How Do you Measure Success in a Side Hustle?

How to find Ikigai

What does a successful side hustle looks like to you?

Is a 6-figure earning side hustle, a 4-hour per day work, or the work-anywhere lifestyle your way of measuring success? Most of the time, we are blinded by the potential of earning more money that we miss out on other parts of what life has to offer such as time management and doing what we truly enjoy in life.

If you are currently running a side hustle or planning to do one, getting to find the right balance is probably the toughest decision. How we measure the success of a side hustle fully depends on what area of life we plan to achieve. This concept of work-life balance that we all are searching for from having a side hustle is what we call Ikigai.

Chasing Ikigai

Photo by Shreesha bhat on Unsplash

There are 4 areas of life for Ikigai. They are working for what you love, what you’re good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. In most parts, it’s almost impossible to get the perfect balance of all 4. Most people in their life are looking for just one part of Ikigai they wish to improve on.

Work for what you Love

Hate that desk job that you are working? Or hate to work on something repetitive?

Finding a job that you love working on is probably tough if you plan to become an employee since employers are the ones that choose what you need to work on rather than work on what you like. Therefore, taking on a side hustle to do what you are passionate about is going to make you feel much more rewarded.

Although you may be doing a side hustle that you like? You may not be able to get the other 3 areas of life that fully covers Ikigai. But as long as you feel you can balance them well, Ikigai is then fulfilled.

Work what you are Good At

The reality of how we are paid is directly proportional to how good we are at certain skill sets or talents. Just like how we spend years trying to get a diploma or a degree. Society pays us based on what we are good at. Although you may be paid well for it, it may not be something that you enjoy doing or have anything impactful to the world.

What the World Needs

We are constantly chasing after the dollar and often times we neglect mother nature and support other parts of the world. World hunger, war, animal conservation, and humanitarian act are what nations around the world need. Sadly, these are considered charitable acts and we don’t actually get any fulfillment from the other parts of Ikigai.

What you can be Paid for

You have the biggest, badest, most crazy idea that you just shared to the world!

These are the biggest money-maker, you could be an oil distributor, a fund manager, or a real estate tycoon. You are paid really well!

Every driven and ambitious young individual dream to be rich one day. But as we get older and take up more responsibilities, the idealism of chasing after wealth fades over time. Don’t believe me? Check out the top 5 regrets people have near their deathbeds.

Measuring Ikigai

There can never be a perfect area in Ikigai. We are typically forced to lean on one side, and finding a balance between all four is nearly impossible. Instead, a great way for us to measure what we truly want in life is to understand the type of Ikigai we truly desire. Give a rating for each of the 4 areas of Ikigai between 1 to 5.

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Photo created by Edmund with Canva Pro

From there, draw the points that your Ikigai is leaning more towards.


However, although we may find our Ikigai, the next step is to measure its success of it. This means having it put to the test of surviving the Valley of Disappointment.

Surviving the Valley of Disappointment to reach Ikigai

Valley of Death 1
Photo created by Edmund using Canva Pro

Starting a side hustle is similar to running a business. 90% of businesses fail within the first 5 years, with 10% of them failing within the first year itself. So why do people even start a side hustle knowing the chances of it failing is high?

Entrepreneur starts their side hustle in order to measure their Ikigai(they plan to get one of the four). During this phase, more than 95% of people would have quit and given up their dreams of obtaining the Ikigai. The reason why it is so tough is that most entrepreneur believes that the journey toward a successful side hustle grows in a straight line. All businesses will face the Valley of Disappointment once they learn that there is more to learn than what is being shown.

Every entrepreneur has to learn to deal with the ups and downs of running a business. It’s not easy so we often have to ask ourselves this question over and over again.

Is it worth it?

When we can answer this question easily in our mind and work towards the success of our side hustle. Only then, can you call your side hustle a success?

The Balance of Success

Although you have found your Ikigai, the journey toward it can be treacherous and may even take years to get to it. Contrary to people’s belief, a successful side hustle doesn’t have to be one that takes over your full-time job. It also doesn’t have to be something noble like being impactful to the world.

The idealism of a successful side hustle has been often depicted as only having plenty of money that lets you quit your full-time job and just sit by the beach. Not everyone thinks like that! But if you do want it, then you have to stay motivated and understand the journey toward financial freedom can be tough.

The balance of success changes as we grow older while some may stay the same and continue their pursuit of one part of Ikigai.

  • Colonel Harland Sanders, do what he loves and founded KFC(Kentucky Fried Chicken) and started the business at 65 years old.
  • Elon Musk created Paypal which revolutionize online payment for the world. Many businesses around the world now use Paypal and other companies have even started their own version thanks to the idea.
  • Warren Buffet still works as a Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway even at 92 because he is good at his job.
  • MrBeast uses his strength as a well-known marketer on Youtube to push out his branding and grew many of his successful businesses such as Feastable and Beast Burger.

If you need Help with Motivational and Success

We can easily get lost in the pursuit of Ikigai and during the journey. We may feel dejected or lose hope. That’s why having self-help books can be a great way for future entrepreneurs and side hustlers to keep themselves motivated.

If you are looking for some motivation or success books to read. You can also check out Millionaire’s Brain Academy where they share inspirations and push you towards finding your Ikigai.

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