I've had a big idea percolating for awhile. It's come from conversations I've had with people, trainings I've been doing, and a lot of the issues I've been writing about, including the idea of resilience and the need for us to diversify our income streams.
It's the idea of the Soulful Side Gig.
The Side Gig part of this is easy--it's work you do on the side. It's not your main source of income--at least not yet. You may put in tons of hours to do the work, but it's not bringing in the income that would allow you to feel comfortable throwing away your full-time job. Maybe it never will.
The Soulful part is where it gets juicier. This is where I see something incredible and meaningful going on. And it's the Soulful part that I believe really needs to be fed.
I talk to all kinds of people with full time jobs who are competent and good at what they do, but burnt out and gray when they discuss it. They've lost their zest, their joy for the work. They feel in their BONES that they're meant to do something more.
Many of them have a hobby that they'd like to turn into a money-making venture. It's a passion they pursue in their spare time that plays to their natural gifts. It's often artistic in nature or reflects deep desires for community, celebration, healing and making a better, more positive world.
Others have a fantastic idea for some good they'd like to do in their community, maybe through a nonprofit or a social enterprise. They see problems or issues and they know that they have talents that could make a difference.
Still others aren't quite clear about what they want to do, but they ARE clear that they need something else, something that's a deeper, fuller expression of who they are that isn't being fed by anything else in their lives.
What these folks have in common is a desire to express a unique gift in the world and to have this work be in alignment with their sense of purpose, their values and a truer, more authentic sense of self. They are working with their dharma--that intersection between their unique talents and what the world needs from them right now. They've found (or are seeking) their sacred dance.
The Soulful Side Gig then is deeply personal, deeply PURPOSEFUL work you do on the side. It is work that is an expression of your most Essential Self, your best self.
It comes from a recognition that you NEED to express a unique talent in the world and that to do so, you need to create your own opportunities for making that happen.
Money isn't the primary motivator for someone looking to start a Soulful Side Gig. They are really on a spiritual journey to more fully express their greatest gifts. There's a sense of destiny, a call to what Joseph Campbell called The Hero's Journey. Eventually this may turn into full-time work and an abundance of income and if it does, that's fantastic. Or it may always remain a "side gig," bringing in a small amount of income but allowing you to breathe and live a fuller, more passionate life.
As I talk with people about the Soulful Side Gig concept, a few things keep coming up.
First (and most importantly) is how deeply the idea of a Soulful Side Gig resonates with people. When I bring it up, most get what I mean immediately and launch quickly into the side business or project they REALLY want to do. Their eyes light up and they become animated and excited. They laugh and lean in and want to keep sharing with you their amazing idea. When someone is talking about the Soulful aspect of their Side Gig, you can feel the energy around them and it's energy we need more of in this world.
But what I'm also finding is that planning for and implementing a Soulful Side Gig requires different tools, structures and supports than the usual small business development work going on. We are not BUILDING something here, as much as nurturing and growing a garden. We are creating space for things to emerge.
The ground must be prepared. Seeds must be planted and tended and nurtured. The garden must be weeded and pests kept out. And all of this must happen in accordance with the seasons.
I think this lack of support is why I talk to so many people who haven't taken the first steps into making their Soulful Side Gig a reality. Much of the small business support and advice that's out there can feel overwhelming because it's largely geared toward people wanting to start a full-time business.
It's also more heavily weighted toward the business side, with much less attention paid to the Soulful side and to the seasons and rhythms of working from a soulful place. The soul doesn't recognize the clock or the calendar and it needs space and room to breath. It needs to be coaxed out and given different ways to express itself that can then be turned into a business or marketing plan.
I'm still exploring, uncovering and unraveling the ideas behind the Soulful Side Gig. I think there's a strong need to support people in their journey to find and express the Soulful aspect and then to make that Side Gig a reality. In particular, I see a need to use more creative tools and processes that not only delve into the business side of things, but that also help people develop and express those more soulful aspects they can feel happening.
I'm also seeing a need for community--for connecting with other people who are also doing this work. Starting a side business can be lonely and grueling. Doing it in community can make the load lighter and more joyful and provide us with the resources we need to make our Soulful Side Gig a reality.
I'll be writing more about this in the future as the ideas evolve.
In the meantime. . .
What are your thoughts? Are you wanting to create a Soulful Side Gig? What does that mean to YOU and what supports do you need to make it happen?