Remember FOMO? We love our abbreviations and acronyms, and society-at-large couldn’t help but apply one to a phenomenon that people were experiencing with the explosion of social media: Fear of Missing Out.

Most people project an ideal persona and life on social media, which can give us a sense of insecurity around our own lives. Everyone else but you is going on lavish vacations or having picture-perfect moments with their picture-perfect partners. Even if we tell ourselves it’s not “real,” the temptation to compare ourselves to what we perceive to be other’s lives and experiences can be overwhelming, and at times depressing.

I wonder if there is a bit of FOMO floating around with today’s gig economy. We’re encouraged to have side hustles, upload YouTube videos, and make money through online products and services. When you have a side hustle you’re in charge of your own destiny, working as little or as much as you want, making your own schedule, and having the freedom to live life how you want (supposedly).

I have a corporate job at a company I’ve been with for fifteen years, and I really like it. I’m compensated well and have great benefits. I’m comfortable. I don’t want to make podcasts or YouTube videos. I don’t want to quit my job and live off affiliate income or products I might create for my blog, and I don’t really need extra money to pay down debts or cover basic expenses…but I wonder if I’m missing out on potential extra income from blogging or other writing projects.

Am I a 9-5 square who is living in the past and giving up the chance at potential extra income? “Side hustle” sounds cool. I mean, so does a 6% 401(K) employer match, but that’s just me. One of my former coworkers did her corporate office job AND at the same time built an incredible speaking, writing, and coaching career as her “side hustle.” Should I be following suit? Maybe I’m not as smart and creative as I thought I was.

I mean, I religiously submit mileage expense reports every month and recoup medical expenses with my employer’s flexible healthcare spending account. Can’t that count as a “side hustle” or is it not hip and edgy enough?

Am I missing something? Am I doing something wrong?

What to do?

Monetization is extremely tempting and also feels vaguely out of reach. I’ve made a total of $1.18 since I added ads to my site six months ago. I’m just barely scratching the surface of learning about affiliate marketing but trying not to get too excited about bloggers I see who are somehow making thousands a month just from affiliate links. I’m trying the old fashioned way to get my memoir published as opposed to self-publishing and selling an e-book.

I realize (or at least that’s what I’m telling myself) that those people who make gobs of money are an anomaly in the blogging world. I realize my blog may be too specialized (or at least that’s what I’m telling myself) to ever have a huge audience even though Jesse Enkamp seems to be doing quite well with his karate niche.

Little Black Belt doesn’t necessarily speak to the masses, so I shouldn’t expect to ever gain a large following or start this side hustle I’m suddenly supposed to have…or am I selling myself and this blog short? To be honest, most of the change in my life due to taekwondo has happened OUTSIDE the dojang. How I’ve applied taekwondo principles–discipline, self-respect, perseverance–almost overshadowed the physical prowess I’ve gained. Surely there are some lessons to be learned and to be shared from that.

If I try to force-fit topics so broadly appealing or generic then the integrity of why I started this blog might be lost. I still want to be able to monetize this thing, and I also want to keep doing what I originally wanted to do when I started this blog five years ago:
Share life lessons, self-development and leadership tips, and the motivation to make positive changes that I have gained through practicing and thanks to taekwondo.

And with that, hopefully the readers will come.


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