What’s the number one reason most people get a side hustle? To earn money… right?  Your side-hustle may not be your profession or how you want to be introduced when you walk into the room.

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Whenever I’m at an event, not connected to my 9-5, my introduction is: “My name is Enisha Garrett and I am the founder of Ellese & Co, a brand development company and lifestyle publication that helps entrepreneurs take action on their ideas and push their business to the next level.” See, there’s no mention of my side hustle. You know that thing that I do to earn money until my business consistently hits my financial benchmarks. LOL!

So, please stop hatin’ on your 9-5, it serves a distinct purpose. Furthermore, since you must be there (you need the money, insurance, etc.), why not make the best of it? It has more to offer than you may realize. Consider these 3 things the next time you feel like grabbing that cute little pen cup that your kid made and never returning to your 9-5.
1. Get your Skills UP
No matter what field you’re working in, you can learn something that will benefit your business. Even if it’s just how not to do things in your business. But, let’s take that one step further. Many organizations offer trainings outside of your immediate job function, tuition reimbursement and other personal development opportunities. Sign up for as many as you can, especially if they are on your employer’s time/dime and your manager is supportive of you taking advantage of them.

I have a friend who used a $2,500 tuition reimbursement to enroll in a course to learn Adobe Photoshop and how to create basic websites. Less than a year later, he left his 9-5 and started a design firm where he is now making over $150k per year.

2. Study managers and executives
Depending on your position, you may have daily interaction with the executives and other people who make decisions that have a direct impact on the company. Study how they do business and interact with your coworkers, customers, vendors and their peers. Allow them to mentor you from afar or formally, if that is something that your employer supports.

The CEO at a company that I worked for really knew how to work a room. He always knew the right things to say and his delivery was dynamic. He made me want to work for him. I drank all the Kool-Aid and believed in the vision that he outlined for the company. From that day forward, I decided that I wanted to have that kind of impact on people and that no matter what kind of business I started, I would learn to really connect with people and make lasting positive impressions.

3. Watch the moves that the company is making
This one can get a little grey ethically, so make sure that you stay on the right side of things (check out the Side Note). However, if you see the company is focused on a specific trend, consider how that may impact your business.

A few months ago, I noticed my employer shifted their focus from customer service to the customer’s experience. It was no longer about a scripted white-glove, check box system when interacting with customers. It was all about creating a custom experience for each customer. I said to myself, if this is important enough that a multi-million dollar company is expending resources (money, human capital, time) on it, then I need to consider how I can incorporate this into my business. This caused me to change Ellese & Co’s on-boarding process. Before proposing long-term services, we now spend time getting to know what’s important to our customers by hosting an in-person meeting within the first 30 days of engagement. This seemingly small change has allowed us to tailor our offerings to specifically address our customers’ current and long terms goals rather than just pushing our current offerings and specials on them.

SIDE NOTE
When you are hired at a company you sign countless documents, most of which you pay little to no attention to. As an entrepreneur, some of the most important documents are those which address non-compete, other employment and use of company property (which includes the use of their internet that you access every day to check on your business). In many companies, these policies are vague and buried in their employee handbook. Seek them out and get familiar with them. You don’t want to make a stupid mistake that ends up costing you money.