Career Woman

How to say yes to your hustle, and no to your friends


Waking up each morning to a tsunami of notifications, emails, and people demanding your attention is tiring. Especially when you’re working a side hustle, a full-time job and maintaining a social life. Controlling your schedule is one of the only things we can control as entrepreneurs.

Between the demands of your obligations, how do you balance the unexpected requests that come up? The last thing we want to do is disappoint friends, family, community, and others.

In the end, when we receive that “drinks tonight?” text, we only have five response options:

  1. “Yes!”…show up
  2. “Yes!” then not show up and be deemed “flaky”
  3. “No, can’t make it.” (intentional period) with a smile emoji
  4. “No, because”…insert a reason
  5. “No, but”…and give an honest, well-natured response

Ultimately, our priorities are defined by the mission and vision we have not only for ourselves but also our community. Having a clear idea of our priorities makes the decision that much easier. If you have decided that your side hustle growth is your priority, then your decision should be your priority.

One could argue that the last four options are ways to prioritize your business. Yet, there’s really only one, #5, that values your time and keeps that relationship (business or personal) going.

In these crucial beginning stages, when every moment counts, you have to make sacrifices. You understand that and the people you associate with should be able to understand as well assuming they support you in what you’re doing. After all, when you rent out that yacht in Italy for your birthday party using income from your six-figure business, who are you inviting? I know who’s on my list!

So text back with…

No, but…

“…I’m available Friday if you are”

“…how about hiking next month, March 22?”

“…are you available to come to my launch celebration this Thursday?”

No I am not available tonight but how about next time X day, we go do the same activity or a different activity and still hang out with each other.

What is happening with these responses? In summary, I am showing interest in wanting to hang out with this person by being proactive about offering another opportunity for which we can both say yes!

Did you catch that last one? “No, but are you available to come to my launch party celebration this Thursday?” It’s a launch party for your business, app, side hustle. You are now keeping this person in the loop and having them involved in the good times of your next chapter in life. An additional bonus is that they are now opening their eyes and aware that you are working on something and perhaps you need all the time and space to go ahead and do that.

You show genuine interest in continuing the relationship. Check!

You’ve done the hard work of checking your calendar and opening a spot on it for them. Check!

You’ve shown them you care. Check!

Most importantly, you valued yourself and your schedule. That is the true bread and butter of building authentic relationships and networking. If you have a specific day that you use for meetings or social outings, use that day. Mine is Monday evenings.

Feeling guilt or shame to decide on focusing on your side hustle and living a fulfilled life is so 2019. Time is your most valuable asset as an entrepreneur. It’s often one of the only assets you have in the beginning. Use your time deciding on your website, honing in on your podcast questions or refining your food menu instead of going out for drinks with your friend. A true friend will understand, and a worthy potential business partner has fifty million other things similar to you and will also understand.

The time will come for you to attend each event and every meeting and even respond to every email, that time is not today. Perhaps, that time for you is Wednesday night after dinner. Prioritize and then say no, but…

When we make commitments to ourselves and the best version of ourselves that we can be, bailing should not be an option. We don’t have the luxury of letting anything that comes up get in the way.

In the world of your time and priorities, No, but goes a long way. Live your life, value your time, and don’t feel bad about it.

Don’t get fooled though – there are also those times. Those times when your friend says, I have VIP tickets to this new launch in San Francisco later today – yep, extra last minute. You reflect on your week leading to that day thinking through all the great things you have done and progress you’ve made. You participated on a panel moving closer towards your 85 speaking engagements goal the same week someone on your team landed in the hospital delaying the completion of a major project. This also happened to be the same week a major retailer released their campaign with you featured in it, and you helped three more people move forward in their business through strategy coaching sessions. All of this while killing the game at your full-time job. Whoo – it’s exhausting to type it.

What other text could I possibly send to my friend when she asked besides Yes, let’s! And you know what, not only did I get a self-care break in, but I also took some relevant photos and video content for my IG marketing. Feeding two birds with one worm at the same time.

About Vanessa Zamy

VANESSA ZAMY – Founder and Owner of Your Vision’s Catalyst – coaches new entrepreneurs through building profitable side hustles while working 9-to-5. While founding Your Vision’s Catalyst, a strategy and project management consulting firm for entrepreneurs, Vanessa released her best-selling book, “FINISH: The Solopreneur’s Guide to Getting Stuff Done”. All of that while continuing to make strides at her full time, corporate America 9-to-5 job, including a promotion. Vanessa Zamy gets stuff done in her business and she loves inspiring and informing audiences on how they can too.

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