Something's got to give

Let’s start with some facts. You are human. Everyone else is as well. You can’t do everything. They can’t either.

In today’s culture, we are constantly comparing ourselves to others. This becomes an issue when you are trying to compare yourself to a celebrity or prominent social figure. The issue is you don’t always see the full picture of that person’s life and the support they have to help manage everything. For the side hustler, like you and I, we have to manage everything ourselves including our day job, side hustle, kids (if you have any, and other day-to-day things.

The reality is, you can not manage everything at 100%, something's got to give. The best explanation I’ve ever heard of this is The Four Burner Theory.

In the above image, I have illustrated four major areas in life in the form of burners on a stove. Here every burner has a strong flame which represents the effort given to each area of life.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a reality or possible.

You need to think about your life with a finite amount of effort that can be given - 100%.

If you decide to give 100% to your side hustle then that means the flame for Career, Family, and Health will be turned off. Or, in other words, you will stop going to the gym, get fired from your job, and never see your family. This works the same for other areas. If you focus 100% on your career then you will never start a side hustle, your family will not get to see you, and you’ll become out of shape and overweight.

Instead of going 100% on one thing, such as your side hustle, you must be practical and distribute the effort across multiple burners. To show this, I’ll go over how I managed my burners when launching The Side Hustle Journal



While going through the process of launching the journal I was extremely focused on hitting my target launch date - which I did. To make this happen, I had to adjust my burners so that I could allocate more effort on my project.

It looked like this:

Relationships: 20%

Career: 15%

Health: 5%

Side Hustle: 60%

A majority of my effort was focused on my side hustle, and other areas were reduced to help support my focus on the project.

Before my side hustle, it looked like this:

Relationships: 30%

Career: 35%

Health: 25%

Side Hustle: 10%

I was only applying 10% of my effort towards my side hustle and it showed - I was not making any real progress. I was unorganized and spent the little time I had allocated for it doing the trivial task that really didn’t “move the needle”. If you want to really make progress on any of these areas, you need to reduce the burner on 2 of them and almost cut off 1 of them. It sucks I know but this is, in my opinion, the only way to make true progress. You have a finite amount of time and effort in a day and if you want to make substantial progress on one area of life, you need to focus on that area.

Like I mentioned here, you definitely do not want to turn your Career burner all the way down.

You could have each burner at 25% but you must be ok with knowing that you’ll never be good or great in any one area, just mediocre in them all.

It’s also important to note that the amount of effort applied to these areas of life can be adjusted depending on where you are in life - in the original article he called these “seasons of life”. If you just started a new job, you will need to turn up the effort in your career. If you just had a kid, you will need to turn up the effort on your relationships.

So, if you really want to get your side hustle off the ground, you must figure out which burner you are going to steal some fire from.    

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