How to nurture your dreams while having a full-time job

Let’s talk about that dream of yours

While we are stuck in our terrible Zoom calls with people droning meaninglessly over overcrowded powerpoint slides, you might think to yourself, I am better than this.

Let us be honest, we are meant to do more things in our lives than what only brings us money. Problem is we do not have the time to pursue it and then get better at it till the moment our side hustle becomes our main hustle. We cannot leave our main hustle as well, as it pays for our bills, the computer I am currently typing on and that unimaginative anniversary gift you keep buying your significant other.

Now while trying to run Bongsense for like 4 years now, I have found time to keep drawing comics, keep making jokes almost everyday inspite of holding various jobs from a Post Doctoral Research Fellow to a very intense Industrial RnD job which I currently have. I have drawn over 2500 comic panels during this time, to make you familiar with the scale of things we are talking about.

So apart from my intense and delusional desire to be someone significant culturally like Ray or Herge, I have been managing to squeeze time to work on my craft and get better at it. If you are crazy and delusional like me as well, here is some advice, I want to share with you.

You really,really need to like your hobby/dreams

Even before we start talking about what we need to do in order to be successful at your side hustle, it goes without saying that your really really need to believe in it. From lack of time to moments you are feeling down, you will be tested at every moment to give up on your dreams.

A very good test of your resilience and your desire to pursue your dream would be how long you keep holding onto it. I have managed to hold onto it for 4 years without making any significant monetary gain from it, hoping to get to the next level. If you are atleast like me in love with my dream, maybe you have a shot.

Cut down on your entertainment

Our parents are correct, we do not need so much entertainment. One thing which comes from the love of your dream is that sacrificing other things for it. You do not have to sit playing hours of PUBG and scrolling through endless outfits of the day on Instagram (which will not really help you). Be disciplined, cut down on this time and maybe spend an hour or two getting better at your thing.

Real income is important, side-hustle cannot last on empty stomach

Unless you are the lucky few whose parents believe in you enough to open the hotel for dogs for you because they just love you enough, rest of us have to pay for stuff, you know, because we live in the real world. One thing which gets in the way of our side hustle is unfortunately common things like hunger, inability to pay rent or not being able to afford things to cover your bare body also called clothes.

So have a job which pays for all your basic necessities and lets you still have time and energy and the right mental state to work on your side thingy. You need to drop the romanticism associated with the struggling artist, be practical and find a way to make it work.

Time management and Self-discipline is the Key

There is no alternative for self discipline when it comes to pursuing your dreams. Just because all of your friends are sleeping till 11 on the Sunday does not mean you can do it any more. Remember, knock knock, you have a dream to pursue which will elevate you above 99% of the people you know. Hence, you need to stop behaving like 99% of them or you will be stuck like them forever.

Optimize your workflow

To sustain and not run out of steam, you need your work to be smart. Already you have limited energy after a whole day working mostly a thankless job and you are drained out of willpower. Now if every part of your creation takes too much time, you will never be able to pursue it for long.

There is a reason why I have stick figure on Bongsense. It is not because I am incapable of drawing something beyond that. It is because I have optimized my workflow to give me maximum returns for minimal work. The maximum effort goes in crafting the joke, the stick figures are just vehicles to express them effectively. I do not think with more elaborate cartoons, the jokes would do better.

Be willing to put in 10,000 hours of practice

We live in an heavily connected world. Gone are the times when you were the best singer in your neighbourhood and got extreme satisfaction from it. If you are doing something, someone on the Internet is probably doing it 1000X times better.

If you are playing piano, some child in Russia is probably playing it blindfolded hanging from a crane. Now to find success in our over-connected world, we need to be good and so good that we cannot be ignored (like the crane piano child). This means massive amount of practise.

So do not get demotivated after trying for a month or so. I started drawing crappy comics way back in 2007, thats like 13 years ago. I needed to be better at it and I also needed a niche for myself. So all these take time and close to 10,000 hours of deliberate practise.

So go ahead and conquer

So the fact that you want to do something apart from your regular stuff already puts you above the rest of the drones. What you need is now a vision and the grit to pursue it. If you need to talk about this be sure to drop me a message and we can see how you can do things better.