The Triad of Hustling

5 months ago I was on the verge of burning out again.

I got sucked right back into all my projects and had my head down grinding away as we do, when one day I look up and my son was there asking if I’d like to go on a “hike” with him. (And by “hike” he meant a “walk” down by the “river” which was really a “creek” :))

I told him sure thing and planned to be back within the hour.

Four hours later we came home and it was like the heavens shining down with harps and all!

For the first time all year I not only completely forgot about my work altogether, but I got to see the world through the eyes of a 5 year old for four hours straight and WOW was that a beautiful thing! No talking about goals or emails or the internet, or really anything “adult” related whatsoever. It was literally just him and me in the serenity of nature discussing every little curiosity a boy of that age wonders about.


And we’d probably still be on that walk too if his poor little legs didn’t fail him midway through, haha… He told me he didn’t want to stop “until we reached another country!” :)

But those few hours were enough for me to assess what the hell I was doing again with my time, and even more so prompted me to make real changes so I didn’t get sucked right back into it all again. I wanted to not only become a more efficient and productive worker again, but also a better person and overall daddy/husband too.

When I got home I made a list of all the projects I was working on, and quickly realized that the answers I was looking for came down to three simple variables:

  1. The amount of time each project was taking up
  2. The amount of money each project was making (or more aptly, not making)
  3. The amount of FUN I was actually having if I were being completely honest with myself

I began calling this the Triad of Hustling anytime I shared this new epiphany with friends, and the takeaway was that if you can score well in any two of the three departments it was a project worth continuing with.

  • No time and lots of money? Winner! Who cares if it’s not that fun.
  • No money but you’re loving it? Great! I don’t mind spending time on stuff that makes me happy.
  • No fun, no money, AND gobs of hours of my time?? SHUT THAT $HIT DOWN!

As embarrassing as this probably comes across, it was amazing how *clear* these answers came to me just by asking these three fairly basic questions. Obviously if you’re not making any money on something and it’s sucking up all your time AND you hate it you shouldn’t be working on it! But again, sometimes you’re so deep down in the weeds hustling your ass off that you forget to look up every once and a while and reassess.

Not something you have the luxury of doing if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, of course (in that case you grind it out and do what you have to do!), but if you’re relatively fine and in a position to call the shots, these are excellent questions to be asking yourself.

Even so, not all projects are so cut and dry. Sometimes you end up with hustles that come with just as many cons as they do pros, and you need help cutting to the core. Especially for those who tend to lean more with their heart than they do their wallet (*ahem*).

For this, I recommend channeling your inner Derek Sivers :)

When deciding whether to do something, if you feel anything less than “Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!” – then say “no.”

When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say “HELL YEAH!”

We’re all busy. We’ve all taken on too much. Saying yes to less is the way out.

BOOM! The great equalizer! Which is also great because it gets down to your more truer *purpose* too vs the more factual sides of things (money, time, etc).

If I had run this Triad of questions on Budgets Are Sexy back in the day, it would have scored a paltry 1 out of 3 points, haha… It took up hours of my time, made exactly $0.00 a month, but the one thing it did have going for it was that it was a TON of fun. And to this day, almost 10 years later now, I can unequivocally state that it’s still very much a HELL YEAH vs a plain ol’ “yes.” (YAY!)

So whenever the Triad fails you, pull out this bazooka to finish it off ;)

Okay, to refresh – here are the 3 questions to ask yourself whenever you’re reassessing your projects:

  1. How much time are these projects sucking away from me?
  2. How much money are these projects making me?
  3. How much FUN am I really having doing them??

Three out of three, and you’ve found a DREAM hustle. Two out of three and it’s still pretty solid as not all projects can be dreams. One out of three and it’s probably time to reconsider or try switching things up. And then zero out of three it’s finally time to SHUT THAT $HIT DOWN!

And let me tell you, I’ve been shutting down a lot of $hits lately and it feels damn good :) My family says I’m now much more attentive apparently, I’m not nearly as grumpy anymore (nearly?), and the most important result of all: I feel like I’m living again.

And here’s the crazy part – my business hasn’t declined at all! If anything, it’s only gotten better because I’m much more focused and can appreciate the remaining projects I’ve actively chosen to keep.

Oh, and remember how I announced last month that I’ve now stopped working on nights and weekends? Well, it’s another result of this! We’re now going into month #4 of not opening up my laptop even *once* on the weekend, and I owe it all to my smart and adventurous 5 y/o.

It’s a new dawn, my friends, and I hope you’ll join me in challenging your current projects too! The Triad separates the winners from the losers, and if all else fails just ask yourself whether it’s a HELL YEAH or needs to be converted down to a sad little “yes” (i.e. NO).

They say you can never buy up any more time, but this has got to be pretty close.

water play
UPDATE: This Triad only applies to those projects already humming and out of the honeymoon stage –  when you’re trying to decide which are worth keeping and which aren’t now that you’re “in it.” There are no rules the first few months of new projects – it’s just pure chaos and excitement at that point! ;)

Don’t have any hustles to cut? Check out our list of 70+ to consider!

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  1. Lily @ The Frugal Gene December 4, 2017 at 6:02 AM

    I was reflecting on my November budget and I realized the two side hustles I’ve got going are fun (and I get money for it. Not much but it’s for the fun.)

    It’s really eye opening because I never had two enjoyable side hustles going at once. From here on out its just to figure out a way to grow both – and maximize my time as guided. Easy!

    Ps. Your son’s very cute!!! Looks like he build a little island with a tree in the center haha. Kids.

    1. J. Money December 4, 2017 at 7:15 AM

      Haha yeah – their imaginations are pretty incredible! And glad to hear both your hustles are FUN!! I feel like that’s the “turbocharge” ingredient of the three. None of the projects I’ve ever started would have made it that far w/out the fun part. (It’s only when it *stops* becoming fun when it becomes a problem, haha…)

  2. [HCF] December 4, 2017 at 6:06 AM

    Brace yourselves reflection time is coming. (insert Ned Stark meme here :D)

    Don’t know if a coincidence but many posts came up lately about the evaluation of our projects, I guess this is because of the end of the year. I really needed this post, dough, because it tells everything about the struggle I am facing these days. Also, I am sure your questions will help me find the right answer :) Epiphany post will be coming soon!

    Thank you J$!

    1. J. Money December 4, 2017 at 7:18 AM

      Great!! End of year marinating is always good for the soul :)

  3. Chris @ Duke of Dollars December 4, 2017 at 6:16 AM

    So true!!

    For this year on our blog we’ve had a blast and continue too! We haven’t even monetized, but wanted to see if we could write for a full year before getting to gung ho on the money.

    I love looking at the analytics and see that people are actually taking time to read and learn from our lessons / mistakes / knowledge base.

    1. J. Money December 4, 2017 at 7:21 AM

      Oh how I wish ALL new bloggers did that! So many are disillusioned and trying to start blogs for a quick buck which just litters our community :( Your heart’s gotta be in it first when it comes to blogging!

  4. Mustard Seed Money December 4, 2017 at 6:48 AM

    I’m right there with you. After having the 2nd child I’m really evaluating things and trying to determine how to maximize my happiness even if it means losing some money along the way. Although it hasn’t affected me short term yet, hopefully it stays that way long term :)

    1. J. Money December 4, 2017 at 7:22 AM

      Or until #3 comes, haha…

    2. Josh December 4, 2017 at 7:38 AM

      Having baby #2 in April was a larger eye-opener for us than we expected. My wife & I have scaled back our side hustles for the time being.

      They’re only young once and we’re trying to make the most of it. Thankfully, we’re in a better spot now (financially) than we were a year or two ago so we’re not as dependent on our various gigs to make ends meet.

      1. J. Money December 4, 2017 at 9:22 AM

        Yes – #2 was harder than #1 in some ways! People never tell you that and you get tricked ;)

  5. Jason@WinningPersonalFinance December 4, 2017 at 6:52 AM

    This FI thing I’m chasing is all about time. How do I want to use it to max out my happiness. I may do stuff that’s eh for money today so I can do use my time only for “awesome” later on. This Triad analogy is great. Good for you shutting down the stuff that does not pass the test. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

    1. J. Money December 4, 2017 at 7:25 AM

      Thanks man :) Yeah, it’s all a process for sure vs overnight decisions. Hopefully posts like these get people to stop and start evaluating *sooner* than later though as most of us (or at least I do!) tend to wait until things are bleak to start making changes… But if you were to ask yourself the Triad questions, or any others for that matter, routinely like every quarter? Mannnnnn… would save so much time and stress over the years!

  6. Laurie@ThreeYear December 4, 2017 at 7:02 AM

    Man, oh man, I love this post. I agree with you 100%. I can get so caught up in “being productive” (to no end!) that I miss out on the awesome hikes of life. I’ve heard that “focus is the new IQ” and these three questions are a great way to get yourself to focus. I’m going to challenge myself to take my kids on a hike this week (despite the fact that it’s 20 degrees right now!).

    1. J. Money December 4, 2017 at 7:25 AM

      YAYYYYY!!!! I hope you do in fact do that! Focus is most def. the new IQ! Haha…

  7. Dave December 4, 2017 at 7:18 AM

    Good for you. The work will always be there. There will never be a shortage of projects to dive into. It is great that you decided to stop working on nights and weekends. Kids grow up quickly. The time that you get to spend with them is priceless. Enjoy every moment with them.

  8. Mrs. Kiwi @ December 4, 2017 at 7:23 AM

    Such a great challenge, it’s easy to get wrapped up in hustling! We are about to experience a big drop in our monthly income, so we’ve been busy debating different hustles. Then we remember that we’ll still be able to make ends meet, so if it isn’t fun and rewarding it isn’t worth it!

    So good that your son got you focused on your priorities again!

    1. J. Money December 4, 2017 at 7:26 AM

      Haha yup…. if you’re going to be hustling your life and energy away, it might as well be fun! :)

  9. Accidental Fire December 4, 2017 at 7:43 AM

    Great post, I highly recommend a book called “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less”. I’m not affiliated in any way, but I read it recently and he spends lots of time discussing why you should say “no’ more often.

    I think we all fall victim of the “voice of productivity” in our heads that keeps pushing for us to do more. But sometimes less is better.

    1. J. Money December 4, 2017 at 9:26 AM

      YES!! I’ve been an “essentialist” since Feb of this year – one of my all-time favorite books :)

      that’s the only thing i actually left out of this post: finding what you’re truly GREAT at and only you can do, and then focusing as much of your energy towards doing that as possible. The projects that I didn’t end up cutting these past 5 months were refocused to exactly this (parts I’m best at!) and I noticed an improvement immediately – both in my work and my mind. Highly recommend the book.

  10. Leo T. Ly December 4, 2017 at 7:43 AM

    Right now, passion and fun trumps the other two. My blog side hustle is not really a side hustle as I am just doing it for fun and am spending more time than I should. It’s my personal challenge to see if I can succeed as a entrepreneur. I want to do something out of my comfort zone.

    So far, I have made it for a year now. Hopefully, I don’t get burnt out.

    1. J. Money December 4, 2017 at 9:27 AM

      Good job! The hardest is crossing year 1, and then if you can make it to year 2 you’ll be just fine :) I haven’t seen any stats on this out there, but from my past 10 years in the biz I reckon most new blogs last around 6 months, and then 90% die out by 2 years. Anyone who lasts past 2 are typically pretty successful.

  11. Mike @ Balanced Dividends December 4, 2017 at 7:51 AM

    Great post – thanks for the framework, J. It’s very helpful.

    I recently spent a week babysitting my 3 year-old nephew and 6 year-old niece, and I was amazed how I could view things differently after spending time with them. Keeping things simple at times can really make a difference and help you identify or clarify priorities.

    Overall, as you mentioned, we all continue to find our balance.

  12. Ms. Frugal Asian Finance December 4, 2017 at 7:56 AM

    Aww your son is so adorable! I got burned out in my seventh and eighth months of blogging.

    Blogging takes up a lot of my time. I made no money off of my blog, but it was so much fun in the beginning until I got tired of writing a the time.

    I feel better now, but it’s a nice triad to consider!

    1. J. Money December 4, 2017 at 9:28 AM

      well I’m glad you’re still around and always enjoy seeing your little icon here pop up :) thanks for always contributing to the discussions!

  13. CashflowKat December 4, 2017 at 8:12 AM

    You didn’t include a category for parenting: Tons of hours, NEGATIVE $$$…but loving it!
    And I can’t think of a better “project” than being a caring and involved parent. :)

    1. J. Money December 4, 2017 at 9:29 AM

      Haha… Truth of the day right there ;)

  14. lucas December 4, 2017 at 8:31 AM

    Probably your best post yet! concise yet to the point and a very good reminder to me as well (even though i teach this stuff to businesses ;-) ).

    1. J. Money December 4, 2017 at 9:29 AM

      Thanks Lucas!! I really appreciate that!

  15. The Savvy Couple December 4, 2017 at 8:56 AM

    This article is amazing. Your son is so cute.

    It’s amazing how life can change when you take a different perspective on things.

    Congrats on not opening your laptop not even once on the weekends. That’s a HUGE win.

  16. Steve @ Think Save Retire December 4, 2017 at 8:57 AM

    Niiiiiiiiice! Priorities, my friend. There’s nothing wrong with dropping those things you no longer feel passionate about and picking up (or ramping up) other areas that inspire. Amen. Amen to it all! :)

  17. Lisa O December 4, 2017 at 9:06 AM

    Truth! Your a smart man J$! In a blink of an eye those kids will grow up and then you find all the time in the world for yourself & projects.

    1. J. Money December 4, 2017 at 9:30 AM

      Thanks Lisa :) I’m doing my best as we go along here.

  18. Joe December 4, 2017 at 9:12 AM

    Great job reassessing your workload. When you’re young with plenty of time, it’s okay to have many hustles. It’s different when you are a dad. The triad of hustle is a great guideline for people with limited time.

    1. J. Money December 4, 2017 at 9:31 AM

      OH hell yeah. I thank GOD I hustled my a$$ off all those years before kids! No way I could do it all now unless I wanted to be an absent father… And as someone mentioned above, at some point all our kids will leave us and then we can go back to it all again if we wanted (which we prob won’t haha….).

  19. Chris @ Keep Thrifty December 4, 2017 at 9:19 AM

    I love it J$!

    We’ve been struggling with the back and forth pull of projects during our mini-retirement. We’re trying to strike balance between making this awesome family time and making progress on our app and blog. We’ve started looking at things through a similar lens. Unfortunately just about every project right now is only scoring a 1 of 3. Nothing’s making any money but we do have a few that we’re having a ton of fun with (even though they take a bunch of time).

    Hell Yeah rule to the rescue!

    1. J. Money December 4, 2017 at 9:33 AM

      I do love that app of yours, not gonna lie :) Might be a good time to pick up the Essentialism book too to help!

    2. Jerry December 11, 2017 at 10:36 AM

      I’ll have to go take a look at this app. Where can I find it?

  20. GYM December 4, 2017 at 9:27 AM

    This was perfect and timely to read for me :) thanks for sharing the advice on this Triad. Having children can take time away from our own pursuits but children are worth it! Is that a picture from the “hike”? (So cute by the way!)
    I have very limited time to blog now that I have a baby so this is helpful. Its hard to find balance. Like Leo said this is a fun challenge for me but it does take up an exhorbitant amount of time.

    1. J. Money December 4, 2017 at 9:35 AM

      Babies change everything, don’t they? :) Don’t worry though – you’ll soon be out of the sleep madness phase and when things get back to “normal” again your energy will be there as well! And you magically figure out ways to be more efficient too due to all the limited time :) Hopefully the blog ends up making the cut!

  21. Tonya@Budget and the Beach December 4, 2017 at 9:28 AM

    I’ve asked myself the same questions before about side hustles. For my own blog it’s been more of a “yeah”vs a “hell yeah!” so I haven’t been posting as much. I hate to say it but working full time, I covet my time on the weekends and although I still do enjoy my blog, I NEEDED more outdoors time and just general fun and leisure. I realized how LONG I would spend getting just one post together and it was MORE time in front of a computer, and LESS time moving my body and enjoying sunshine. So I cut back. Sometimes your body and mind just tells you what to do (or in this case, your son). :)

    1. J. Money December 4, 2017 at 9:36 AM

      Damn straight on that. No one will wish on their deathbed that they spent more time in front of their computer haha… You’re one of the most active women I know!

  22. FIRECracker December 4, 2017 at 9:29 AM

    Love this! Though one caveat to it us that most projects don’t become fun until you get good at it. There’s the initial burst of excitement but then you run into obstacles, then it takes gobs of time, isn’t making money (yet) and starts to become less fun. At this stage, the people who push through will get to the other side and get to the fun and money making portion but the people who give up (because it isn’t fun, takes time, and hasn’t made money) will fail. So I would say these 3 criteria are great but add one more: is it valuable in helping others? If you say yes, then you will push through the hard parts even if it isn’t fun any more.

    Great post, J!

    1. J. Money December 4, 2017 at 9:39 AM

      Yup yup – the “purpose” part plays a big part there too at times. I’m actually the opposite on the “more fun when you’re better at it” mode (it’s always more fun when I *don’t* know what the hell i’m doing than when I figure it out – there’s always much more hard work involved once you “know”! Haha…) but yeah – all about grit and hustle when you eventually do land on the “one thing” you were meant to be doing.

  23. Financial Samurai December 4, 2017 at 9:57 AM

    Great imagery J. What’s better than joy right?

    One point of clarification though: do you check your mobile phone at night and during the weekends? That is something I would have a very difficult time not doing.

    1. J. Money December 4, 2017 at 10:46 AM

      I do, but not my *work* accounts.

      Nights + weekends are now for personal time only :)

  24. Dave @ Married with Money December 4, 2017 at 10:30 AM

    Simple questions for sure, but not necessarily easy to answer.

    So thinking about the blog for me. Fun? Yeah. Time? sucks it all up. Money? Hahahaha what’s that?

    BUT I think it’s worth sticking with it because of the fun aspect, and maybe one day money. Maybe not. If nothing else at least it isn’t costing me much. There are much more expensive hobbies for sure. :)

    1. J. Money December 4, 2017 at 10:50 AM

      No doubt about that, haha… And there’s nothing wrong with your blog being a “hobby” either!

  25. Bill December 4, 2017 at 10:44 AM

    You and your son’s hike hit home with me, J. My daughter’s mentioned a number of times in the last couple years that she’d love to go on a real hike – like up a mountain, climbing on rocks type of hike. I even bought her the book, “50 Best Hikes in the US” but I still haven’t made it happen. And she’s a junior in HS. Your son is young but believe me, blink an eye and he’ll be in HS too. Taking them to hundreds of soccer matches don’t count, that’s not time spent exclusively with them, and you’re not experiencing anything new together. There’s always another post to write, another person to call or another project to look into. I think I better grab her book and pick a date before I really regret it.

    1. J. Money December 4, 2017 at 10:50 AM

      DO ITTT!!!!! :)

    2. Jim Wang December 4, 2017 at 11:48 AM

      This is a great reminder… thank you!

  26. Nick December 4, 2017 at 10:51 AM

    That triad is the most succinct series of questions to get at the heart of a good hustle I’ve ever seen. Well done!

    I love Sivers’ “Hell Yes or No” philosophy, but sometimes it’s just not so simple. Day to day work can definitely be more of a “Yes” than a “Hell Yes!”

    Also, “The Triad of Hustling” has to be one of the coolest names for a thought exercise :)

    1. J. Money December 6, 2017 at 10:01 AM

      Haha thanks man – I thought I was pretty clever coming up with that name :)

  27. Jim Wang December 4, 2017 at 11:47 AM

    Not lost in all this is the value of taking a step back from being in your business to think about your business. I like doing this once a week, just to keep sane. Nature has that effect. :)

    1. J. Money December 6, 2017 at 10:03 AM

      YES – without the hike none of this would have even bubbled up (at least at that point).

      I always admire people who carve out time every day/week to look at the overall picture like that. It’s never come natural to me and one of the key ingredients to “Essentialism” too!

  28. Mr. Tako December 4, 2017 at 11:51 AM

    You have a lot of fingers in different pies J$. Glad to see your spending lots of time with your 5 year old. He’s only 5 once you know!

    The triad of hustling is pretty good. The only trip-up I see is when a hustle is in the development phase it’s not going to make much money. I suppose that’s when it’s new and the most fun, right?

    1. J. Money December 6, 2017 at 10:07 AM

      Oh yeah – this Triad is only for those projects already humming and out of the honeymoon stage, when you’re trying to decide which are worth keeping and which aren’t now that you’re “in it.”

      There are no rules the first handful of months for projects – it’s just pure chaos and excitement! ;)

  29. Mr. FWP December 4, 2017 at 12:10 PM

    Those are basically the same questions I use. The one thing I have to be careful about, though, is that the world is full of fun things (to me), so I can get sucked into fun things that individually don’t take much time, but collectively can. Or into fun things that start off small but grow. (Things have a habit of doing that.) So, I have to seriously limit my non-cash-producing fun projects for that reason, but I agree with your basic questions.

  30. FullTimeFinance December 4, 2017 at 12:11 PM

    I’d add only one more thing, expectations of the future. Will these three change realistically over time? Things change after all. One could point out your blog now does three out of three.

    1. J. Money December 6, 2017 at 10:16 AM

      Yup yup… future potential can be important too, all depending on the projects and what you’re trying to get out of it. I was just having fun with this blog at first and would have been fine if it had stopped at any point cuz I was just going with the flow and was such a small part of my life back then, but nowadays it’s certainly changed up :) Just like other projects over the years have changed with importance/future lifestyle desires as well. I think Jim set it best up above – very smart to check in with yourself on a consistent basis to make sure everything continues to make sense! Something I struggle with a lot, which is why these epiphanies hit me so hard each time haha…

  31. The 76K Project December 4, 2017 at 1:36 PM

    This is actually really helpful for me right now. I have waaayyyyy too much going on and am realizing that I need to make some cuts. From this perspective, it’s pretty clear what steps I need to take next.

    1. J. Money December 6, 2017 at 10:16 AM

      Good! I hope you now take action on them while it’s fresh on your mind! :)

      We’re really good at convincing ourselves why we need to keep things over time…

  32. caren December 4, 2017 at 2:39 PM

    I needed this post SO BADLY!! I’ve been grappling with a decision that I simply could not find a great answer for until this post. Thanks SO much for making this decision easy peasy lemon squeezy.

    Thank you!!!!!

    1. J. Money December 6, 2017 at 10:19 AM

      Rock on!!!! That makes me so happy!!! :)

  33. Done by Forty December 4, 2017 at 3:22 PM

    Very cool filter for looking at the activities that might be secretly sapping away time and money.

    Television and video games might be the culprits in my life. I like both activities but they’re not really adding a whole lot to my happiness.

  34. ZJ Thorne December 4, 2017 at 7:59 PM

    This is why I love dog-sitting. I get easy money while playing with animals I love. I get an extra bonus of a mini “vacations” away from my roommates and often into nicer homes than I have access to. When it gets to be a drain, dragging my stuff around, I can just take fewer clients or a few weeks off.

  35. Kanwal @ Simply Investing December 4, 2017 at 9:55 PM

    The time you spent with your 5 year old is priceless. I remember when my kids were 5, before you know it your son will 15. I don’t believe any side hustle is worth taking time from your family. The key for me has been to maintain a balance between work & family.

    I love the Triad of Hustling concept! I answered your 3 questions, and my answer for all three is a resounding Hell Yeah! It wasn’t always a 3 out of 3, it took years of tweaking, but I’m finally happy to have reached this point.

    1. J. Money December 6, 2017 at 10:19 AM

      So glad to hear it :)

  36. Miguel (The Rich Miser) December 4, 2017 at 11:52 PM

    Hey J. Money! Great way to analyze which projects are worth it and which are not. One thing that really struck me, though, was what you said about the early days of Budgets Are Sexy, and how it took up a lot of your time and made no money, but was a lot of fun and a “HELL YEAH”.

    To me, that can be the difference between a job (or even a profession) and a calling. In my mind, when you find a calling, your innermost being just feels compelled to pursue it. It overwhelms the decision framework, even if it just satisfies one of the criteria (fun), since the drive to go after it is so powerful.

    So just like you said, I think time spent on something that makes you happy is time well spent, even if the money is not there (yet)!

    1. J. Money December 6, 2017 at 10:21 AM

      Good analyzation there :) I of course agree!

  37. B.C Kowalski December 5, 2017 at 10:56 AM

    I think I went through something similar to this, in a sense anyway. While photography is part of my job, it’s also something I enjoy doing. I had an idea for a side business based on photography, and I gathered a few folks to be my brand ambassadors (from which I learned a lot about spelling out expectations of such a role). I started trying really hard to grow it as a business, and I got a lot of “Hey, I have a project for you” and they would fall through. Once I was halfway through a product shoot for a business owner and they disappeared (I ignored their email when they reached out six months later to finish after six months of silence.)

    I realized I was so focused on turning my photography into a business that I was starting to hate it. I didn’t even want to look at my camera. So I said, you know what, I’m going to just shoot for my main job, and for projects that are fun, and not worry about the money. I post all my work on social media, and especially in the last couple of years the compliments have really started rolling in (which is why I had the idea to start a business in the first place).

    Ironically, backing off of thinking about photography as a business actually started bringing me business! People started contacting me for shoots, and since I wasn’t caring so much about the money, I just named a price that was worth my time but also fair. My camera has turned into a pretty decent side hustle after all, because I stopped worrying about the money and focused on enjoying what frankly should be an enjoyable interest.

    1. J. Money December 6, 2017 at 10:22 AM

      BOOM!! Such a beautiful thing, isn’t it? Good for you for not only trying it out to begin with, but then realizing you needed to change it up to get back on track again. That’s really REALLY hard to do. I enjoyed reading this :)

  38. Chris @ Mindful Explorer December 5, 2017 at 12:41 PM

    Good on you J
    Now you’ll be a hiking machine if you ever make it up this way and I can take you to the top of a mountain :)
    Keep crushing that Triad

    1. J. Money December 6, 2017 at 10:25 AM

      Haha… I hope you have lots if snacks waiting every mile into it for me! I need treats dangling in front of me to get motivated enough for any “real” hikes :)

  39. Paul December 5, 2017 at 1:34 PM

    I’ve been through burn out periods and periods of extreme boredom too. They are very similar, at least in that they affect me physiologically the same. I think the most important thing is getting to the point I can just stop, pivot and do something else. Especially since I have not figured out how to make equivalent money doing anything else…. Just have to deal with it till I reach my Number goals.

  40. Dividend Diplomats December 5, 2017 at 10:53 PM

    J –

    Wonder how I can apply this at the workplace, since I’m still working for the damn “man”. The things that aren’t making the co. money, take time and that I dread – shoveling that crap right on down hill!

    In all honesty – I love this triad and will try to use it at work and at home side hustling. I dig it.


    1. J. Money December 6, 2017 at 10:28 AM

      That’s a great question applying it to a 9-5 like that :) I feel like most of it still applies, it’s just a matter of either convincing your boss of the reasons why something needs to be shut down or changed, or getting them to allow you to switch tasks or hand it over to someone else. So it’s probably MORE about coming up with something you think can really help the company (either save money or make money), and using that as ammunition to help you get out of the duds sucking up you time/energy. All companies want at the end of the day is more money, so anything you can do to help that I’m sure would at least be listened to for a hot minute!

  41. OMGG December 5, 2017 at 11:39 PM

    So many people make blogging seem like a quick and easy side hustle, but it is anything but. You have to love creating content that only your family and friends occasionally see, because that’s what it is for months. Growing a following takes time and a lot of effort. These blogging courses try to make the steps for building traffic seem simple, but writing skyscraper posts and being a Pinterest fanatic take time, time, and more time.
    You’re right that if you only have 1 out of 3 of the trifecta hopefully it’s the FUN element. Enjoying the hustle makes it worth it when the money is low and the time is high.

    1. J. Money December 6, 2017 at 10:32 AM

      Haha yup. And the worst is that all that crap out there about “how easy it is to make money blogging” is only polluting the community. Because now you have literally hundreds of people starting them just to make money and the content/heart is all turned around… You can tell fast which blogs are in it for the money and which truly care. And I have nothing against making money on the internet obviously (it’s how I make my living!) but there are good ways and bad ways of doing it. At least in my opinion.

  42. Mr Groovy December 11, 2017 at 7:19 AM

    “No money, no fun. Shut that sh%t down.”

    I have a new quote to hang on my refrigerator.

    1. J. Money December 12, 2017 at 11:35 AM

      *Takes a bow*

  43. Jerry December 11, 2017 at 10:34 AM

    Awesome post, J! It makes me want to stop hustling for a minute and spend a few hours with my godson.

    1. J. Money December 12, 2017 at 11:36 AM

      I don’t think you can ever regret that :)

  44. Adam @ minafi December 11, 2017 at 10:48 AM

    Awesome realization – and a good reminder for me too. Figuring out what to cut out of life is a lot harder for me than trying to figure out what to add to it. That’s likely true for most people who love trying new things and shooting for the starts. The whole “kill your darlings” motto can be applied a lot more often. Now I’m going to be looking for things I can stop doing the rest of the day!

    1. J. Money December 12, 2017 at 11:37 AM

      GOOD! And hopefully it gets *easier* over time for us to as we got older and wiser, right? :) Check out the book Essentialism if you haven’t already – best book I’ve read on this hustling stuff.

  45. Primal Prosperity December 18, 2017 at 9:13 AM

    The story with your son is so cute. I also love reading Derek Sivers. Your time spent with your son reminds me of this blog post from him:

    1. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 3:14 PM

      yup – I remember that post! always making us think over there!