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The Luxury of Making Money on the Side

I never considered what making money on the side could mean long term for my life. It was always one of those situations and experiences where it seemed like it was for what I needed now. There was something urgent I needed to take care of and making a little money on the side met that need. After that need was met life returned to normal and I managed with what I had. Money on the side was just that something extra, short term and often not something I considered beyond that. In building up Dragonspit Apothecary for over 3 years now, I’m beginning to realize though there is significantly more to this money on the side situation than meets the eye.

When I started out designing and creating Dragonspit Apothecary things were good for my family financially. While I was deeply burned out from my corporate career and there is always risk of layoffs we were sitting alright for the moment. As a result, I was able to take my early sales to reinvest into this new little pet project of mine, getting what I needed in place to support what would become Dragonspit. It was a fun little experiment that I wanted to just earn enough to cover my expenses and then from there we’d see where it went. This simple little goal off a little side money making venture I wanted to play on had my attention and I was having fun working on it. It was the first time in my life I could feel comfortable financially doing such a thing without the guilt I was taking from something else my family needed.

Since those beginnings I have come a long way. Dragonspit is still not my primary income but it has become self-sufficient in terms of paying for itself consistently. It has also started to give a little extra beyond that. I’ve come to realize there is a point when having a little money opportunity on the side can extend beyond just covering an immediate need. I think in times past when I’ve done something on the side for money I never looked beyond that one experience for what it could lead to next. It was just a short one time thing and I moved on. Yet here was a situation where I could instead look closer at what was next. Where could this go?

The luxury of it all is knowing I can still treat it as a fun experiment. It has captured my attention and held it strong for these past few years too. The real luxury is two-fold for me. First I have found something that gives me a much needed diversion from the grueling aspects of my career. This has been mentally and physically welcome to my health. It has influenced my well-being because it has given me hope. It has shown me what is possible and how tangible success on my terms can be long term.

Secondly, it is a luxury to be able to reinvest into it and see what can happens. Within reason and being mindful of what I have to work with I have been able to create an inspiring experience for myself that also now pays for itself! I think where some people miss this in starting their own business, specifically with direct marketing products, is they put so much pressure on the immediate big payoff wins. They’re looking for the windfall with the least amount of investment of their time, money and attention. In all my years of working there are very, very few businesses that have results like that. Most of us have to work at it over time, one step at a time, slow and steady. Most people give up when they hear that.

The luxury of making money on the side is when it goes beyond that hard work level to get it going into something real that is growing not only physically but what it is doing to you in the process. Most side opportunities I have done in my life have left me tired, rung out and even more stressed. Yes the extra money was nice but I felt like I was sacrificing a lot of my time to make just a few extra bucks. The return wasn’t always equitable it seemed. Sometimes that is necessary though and many of us have had to do those things. Yet when we can carve out that small opportunity and foster it into something beyond these basic means that is where the true luxury o