March is my busiest time of the year every year, but this year is really going to take the cake. I’ll be side hustling like crazy throughout the month! March is the month of the South by Southwest music and film festival. My catering company works over time for three weeks. It’s a chance to earn a lot of money working cool events. SXSW also makes the city lose it’s mind. Traffic is 100% worse, the population of the city booms and prices on everything soar.
It’s also the month of a huge fundraiser for my nonprofit, which I am handling basically solo. I look at my Google Calendar and my obligations are just piling up. Multiple days of spending half the day catering, half the day nonprofiting (official word), running all over town for events. It’s intimidating, and a large part of me wants to wrap myself in my blanket and stay in bed all month long.
In addition to work, I have two friends coming into town on separate weekends (one who arrived at 12:00 am last night!), I’m taking a personal vacation, and we’ve rented out our home for a week of the festival. I’ll literally be homeless for part of this month.
With all the craziness ramping up, it’s time for a plan! I need to make sure that I am handling all my business. God knows I love a plan. I’m an organization nerd. I’m trying to make as much money as possible this month while also making room to enjoy the present.
I expect that make almost double my monthly income in March. I’ll be catering at least eight events, renting my house for a nice fee, and I’ll be doing almost zero fun stuff. There will be very few chances to spend money.
In order to survive this month I’m doing four things.
First things first: Write everything down.
Absolutely everything goes into my Google calendar, and everything gets a 30 minute warning alert. Of course, I’ve already over scheduled myself. I don’t know why I do this, but I do! By making sure everything goes on my calendar and giving myself a 30 minute window, I am able to make sure I have enough time to move from one job to the next.
For example, I am catering from 4- 10pm the day before I leave town…at 5am. That same day is also the start of the fundraiser. (Why. Why have I done this? Oh right. Money.)
In order to survive, I’ll put my second part of my plan into place: Be Mobile. Be Flexible.
Lucky for me, this fundraiser is all online. It takes place across 24 hours and can all be done from behind a laptop or a phone. I’ll bring both things with me to catering, and the moment we are done, I’ll check in online.
I also have a car, a bike, and two perfectly good legs. Getting around the city during SXSW truly is a nightmare, but if I adapt my travel habits, I can make it work. Parking prices spike during SXSW- you can pay $40 for six hours, which is only half a day! Instead of fighting the crowd and the prices for downtown parking, I park about 10 blocks away and walk or bike into downtown. Parking is free and I can move more freely.
I’m also location flexible for my nonprofit job. I don’t have to go into the office. If I need to sleep in after a late catering night and work from my bed, I can do that! This is a huge help, and one of the reasons I’m prone to over-scheduling myself.
Step three is to Get Ahead as Much as Possible.
Yesterday I sent five articles to two different freelance clients. I’ve already written enough to take me through March 15th with those clients.
I’ve already started packing up my personal items for the house rental, even though that won’t happen until the 14th.
I’ve scheduled a lot of social media posts, so my streams stay active when I’m knee deep in catering events.
Anything that can be done NOW is getting done NOW.
Step four is to Ask for Help.
Often I try to muscle my way through things. If I can just suck it up, I think, I can get this done. Well, that strategy hasn’t always worked out in the past. Sometimes it’s made things worse!
Right now, for example, my friend is patiently waiting in my living room while I type frantically away. I’ve asked for her patience to be able to knock out this post before we go adventuring for the day.
I’ve told my nonprofit boss that I need to be flexible on going into the office, and I’ve asked a catering friend to carpool for all events we work together on. I need to be open with people. Asking for help, or some leeway when I need it is going to make all the difference.
Now, it’s still going to be a crazy month. Side hustles taking center stage like this makes it crazy. I’m sure I’ll be stressed, and mildly unhappy for about half of it. There is a light at the end of the tunnel though!
-I’ll be more than halfway through maxing out my IRA when March is over.
-This is the last SXSW I want to participate in.
-I’m going to Wyoming on March 9th for the first time.
-My birthday is in April!
So here’s to white knuckling it, the smart way, for a few weeks. Hard work, big returns!