How to Plan To Go From Being Laid off to Side-Hustler to Solopreneur 

Seeing the Writing on the Wall Helps

Photo by Alex Azabache from Pexels 

On graduating with a degree in journalism, Joey landed a job at The Independent newspaper. He covered breaking news, economic issues and human-interest features. He was good at his job and loved it, but something was missing. That something was travel. Joey was based in London. At the beginning of his WorkLife, he enjoyed the dynamics of the office and the city, which was an endless source of inspiration for his writing, but lately, he was feeling confined by both the office and the city, causing him to feel restricted in his writing.

He managed to agree to a three-month sabbatical from his work. His plan was to live in Vietnam for this time. His grandfather had been drafted to serve in the war, and from a young boy, he had a fascination with the country and the people. It had always been his dream to travel there and experience it for himself.

It hadn’t been difficult to get the time off, the newspaper had been struggling for some time, and the change it had brought about in its heyday had been losing its impact for some time now. So, Joey wasn’t surprised when he was due to return from his sabbatical; he was laid off — after all the writing had been on the wall.

Good thing Joey had been side hustling during his time off. He had started writing a series of How-To books. These were based on helping people learn how to write and then how to get published. A conversation with a colleague who was making £1,000 p.m. through publishing Kindle books was what had got him started on this track. He began writing the short How To e-books and then set out to learn all about Amazon marketing. By the end of his three-month break, he had written 12 books, and sales were already building momentum. Joey decided to extend his stay in Vietnam and focus on writing more books.

He wanted to see if he could establish his e-books as a side hustle that would sustain his living wants and needs during his time in Vietnam. The cost of living was low, and he figured £1,500 p.m. would cover what he needed and also give him a buffer in case of an emergency. Also, he wanted to work no more than 30 hours a week, and he wanted to spend the rest of his time exploring the county. That was his plan. And it worked. Actually, it worked exceptionally well. By the end of six months, his e-books were earning him £3,000 p.m., and by the end of his twelve months in Vietnam, they were bringing in £6,000 p.m.

Joey was loving his WorkLife — writing and living somewhere new. He had filled in what had been missing — travel. He had created a WorkLife of freedom and flexibility to get where he wanted when he wanted.

His next stop was New Zealand — another country he had always wanted to visit. Now he was going to stop and stay awhile — well, one year, anyway … for now.

Joey had now published 52 e-books — one for every week he had been in Vietnam. These were now earning an excellent passive income which was growing month on month. Joey’s simple side hustle plan had taken him to the next chapter of his WorkLife journey.

He was ready to go from side-hustler to solopreneur. He wanted to launch his own publishing company. He had an idea for a series of mysteries set in Vietnam, which he wanted to self-publish as paperbacks, e-books and audiobooks. He felt becoming a solopreneur would force him to learn how to handle all aspects of business. He was right. Alongside writing his first mystery book, he learnt the ropes of running a publishing company, ready to put his first novel out into the world.


For the moment, he’s remaining a solopreneur. In time he may grow his business and bring more people on board. Or maybe not. His WorkLife unfolding chapters will tell that story.

Four Steps To Planning Your Side-Hustle Assignment

Maybe the writing is on the wall at your workplace, and being laid off is a possibility. Or maybe you want extra income, along with freedom and flexibility to fill the gap of whatever is missing in your WorkLife.

Words Of Wisdom

The next chapter of your WorkLife might be a short story, or it might be a novel. When you begin to plan your side hustle, you don’t need to know all the details. That’s the exciting thing because you never know where your side hustle will lead you. But it will take you somewhere, and planning your side hustle will help you to be ready for wherever and whatever that is.

The Four Steps:

Step One: Maybe you already have a side hustle idea — it could be connected to your work or an interest outside of your work. Or maybe you don’t yet have an idea. So you pay attention to conversations with colleagues, friends and family — as with Joey, an idea that peaks your interest is all you need to get you started on your track to exploring it further.

Step Two: Take the time you need to begin to action your idea. It’s likely you won’t have three months to focus on it as Joey did. It’s also likely that you can carve out 30 mins to one hour daily to work on it. It’s all about consistency, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised how all those short sprints of time add up over time.

Step Three: It’s important to test your idea as soon as you have a good enough prototype — whatever your version of Joey’s short How To e-book is.

Step Four: Learn everything you can about whatever your version of Joey’s Amazon marketing platform is. Follow through on whatever that is.

These four steps will enable you to come up with an idea, develop it into a working prototype and test it out. Each step requires simple planning to get to the next step. Each step will inform you of the planning needed for the next step.

That’s it. Planning your side hustle by taking a step by step approach. — Enjoy!


As a WorkLife Learning Practitioner and Writer, I create learning programmes and resources to help people manage, develop and transition their WorkLives in good, challenging and bad times.

The focus of my work begins by helping people identify a WorkLife path that’s true to their core values, purpose, and motivation. This is followed through by creating meaningful short and long-term WorkLife plans while enabling self-coaching, self-directing, and self-leadership to drive these plans.

I bring you stories created from questions and answers drawn from WorkLife lessons. What I’m trying to do is to highlight different solutions, to provide you with a pathway so that even if a particular story doesn’t apply to you, you understand there is a path to follow.

Whatever you want to do, there is a clear path to it, and once you understand those steps, it becomes much more intuitive, and hopefully, it motivates you to get started. Because that’s what you need most, the motivation to get started. The motivation to follow your vision.

My book, Your WorkLife Your Way, focuses on helping you live your best WorkLife by managing your learning, development and growth, through effective self-feedback, insightful questions and the ability to shape and tell your unique story. Click on the title to see a preview of what’s inside the book.

Published by Carmel O' Reilly

Carmel O’ Reilly: WorkLife Learning Practitioner & Writer Author of WorkLife Book Club, Your WorkLife Your Way and The School of WorkLife book series. Created to help you manage your WorkLife Learning. Blogger & Podcaster: Telling people’s powerful stories about WorkLife challenges & successes Founder of My guiding statement is to help people pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, passion, purpose and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes that are accessible to everyone.