent your passion, and they are wonderful diversions from your “9 to 5.” But, be careful: Rarely do “sides” become permanent, full-time or lucrative. Here are four issues that prevent side hustles from becoming primary ventures:

1. You Have A Lot Of Passion For Your “Side,” But Not A Lot Of Time. Side hustles are sexy. They usually embodied your dreams or fantasies: “I’ve always wanted to open a day spa.” In the beginning, all you can do is think about that business. And you’ll work on it—when you get off…work. Your passion is already taking a backseat to your real priority–financial security. So, unless you have a plan for initially replacing your income (i.e. investors, bank loans, partners, and/or savings), your dream is reserved–for after hours.

2. “Sides” Require Little Financial Risk. Side hustles are alluring because they don’t require substantial financial investments. Hey, you have your 9-to-5 to fall back on, remember? Security and the fear of losing it is the central reason why few people completely invest in side ventures. “What if it doesn’t succeed?” “What if I go bankrupt?” “I can’t lose my pension if it doesn’t work out.” By contrast, entrepreneurs don’t obsess on the “what ifs”—they factor them in and strategize accordingly. Plus, they are just crazy enough to believe that the idea will work. Note: Many great businesses were born after people were fired–they no longer had anything to lose!

3.You Are Afraid Of Commitment. Two words that don’t go together: Sides and Commitment. The flexibility is the most attractive characteristic of a side—you can do it when you want (pun intended). You can “see” if it will work out. Most people think this is a prudent strategy. If the ultimate goal is to make this your livelihood, however, that mentality won’t get you there. 100% commitment and fortitude will. Down times and risk are major parts of the entrepreneurship game, and those that dig in and ride it out, win.

4. When The “Side” Becomes Too Demanding, You Quit. There is a phase in all relationships where the novelty wears off. It’s no longer fun. It becomes too demanding. It needs…more (i.e. money, stability and effort). Think about it: A side is rarely profitable. If it were, why is it a side hustle? Be honest: You know it requires more, but you don’t want it for that purpose. Then understand, it is a hobby or just something exciting to do to “make a little extra money.” And that’s fine-unless the side’s expectations change. When that happens, you have two choices: Be “all in” or quit. That’s the quintessential element of what distinguishes a side hustle from a primary business.

Where there is no investment, there is no reward. Thus, lasting businesses and relationships succeed because they are rooted in unconditional love and commitment. When the going gets tough, the initial passion is replaced with a dedication to nurturing the endeavor and seeing it grow. That is a necessary element that sides do not possess and is why they typically fade over time.

Nicole Cober, Esq. is a partner at Cober Johnson, a law firm focusing on trademarks, brand licensing and small biz consulting. She is a former small biz owner of the award winning chain, Soul…Day Spa and Salon. She is also a Legal Consultant for Washington DC’s NewsChannel 8 and author of the soon-to-be released book: “CEO of My Soul: The Dos and Don’ts of Small Biz.” Follow her on Twitter @CoberJohnson and like her on FB @CoberJohnson. Visit her website at www.coberjohnson.com.

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