• Meredith Rawlings

Side Hustlin’ Ain’t Easy: navigating a career change before your career is started

Updated: Jun 12, 2018

In May 2017 I graduated with a degree in Global Supply Chain and Operations Management and started a job at a paper mill. That’s right, it’s just like Dunder Mifflin. Needless to say, sitting in a windowless office in a paper mill is not what I had in mind when I pictured my twenties. It wasn’t too long after I started my job that I realized I was spending more time writing up new workout challenges for my friends or reading about the latest fitness trends than actually focusing on my job (if my boss ever reads this, I’m sorry). I’m literally typing this post at my desk, oops!

A rare photo of me wearing makeup and heels, don't get used to it!

I knew from my first day that staying at my corporate job was not an option for me, so I started to put together an action plan for how to create a new career. A couple of months ago I created an Instagram (ayyye @merebodayandsoul) for fitness coaching and since then I’ve been spending my free time curating my website, researching social media marketing, branding, and studying for my personal training certification exam. I took a full 5 months to take that damn test, but let me tell you it was SO rewarding to FINALLY officially be a personal trainer!

Entrepreneurship is not an easy road to navigate, especially when you are still putting 40 hours a week into your “real” job. My days are long and sometimes stressful. Most days I wake up at 5:20 am to get a workout in, go to work until 5 and then either go for a run or go straight home to do the real work. Somewhere in between I have to eat, bathe, keep my apartment clean, and make time to do fun things with my friends. Everyday is a balancing act and often something important gets neglected.

I haven’t yet made one cent from training clients or from social media or anything that has to do with my side hustle. I train my friends for free on the weekends and send free workouts to followers on Instagram when they ask for them, and that’s okay! The feeling of elation I get when someone tells me they were inspired by my latest Insta caption or that their booty is on fire after doing a workout I gave them makes it worth it. I’m on cloud nine just picturing all the women I can impact and empower someday when my business really takes off.

My first two clients braving the winter wind at the beach!

There’s a lot of pressure these days to have a million followers and have brands want to give you free stuff and make a butt load of cash by the time you’re 25. Not to mention the pressure we millennials tend to put on ourselves to exceed our own expectations. But having a side hustle or changing careers does not have to be about making money. In fact, getting rich is probably the last reason you should start a side business. Your side hustle should be something that fulfills you enough that it’s worth your time even if you never make money from it at all.

I’m here to tell you that it’s hard and tiring and TERRIFYING. I’ve already wanted to give up so many times. Self-doubt and comparison sneak into my head constantly, but the voice in my head telling me to keep going gets stronger every day. If you have that little voice too, listen to it!

You too are made for much, much more than just a job! Taking a leap into the unknown is more than just a leap, it’s time and energy that you could be spending on other things. In the end, only you know what your soul needs for fulfillment. If you feel something calling you, there is a reason and you can do it! I will be here cheering you on and so will the people in your life who know your soul's worth!

I would love to hear any business ideas or collaborations you all have! Catch up with me on the 'gram!