How to Use Creativity to Keep Your Side Hustle Growing
Creativity Is Directly Tied to Your Success. Here's How to Foster It.
We’ve all experienced those exciting moments where we first start a side hustle. There’s anticipation and hope for great things to come. Then we get bogged down in the mundane details and lose focus. If you want to keep your side hustle moving in the right direction, you need to prioritize creativity at every stage.
Why Does Creativity Matter?
Creativity isn’t a new word or concept by any stretch of the imagination, but it has been getting renewed focus over the past few years.
Both neuroscience and cognitive science research are taking long, hard looks at creativity and how it impacts intelligence, academic success, social behaviors, emotional stability, and the development of new skill sets.
In other words, the presence of creativity is being directly linked to a number of different success factors in both work and play.
From the perspective of an entrepreneur, or someone who enjoys launching side hustles and trying new things, creativity is irreplaceable. Specifically, it allows you to:
- Develop new ideas. Creativity is what allows you to come up with new ideas and ways of doing things. It’s what every entrepreneur relies on when launching an innovative product or service. Subsequently, creativity is what you need to identify or create a profitable side hustle.
- Think the unthinkable. The human brain’s natural tendency is to think within the constructs and boxes in which it’s placed. In other words, your natural inclination is to think in terms of what’s already been done and what’s possible under those terms. Creativity allows you to think the unthinkable and move beyond what’s already been done.
- Identify patterns. With creativity, you can look at a pattern in one area or industry and then find similar patterns in a totally different niche. The ability to transpose something into a totally unique environment is rooted in creative thinking.
- Find unique alternatives. Finally, it’s creativity that helps you solve problems and move in a new direction. When something seems like a dead end, the creative part of your brain begins formulating unique alternatives.
“Creativity is a function of knowledge, curiosity, imagination, and evaluation,” explains Daniel Burrus, a leader in the area of business innovation. “The greater your knowledge base and level of curiosity, the more ideas, patterns, and combinations you can achieve, which then correlates to creating new and innovative products and services.”
But as Burrus goes on to explain, simply having the right knowledge doesn’t guarantee that these new patterns will form. There are plenty of highly intelligent people who aren’t necessarily highly creative. “The bits and pieces must be shaken up and iterated in new ways,” he notes. “Then the embryonic ideas must be evaluated and developed into usable ideas.”
If you aren’t proactive about shaking up the bits and pieces and giving your creative thoughts time to mature, you can become stagnant. Creativity is something that you continually have to work at in order to thrive.
Interestingly, creativity can be cultivated in numerous ways. There is no recipe for success or textbook formula to follow. Your process of fostering creativity will be quite different from the next person’s. But no matter who you are and what your end goals are, one thing is clear: creativity is the key to keeping your side hustle going.
5 Ways to Stay Creative and Keep Your Side Hustle Growing
By their very nature, side hustles are creative. As Merriam-Webster explains, the term “side hustle” has been around since the 1950s and is often used to describe both scams and legitimate jobs. (For the record, we’re referencing the latter in this article.)
When you study the word “hustle,” it’s closely related to creativity. It comes from the Dutch word “husselen,” meaning “to shake.” The noun form of the word hustle can be defined as “an act of jostling.” From the language alone, you can clearly see that the term “side hustle” has roots in creativity. So in order to enjoy sustained success in your side hustle, you have to find ways to keep the creative juices flowing. And we’ve got a few good ideas for you:
1. Switch Up Your Environment
When you’ve been working in the same room or location for a long period of time, you begin to get comfortable.
But for all of the benefits that come with being comfortable in a space, there are some drawbacks to this sort of familiarity. Specifically, it hurts your ability to be creative. This is why one of the best things you can do is switch up your environment when you’re trying to infuse some creative thinking into your side hustle.
Depending on what your side hustle is and what resources you have in your area, a co-working space might help you find some new inspiration. Also called communal workspaces or shared offices, these spaces are typically designed in a way that brings entrepreneurs and innovators together to work independently in the same space. The mere act of brushing shoulders with other highly talented people usually has creative benefits.
Work best in privacy and without distractions? It’s still important that you get out of your bedroom and change up your environment from time to time. One increasingly common trend is to set up a workspace in a backyard garden shed. Seriously!
A shed is unique enough that you’ll maximize your creative thinking, but convenient enough that you don’t have to worry about wasting time. Just make sure you set it up the right way. Running electricity and internet cables are probably a necessity, just as insulation and air conditioning are in warmer climates. You should also think about security for your shed, especially if you’re storing inventory and equipment inside.
2. Work at Different Times of the Day
You probably assume you’re either a morning person or a night owl, but this isn’t necessarily true. A lot of it depends on how you structure your schedule. It’s actually fairly easy to go from being an early bird to a late-nighter (and vice versa) by just rearranging your sleep schedule to ensure you’re getting the recommended six to eight hours per night.
If you’re struggling to maintain creativity in your side hustle, this may be a good time to switch up your schedule and work at different times of the day. So, instead of working on your side hustle after you get home from your day job, maybe you need to wake up really early and give it some attention before leaving for your job? This might sound crazy, but there’s even research to suggest that the human brain is more creative when tired.
3. Take Frequent Breaks
When you’re trying to juggle a full-time job, a side hustle, sleep, family time, and a little bit of a social life, there isn’t much time to waste. As such, a lot of people avoid taking breaks and just plow straight through all of the work they have on their plate. However, this is the wrong approach.
Research has shown over and over again that breaks don’t inhibit productivity – they actually increase it. Furthermore, strategic breaks have been shown to boost creativity at the same time. The key is to plan your breaks and completely step away from whatever you’re doing. Taking a break, but still thinking about whatever you were working on is pointless. Your mind needs a total reboot and “half breaks” aren’t effective in terms of enhancing creativity.
4. Grab a Beer With Friends
Co-working spaces, and the value of spending time around other people, was already discussed in a previous section, but there may be one thing that’s even more effective in enhancing creativity: partaking in the nearest happy hour with friends.
As entrepreneur Boland Jones notes, a single beer can actually relax your brain just enough to help you put negatives in the rear view mirror and look at positives in a new light. Plus, when you’re surrounded by other people, you’re certain to get new perspectives and viewpoints.
5. Work Backwards
Society tells us that creativity moves in one direction – beginning to end, or front to back. But the mere fact that you try to put constraints on the creative process is ironic.
“Most people think innovation starts with a well-defined problem, and then you brainstorm a solution,” entrepreneur Drew Boyd points out. “Try the opposite: Work backwards by taking an abstract, conceptual solution and finding a problem it can solve. By constraining and channeling our brains, we can make them work both harder and smarter to find creative solutions—on demand.”
You’ll be surprised by how a simple shift in how you look at something can foster new and exciting creative thoughts.
Never Settle for Boring
There’s no room for monotony in a side hustle. In order to be successful and accomplish your goals – which is likely to generate some additional monthly cash flow – you have to prioritize creativity.
As we’ve noted, and you’ve certainly discovered firsthand, you can’t synthesize creativity into a formula. You have to use what works for you, while respecting the fact that other people have their own preferred methods.
“Despite all the flexibility to undertake new ventures, creativity does require a bit of structure for successful execution,” Cleverism explains. “However, too much structure robs the whole essence of the process. The key lies in having a rigorous approach toward work without being too stiff.”
If you’re in need of some inspiration, or are having trouble keeping your side hustle moving forward, the tips and methods outlined in this article may help. But at the end of the day, you have to discover what creativity means for you.