When A Side Hustle Becomes Something More


I have never considered myself as an entrepreneur. I wouldn't even say I was an ideas person. I've always been about the execution, making things happen, getting shit done. I'd always seen my career goals follow the steps of the corporate ladder, eventually ending with me as an MD of some agency or something of that stature. So, imagine my surprise when I realised I was taking the first steps to build a startup.

It all started with an idea.

This year, I realised my life had become a revolving door of work, sleep, drinks, work and more work.

I was unable to describe myself in anything more than work titles and cliches. I wasn't able to answer the question about what my hobbies were or what I did with my day outside of work. I didn't feel any ownership over my work or my life. I felt like I was a product of circumstances that happened to me. I fell into a career in social media.

I knew I wanted to have a side hustle but I had always found an excuse. I was too busy, too tired, didn't know how to start. None of those excuses were really relevant anymore. And I was relatively open to the side hustle being anything. It could've just been a couple more months of travel or building up this blog or even going into the digital nomad life.

But I had an idea, a passion point I wanted to explore. It was no more than an elevator pitch. How that would manifest, what this meant, how it was more than just my own vision were questions I had no idea how to answer. I lost momentum early on after the idea because I did not know where to start. Was it straight into UX designs and logos and websites?

I guess that's the benefit of being around a digital nomad community - both here in Chiang Mai and with the Nomad MBA group. The more I talked about it, the more I understood the idea, the more other people did too. What started as scribbles in my journal was starting to take shape - the shape of a startup.

The biggest step was just in recognising this wasn't just a cute tagline. It had the potential to be more.

Don't get me wrong, I was skeptical. Entrepreneurship was not a paradigm I thought I'd ever broach. I wasn't one of "those sort of people" that we imagine congregating in Silicon Valley. In fact, the idea of startups still sounded like fledgling companies that were designed to fail and often exploited students like me with unreliable internships. 

But I’ve realised, a startup is nothing more than a vision that will eventually turn into a business. Moreover, actually going down this path feels like the manifestation of this whole trip and my intentions coming to fruition. A project like this was what I was searching for - purposeful, born out of passion and something that could actually make an impact on myself and even the world.

This feels like a turning point. I knew I had wanted to do this trip to "find myself," rediscover my passion or whatever. I may have changed my LinkedIn status already to say I work remotely or identify more and more with the concept of a digital nomad. Actually being regular with updating this blog could even pass as the side hustle I was searching for. But this is on another level, a different playing field and I'm still learning the rules.

The big question of what it this idea? You'll just have to stay tuned.

Tiff NgComment