Note side hustle is a common thing nowadays. Nevertheless, not everyone knows how to balance it properly with a day job. Scott Carson sits down with side hustler expert, Kris McPeak, to talk about some of the best ways to manage your schedule when juggling a full-time career and trying to launch your note business. Kris shares some of her best practices and systems to help you achieve results by sharing her own experiences of working two jobs alongside each other without falling out on either one. And as the pandemic continues, she shares her thoughts on how those dealing with online schooling can still take advantage of the note business on the side.
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Kris McPeak On Balancing Note Side Hustle With A Full-Time Job
I am excited to be here and I’m even more jacked up because I’ve got a new friend joining us here and her energy pours out. She’s a bundle of fun. I was honored to be a guest on her show. The beautiful thing I love about this is we meet many great individuals, great people, and we’ve met some mutual friends. This lady, when I was doing some research I was like, “She’s a perfect guest for you guys out there that are juggling note investing and real estate investing as a side hustle.” She’s been known as the Mary Poppins of Higher Education. We’re honored to have this supercalifragilisticexpialidocious person on here. Kris McPeak, I am honored to have you.
Scott, thank you for having me. The Mary Poppins of Higher Education thing came out of the fact that I moved jobs frequently and I would be like, “I will stay at this institution until the wind changes,” as she says. Although I’m not a nanny, not even close to being a nanny, that was my jam. I still am in higher education but I spent the first twenty years of my professional career in college housing and residence life. If that means nothing to your readers, I’m going to say the word dorm and that should explain it all. I ran those buildings, communities, and the whole thing.
I lived there for probably 10 or 11 of those 20 years. The reason I do a podcast now has to do with that part of my life and working in an incredibly high touch business that there was a definite blur between work and life, especially when you lived in. You never could say, “I’m not at work,” when you live where you work. The show I host is called Elevate Your 8. It is all time management and productivity. That came from a place of trying to find that dividing line and what made me leave college housing in the first place. I did not want to work someplace that was sucking the life out of me. I no longer wanted to work at a place where you’re not leaving until the work is done. I didn’t want to work at a place anymore where to go in on the weekends and be connected to my email all the time was an expectation.
I got out of that mess in the process of finding myself in the new place, I thought about this concept of Elevate Your 8. It’s all about honoring your work-life alignment, your wellness, and then figuring out how to prioritize the rest of the stuff that you do. If you’re honoring your work-life alignment, you’re working only eight hours a day, you’re honoring your wellness, and you’re sleeping eight hours every night, then the only other thing you have to pay attention to are those other eight hours. Those are the eight we wish to elevate, thus Elevate Your 8.
Do they smell of Top Ramen and Tony’s $1 pizzas drive you crazy? That’s dorm food. Every time you walk to every dorm, that’s what they’re cooking.
Baked mac and cheese, all of the delivery places. The dorm lobby is like, “Who’s ordering from King’s Pizza tonight? If you buy one, you get two free.” That’s a whole other show in itself. I was an unscrupulous Resident Advisor and Hall Director in the early parts of my career back in the ‘90s where some of the things that are super important now, I didn’t pay attention to.
Let’s talk about Elevate Your 8. I love that because many of our readers are working full-time in their careers. They’re doing something else. They want to be a real estate investor. Most real estate investors, that’s what they do. It’s their side hustle. Gary Vee, you’ve got from 7:00 PM to 2:00 AM a lot of times to do your side hustle. Let’s talk about that transition aspect. You talked about finding yourself and some of the things. What are the biggest keys for somebody who’s looking to start something new on the side to help them elevate their extra time or the time they have left at the end of the day?
It’s safe for people to start in a place where you know how long it takes for you to do the basic average everyday things. If you ask me how long it takes me to take a shower and get dressed, I know that because I’ve paid specific attention to that. That’s how I build out that morning routine. I know exactly how much time my commute is going to take. Pre or post-COVID, all of that is different but you have to learn to be flexible and work within the environment that you’re living in. Do you eat your breakfast while you’re sitting in front of the news? Most of your mealtime is spent engaged in that show but it only takes you seven minutes to eat your pop tart or whatever you’re having.
Be honest with yourself and clear on how long it takes you to do those types of things. There’s always this gadget that I’m holding in my hand. We have a love-hate relationship with technology and it does a lot of amazing things to help us be more productive. It also contributes to a lot of the black holes of productivity. That’s where we’re going to look at something, to check our bank balance, to get directions on where you’re meeting your friend at lunch. The next thing you know, your face is up in it and you’ve spent 45 minutes doing the Instagram scroll thing that you hadn’t planned to do. Be aware of doing those things and have it be a part of your everyday behavior.
I love embracing the concept of some routine within your day, whether that’s a morning routine, a lunchtime routine, and an evening routine. I embraced all of them in various stages depending on what I’ve got going on. I do work a full-time job that I positively love. I have no desire to leave this and go work my side hustle full-time like a lot of people out there in the world do. What it came down to for me is when are the best times during the day to work on my business and then how do I schedule those things out? My husband and I run a swim team. I technically have two side hustles. I’m not bragging but it is what it is. We run the swim team and most days, I’m getting up, I’m doing my meditation, my journaling, making coffee for him and me, making breakfast, pack the swim bag and get in the car and go.
Mornings are more focused on my wellness, mindset, and those types of things. The evenings are where I will schedule my social media posts, work on finances for the swim team, or when I was writing the book. I would write at night and then I would leverage my vacation days to do things like podcasts, recording, editing and stuff like that. Charles and I travel when we’re swimming and we’re competing. We’ll take a vacation once a year but for the most part, I have a lot of vacation time that goes unused and I have learned to use it to work my side hustle. That works fine for me now because we’re not in a position where I can go get on a cruise boat or anything like that, maybe for a couple of months.
At lunchtime, sometimes I am doing a balance of both things. Charles and I like different television shows. Lunchtime is when I can dig into something that I want to watch on Netflix or Hulu and I love to knit. I fit some of my hobbies into that mix. In the morning, lunchtime, and evening routine, I embrace all of them. You may not feel like a morning routine is your jam and that’s okay. Figure out what it is you’re trying to accomplish within the framework of the day, specifically schedule the time for that and determine like, “I’m going to work for one hour in my business at this time during the day,” and then you do that. If the phone is high-risk for you, then you move the phone out of the way. You put it in a drawer and you don’t make it present while you’re trying to balance your books or write your show notes or edit or something like that. That’s where the whole Elevate Your 8 concept works itself through. It’s understanding how long it takes you to do things, prioritizing, scheduling, sticking to that, and telling yourself, “These are the two most important things I want to get done. I’m going to bust through and do them.”
It is a great council whether it’s morning, afternoon, or evening figuring out and being honest with your schedule. One of my first most effective jobs that I was good at was I had to keep track every fifteen minutes of what we were doing. That is a great journaling aspect. We are going to turn that in every day. What did you do every fifteen minutes, whether it was doing this or that? That’s a great way to help you at the track. Where are the holes in my schedule that I can plug? I would be doing something productive versus Facebook stalking or social sleuthing, whatever it might be.
I love that concept of doing a time on task. Even in our day-to-day work, we can open our email box and get stuck in there for hours because we’re not in control of our box. I am a little bit guilty of that. What I try to do is open my email twice a day, once in the morning and once after lunch. I work the whole Pomodoro thing with that. I’m going to set a timer and I’m going to read and respond to as much email as I can in 30 minutes, then I’m going to close it. Somebody needs to get ahold of me if they’re going to call me. They’re going to say, “I need an answer from you now.” My staff and I use WhatsApp while we’re doing the remote work thing to connect. They know they can find me there if I’m not in the process of checking email.
The things that need to be dealt with in the framework of the day, I’ll respond to those before I close the inbox but I do try to utilize the concept of to-do lists and what has to get finished that day. Deadlines are important to me because a lot of times I will wind up not working on a project in 2 or 3 days before it’s due. A lot of that is because I have such revolving responsibilities in the day job. I used to be good at projecting those things and getting things done early. As I continued to build upon tasks and being set on, “I’m going home at 4:30 regardless,” then I have to fill the time with the amount of time that it takes to finish the project.
That is Parkinson’s Law or something like that. There’s some academic person who wrote about a law that equals that and that’s okay. I’m fine with that because I’ve realized that I’m going to be able to finish the project in the amount of time that I have, and that takes the stress off me. Normally, I wouldn’t be pulling my hair out. I know a lot of other people that would be in that same boat, but I know I’m going to get it done when I tell myself, “This is the day it has to get done.”
I love the idea of to-do lists. I also know that a lot of people used to-do lists to generate a lot of things and make themselves feel good. They check off a lot of small things at the end of the day, but the biggest things they didn’t get done or accomplished. They go, “Look at all this stuff I got done.” What’s your opinion on that?
That’s a good point. It depends on where your focus is on what’s important because, for some people, those little things are the important things. If they don’t write it down and remind themselves to do it, it probably doesn’t get done. That could be something like, “We’re out of creamer or go pick up the dry cleaning.” You need to buy a coolant for your car. I need to do that for myself. I need to write that down because if I don’t buy it, then I get the overheating thing.
In some cases, people need those little reminders to do the small things because otherwise, they would forget. If you’re a person that’s like that and you’re looking at the big things and you tell yourself, “Today, out of this huge ass list than I have, these two things are the most important small things. This big thing is the most important big thing.” If you put your focus on those three things, one’s going to be a big thing and those two small things, and then move forward with the next thing. Of all the small tasks on the one side, which if they don’t get done now are going to set you back or disappoint someone or mean that you can’t finish five other things and do those things first? Feel the intensity behind the urgency of those things and focus on those things first. Get them out of the way so that you don’t have to stress about them the next day.
Let’s talk a little bit about this book you’re talking about. It’s a big phenomenal thing that a lot of people needed to tap into. What made you decide to write a book? Let’s talk about the basis for it?
I’m super proud of that book. I’ve written two other books. One is called Making “Work” Work For You and that’s a primer on the whole work-life alignment thing. I then wrote the book Elevate Your 8, which started out the idea for the podcast. I’m in a mastermind group that Allison Melody from Food Heals has been running. Everything got tipped over on its head with this COVID pandemic. A lot of things that a lot of people had planned to do, live events, speaking engagements, stuff like that, all went away. Allison Melody and Laura Petersen hosted this book publishing group. It was a course and an accountability group, and we were all going to move towards writing our first bestseller in fourteen weeks.
I wasn’t planning to write a book in 2020. I don’t have the energy to do it and two of my Rise and Bloom buddies were like, “You should do it. That will be a great opportunity.” I went, “What the hell am I going to write about?” I had put in a speaking request for She Podcasts to talk specifically about how do you balance your show with a full-time job because I got tagged at the day job a couple of years ago for bringing the side hustle into the workspace here. That’s a big no-no in a lot of places like “No cross-pollination. You are doing your day job here and then you do that other stuff at home.” I do happen to be at my day job but I’m in the break room. I removed a whole chapter about that in the book.
I thought, “I’m going to write about that.” This whole concept of side hustle popped into my head when I had taken one of Ramit Sethi’s online quizzes. He’s the I Will Teach You To Be Rich guy. It was like, “What kind of side business or small business will you have?” The answer to that question for me was the hustler. At first, I was like, “I don’t like that term.” I’m not either of those things, but the more I read about the description of this person like, “This is the person that needs to have more balance. This is the person that’s constantly opening ten tabs on their computer and sometimes lacks focus.” In the end, this description of the hustler was me. When I discovered that I was accepting the fact that I’m a Gen X person. When they first started writing about Gen X, I’m like, “That is not me. That’s my baby sister who wears flannel and listens to Pearl Jam,” but the more that I read about Gen X I’m like, “That’s me.” It takes a little while for me to dig in and accept some of these areas where I fall into.
I embraced the hustler and then I thought 9 to 5 side hustle totally makes sense. The name of the book is The 9-to-5 Side Hustler: A Guide to Balancing Your Day Job with Your Small Business. I dug into that. There is a lot of sharing of that whole experience of getting in trouble at the day job and what I learned from that. The whole experience of what it’s like to run a second business with your spouse is tricky sometimes. Also, figuring out what am I doing in my day job to keep that solid so that I can leave at 4:30 and go home? It’s even a combo. Some of the philosophies from my first two books work themselves into that. If somebody is struggling with a day job and a side hustle, knowing good and well that they need their day job or they’re committed to their day job but they want to do this other thing, whether it’s a podcast, real estate, coaching, running a nonprofit, any of those things. I feel strongly that this book is a good way to recognize the humanity in what you’re doing. There are lots of people that want that.
This whole concept of passion projects is misunderstood. We choose our vocation according to our strengths and where we contribute the best. The passion projects are where we direct our hobbies and side hustles and things like that. If you’re passion projects wind up aligning more with your strengths and your talents, that’s where people wind up saying, “I’m going to leave my day job to go do this.” I know that I am in a day job that completely reflects my strengths and my talents. I identify as an educator, so I need to be in education but I also like this area of talking about productivity, work-life alignment, and making sure that you’re finding the job that you’re supposed to be in. It’s great that they all are beginning to interconnect. That’s what the book is all about. It’s helping people feel a little more comfortable in their skin if they are the 9 to 5 side hustler.
We get a lot of people that are tuning into our show and webinars. They’re always worried about sharing what they’re doing like, “I have a LinkedIn profile. I’m afraid my boss is going to see what I put on that I now have an LLC or that I’m doing something else.” Can you talk a little about that and how to deal with that?
For me, I’m blessed that I have an amazing supervisor. We have an incredibly dynamic relationship. When I started the podcast, I was upfront and transparent about that. When it moved into, I’m going to do some coaching, I’m going to do Facebook Live, I’m going to be on Instagram, I’m going to do this other stuff. It came down to my colleagues being frustrated that I was using my daytime job as a place to do my other things. I was sucked into it that I wasn’t being productive at the place that is paying me money. My boss and I had that big conversation about that. Ever since then, I’ve had a lot more clarity, on the concept of separation.
On the one hand, I’m blessed that I have a supervisor who completely understands, supports and has given me amazing feedback on what that means. For somebody that might not have a supervisor who’s supportive, that’s a tough place to split off. It’s specifically identifying when are you at work and when are you not at work. I do think that there should be some level of sharing at least like, “I wanted to let you know, and not like I’m asking permission for this but I am telling this to you because I’m excited about it. I want to share it with you because you’re my supervisor and you’re responsible for my professional development.” Any kind of difficult supervisory relationship can be managed a little bit if there’s open communication between the two and there’s honesty.
Even if the person that you work for is the antichrist, there should still be an opportunity for you to go into that person’s office and to be able to share with them specifically that this is how you feel about something, “When you said this, I felt this.” They are catching that specifically. If it doesn’t look like that relationship is going to turn, that is a space where you might need to rethink, is this the place that you belong? I’ve had to make that decision for myself before. It was even the impetus for me in deciding to get out of housing because I was working for a gentleman who worked 60 hours a week. He was proud of that and was adamant that his managers do the same. I cracked at work one day like, “I’m going to be the first associate director in this field that goes home at 5:00.”
I got called in the office like, “If that’s the way that you feel, it is probably isn’t the best fit for you because you’re approaching this in an unrealistic way.” That hit me on the head like a big ass hammer and I thought, “Maybe he’s right. Maybe this is not where I belong.” For people that are trying to figure out how to put their side hustle out on their professional profile, it is worth having a conversation with your supervisor and being honest about what you’re doing. You list that separately on your profile and maybe it’s even that your day job is still the thing that’s most present because you can say like, “Working at California State University from 2009 to present,” and then that side hustle is listed underneath as a secondary thing, which is still giving you visibility on that space. That’s what LinkedIn is for. That’s helpful.
I also think it’s good to understand your employer’s philosophy, the workplace culture on things like social media, side hustles, and conflict of interest. Get familiar with those policies. If it seems like you know that you work at an institution or a corporation where the culture is that they’re all in your business on social media, then maybe you rethink where you’re sharing your stuff. You have to be a little bit more strategic on where you’re sharing your info. I found here that once I got over that hump of clearing that air with my supervisor and having a nice boundary, there are even people on the campus that I know that aren’t in my department that will ask me about my job.
They are like, “I listened to your podcast. It was fun and I enjoyed it.” It’s a blending of the two that is a lot more comfortable because there’s not a conflict of interest. They happened to find my thing and like, “That’s Kris McPeak. I know her. I’m going to listen to that show.” I do get some listeners that way. They find me because they’re interested in the topic that I’m talking about and they happen to be like, “Kris McPeak and you are the same people.” I am like, “Yes, it’s me. We should work together sometimes.” I find that that kind of discovery is fun. It’s organic and there’s no pressure. I haven’t reached out to that person and said, “Will you listen to my podcast?”
You got to have the conversation and it comes down to if your job is in alignment with your passions and your strengths, that’s great. If they’re providing for your future, your retirement, 401(k) or stuff like that, who knows? Especially in the finance field where you have to X, fill out an OBA or Outside Business Agreement. It was nothing big like, “I’m in the rental business. I’m in the fix and flip business. This is for my hobby.” It’s not going to affect their business. It is separate but if you see something knowing that I’m not putting any work resources or stuff into it to take away from my full-time job and you still got to show up 100% to the work. If you’re slacking or we get a lot of people try to take phone calls from bankers during their workdays, that doesn’t work well. If you keep running into a conference room every fifteen minutes to answer the phone, somebody’s going to call you out on it.
I was doing that. I was closing my office door and saying, “I’m doing Facebook Live now.” I was like, “WTF McPeak, what are you thinking? This is stupid.” It went completely over my head that it was inappropriate. It was a hard lesson. It was an obvious lesson once I had a conversation. I’m closer to my supervisor now because I was able to hear her feedback, take it seriously, and completely beyond pivot. I did a complete 180 like, “I’ve got to package this in a way that I’m giving 100% to both places when I’m in those places. The lines aren’t blurred and everything is comfortable. That feels great.”
On your website too, with everything being crazy in 2020, it’s chaotic. You’re at the office but a lot of Americans are still trying to juggle working from home and trying to figure things out. I’ve been in my office for 3 or 4 times in the last nine months, and it’s down the road, less than a mile from my house. You have to figure out that balance of stuff. What are some counsel that you would give to those dealing or struggling with it? They’re like, “It seems that every day becomes a Groundhog Day. I feel ineffective because I don’t have my schedule and it’s been throwing in and out people.” What would you say to people?
It is still what’s percolating through our lives now. One thing that’s super important is if you are working from home the majority of the time, then you should carve out space wherever that is in your house, that is your office. You don’t do anything else in that space because the second that you start checking your work email and working on projects when you’re propped up in bed or you’re on the living room couch, it’s easy to like, “I want to put Hulu on.” You then get lost in that. It is important to set that space. When we were first closing campus and everybody was working from home, I took a monitor home because I have so much stuff in my office.
I’m like Maureen O’Hara in The Quiet Man. I must have all my things about me. I have all these things and I took a handful of those tchotchkes home. I took some books and we have a desk in the living room and my husband was fantastic. He turned it towards the window so I had sunlight. I could look like I’m looking at my office window and I had a desk lamp. I had my monitor and everything. That was my office. That was my space. If I was sitting in that chair, I’m at work, and don’t bug me because I’m at work. I would take my lunch break and I would go someplace else in the house or I would go outside.
The very first thing is to identify that workspace. You’re not commuting anymore because you’re working from home. What’s something that can either simulate the commute or whatever it is that you do at your commute? My commute is when I listen to podcasts or audiobooks and I get in my own personal development. I can’t go to the pool because the pools are closed so my morning commute consisted of putting on my walking shoes, taking Duke for a nice long walk, and listening to whatever I would normally listen to in the car. I’ve identified another space to fill that void. The swim team would do some dry land stuff through Zoom, which was nice. You still have to do something in the morning that will simulate what you would be doing if you were commuting to the office and then you decide that for yourself, whatever that is.
I needed the movement and I needed to have something so I could listen to The Newsworthy and Podcasting Business School and those types of things. I am taking Duke for a walk because it’s a great way to do that since I wasn’t going to the pool. When you’re going to leave the office for the day, you do shut everything down. The computer goes off, you close the laptop, turn the mouse off if you have a wireless mouse, and you move away from that spot. It doesn’t mean like the office space is here in the day, but then I’m going to clear all this stuff out at night so we could play Scrabble or whatever, keep that space sacred but then go away from it. Go outside or to the kitchen, and switch your table around so that you can watch TV in your living room if they’re in the same place. We have TVs in the bedroom so we don’t watch TV in the living room anymore.
That made it an obvious easy space for me. For readers to define specifically where their workspace is going to be, it does require some discipline because it can be easy to get sucked into, “I’m at home. I can work whenever I want.” That may be true. You may be in an exempt position where it exempt or non-exempt. If you get up at 6:00 and you work until 9:00, then you don’t do anything again until 2:00. If your employer accepts that, then that’s fine. Most of them, don’t as much, especially in the pandemic situation. Define that spot, use it, and then get away from it when you’re not at work.
The thing is you have to try to build like if you had that 45 minutes to an hour commute, let’s go for a walk. Let’s have a commute around the neighborhood. That’s the biggest thing, especially looking at numbers. We all saw that in February and March. Most podcasters’ numbers went way down because people weren’t at the gyms. They weren’t in the car. They had to figure that all out. The same thing is showing up. I make the joke to somebody that it’s the mullet dressing. You have a business on the top, party on the bottom. I’ve even worn jeans three times in nine months. I did a video where I put on a sport coat and a jacket and Steph was like, “You dressed up for a recording.” I was like, “Why not?” “You wear an Under Armour or polo shirts.” I was like, “I wanted to be a little more professional.”
Most of us have been wearing jeans to work but I like getting dressed up from time to time. It makes me feel like there’s a separation there. Sometimes at home, I wore my political t-shirt almost every other day I was working at home for the last three months. I wanted to feel that joy and hopefulness and whatnot. It’s fun to put on a dress and put on makeup and go into space and be productive.
When you dress a little bit better, your energy goes up and you feel it versus, “I’m going to roll out a bed, brush my teeth, throw a ball cap on and show for a podcast or show up to work via Zoom in the office.” You can’t tell people to take it as seriously because they’re wearing different stuff or you’re not having those oopsie moments where people are flashing what they shouldn’t be flashy about.
I heard the one about the girl that didn’t turn her video off and use the ladies’ room. You bring up the whole Zoom thing and that’s a good thing to talk about in terms of productivity because there’s no doubt that we have Zoom fatigue now. That’s obvious. I’ve been in these 70% manager meetings where it’s a huge grid up here and all of a sudden people turn their video off. They are like, “I’m going to turn my video off for a second. I’m going to go do something else.” When you’re doing that, you are not present in that meeting and you’re not giving that group, whoever you’re meeting with your full attention. It becomes obvious after a while.
I was doing my ten ideas a day concept that I got from James Altucher. I was thinking like, “What are the ten ideas on how to be more present in your Zoom meetings?” I thought about that like, “Pick one person on that grid that you’re going to focus on. That person’s going to get your energy and engagement. Find a way that you can ask that person a question or connect with that person in the chat. Don’t ever turn your video off because it’s the excuse to zone out and not pay attention.” We all know that there’s no such thing as multitasking. When you try to multitask, neither one of those things get 100% from you, and they wind up being mediocre efforts. Zoom fatigue is serious and it’s a real thing. We still need to find a way to stay engaged in the workplace because it will be interesting to see what happens when some of these companies and corporations go back to working in an office space. I heard REI and Google were shutting down some offices because people felt comfortable working from home and they could save money that way.
That’s all great while we’re still in a pandemic but, is that what’s going to help their business when people start going back to places? That in-person thing becomes what nurtures us because we’ve been without it for so long. I think about that all the time because I work in a business where this is all good and well, but it helps for a student to come in and talk to me in person to be able to ask that question. To have events where we’re recognizing student success and things like that, I miss having that. I will be ready for that to be back in our lives.
I agree. There’s that in-person that we miss a lot of that comradery from the sitting around the water cooler aspect that we’ve lost.
Also, having a doughnut in the break room and all of that stuff.
“Did you catch the game? The Jets lost again.” In the end, “What did you do this weekend?” We miss out on that kind of stuff. I agree with that. I also think REI closed its campus. They finished a $7 million project that they’re selling now. Google is shutting down a lot of their offices for people. They issued every employee a $1,000 bonus to go buy office furniture to set up the work from home. You look at what’s going on in universities across the country too. Let’s talk a little bit about that. You’re hearing this and seeing many campuses that are trying to get back to normal, and then COVID slaps some of them across the face a little bit. How do you handle that?
Enrollment numbers are down because there are some students that are not prepared to do this online thing. A community college is a different environment where it’s an affordable institution. In California, I think this winds up being the place of choice for students who either can’t afford or aren’t ready to go to a four-year school right away. For the longest time, I thought of the community college system as the C-team. That could not be further from the truth. There are some amazing faculty that work here but there are still a lot of first-generation low-income students that find their way to community college campuses and they need a lot more support.
When they’re on campus and campuses open, they can get into a computer lab. They can get into the library to use the internet. They don’t have a laptop at home. They don’t have the internet at home. That started becoming obvious to us when we went to close the campus. Some students were like, “I got to take the year off because I don’t have the supplies that I need.” The need to raise emergency funding to help students and get them devices and the internet was a big scramble. The whole concept of students’ basic needs is coming out more than ever. When you go from having an open campus to a closed campus and a completely remote learning environment, some of those issues with students who don’t have what they need to be successful in a remote learning environment has come to the forefront of stuff that we’re doing.
I’ve been more aware of the students’ basic needs now more than ever. We have a food pantry that had to close but we still had students that needed those services. You have to be creative and think on your feet. The foundation that I work at holds the funding for that food pantry. We went to this completely online Target gift card concept. For the students that would normally go to the pantry, we are then putting in their request and getting a Target gift card emailed to them so that they could go to Target. They stand in line to go in and get your stuff. That was a way that we could serve those students’ basic needs at this particular time. I’m sure we’re not the only campus that’s dealing with that.
I have to praise Jesus and thank my boss that I don’t live in housing now or I don’t work in housing now because to be a housing professional in the COVID area has got to be mass insanity, and talk about things changing nonstop. When you’re talking about students living space, you can’t screw around with that. We’re a commuter campus. There’s no housing here. We feel that hard. Campuses that have high housing programs where they rely on that income to fund certain things, that’s tough. Not to rub it in my former colleagues’ faces but I feel grateful that I don’t have that on my plate.
With what we do in the note space, we’re getting into that. College housing has been one of the hardest-hit asset classes out there. It’s still hit hard. It’s not like your traditional multifamily apartments, which still are in the 90% cluster housing. I got a buddy in Arizona. That’s what he focused on primarily. He’s like, “I’m only seeing 60% Faith Group and I can’t evict these people because then I don’t have anybody to move into them either now.” It is right around that same aspect. He’s doing things as you said, gift cards, food pantries, anything to help try to get people to stay in them, and at least pay something versus nothing to help them transition back as things come up. Who would have thought about this a few years ago?
I wished that the swine flu had been a little bit more serious because then we would have at least had some things in the hopper to prepare for this. What I’ve learned the most through all of this is that being flexible is non-negotiable. If you are a person who is rigid like, “It’s my way or the highway or I can’t possibly change,” then you are not going to be successful in this environment. The need to accept flexibility in your life is important.
We all know those people that are inflexible.
We have 1 or 2 in our lives, all of us do.
We got more than 1 or 2. The more seasoned people, not the Generation X or Generation Z, I think we were born into flexibility a little bit because they’re in that transition. Those before that who have a little bit more seasoning in their hair. They’re the ones that have a hard time like, “I got to be on Zoom to get this done. I can’t do it. I’m going to sit down and binge Game of Thrones for two weeks straight to get caught back up on things.”
“I can’t possibly come to a meeting because I don’t know how to do this.” We had enough of that here. There were faculty that weren’t comfortable with email. They were doing everything the old way, papers turned in and stuff like that. That’s not going to fly unless you want to give up your health insurance, then figure it out.
The Texas State University here is the third-largest university in Texas behind the University of Texas. We have a community college, ACC or Austin Community College, the largest university in the country. It’s all computer basic, but at Texas State University, I was in front of the professor that runs journalism there. She’s like, “I love that you’ve been doing virtual events, but we’ve been trying to get my staff.” In January, she came in and met with me at this big event and said, “I would love to sponsor your virtual event but our professors aren’t. They’re not virtual at all.” When everything hit, she said, “They had to get back on board fast. They either were going to do it or they weren’t going to get paid anymore.” That’s what it comes down to.
It was amazing how quickly those decisions had to be made and people had to adjust. I feel like I would be prepared for anything now because we had to. There was no other choice in moving forward.
I bring this up because a lot of times, our normal eight got so sidetracked. We had to learn how to elevate our first date and get that under control before we could roll into the side hustle eight and elevate in your side eight for the most part. Everybody was a part of all these virtual events, how to teach, and how to work better from home. I laughed and I was like, “Everybody’s a workout expert these days. I didn’t know that.”
Who would have thought that Etsy stores would take off because these little masks were going to be important? I was an Amazon person before, but then there are no toilet papers. Where am I going to get my toilet papers? Understanding how important online businesses are and how they contribute to people’s livelihood now, that becomes apparent. People can say what they want about Amazon. They are more a tech company than a retailer, but they’ve been helpful to a lot of people that couldn’t get out of their house or were too afraid to get out of their house. Who would have thought you would figure out ways to use those old cans of spinach and the garbanzo beans that you never thought that you were going to eat?
We all got creative with cooking when there were things at the store we couldn’t get. There have been a lot of silver linings in these skills to learn that we hadn’t planned to have before, ways to improve our processes and make our workspace more productive. We had to learn that, but the biggest silver lining to come out of that is we’ve all got skillsets now that we didn’t have before. That’s not a negative in my book at all. That can only be positive. New skillsets are what make us more marketable. A new skillset is what makes us better at our work and allows us to do more things both at the workplace and outside the workplace. I’m blessed that I’ve been able to develop some of those things. We don’t want any more people to get sick and everything would be great.
Imagine you have a good garbanzo and spinach salad based on those two things.
My hubby does most of the cooking in our house. He got creative at times.
One of the things that you mentioned that I want to bring up is we’ve talked about how you have the groups network if you’re launching your side hustle. A lot of the most important things to help you expedite your success rate is surrounding yourself with people that are going through that same journey. A lot of networking we know is being done online. What are some tips for helping people to find the ideal groups? What are some steps that you would recommend for people to tap into other people that are going on that same journey?
If you’re a 9 to 5 side hustler, you’ve probably got a group that you’ve been connecting with anyway because, where were you learning your job? If you’ve got that Facebook group or that online membership or something like that. Start there but then ask those people where else they’re hanging out. I’m going to give Adam Shively and Allison Melody a ton of credit because they went out of their way to create spaces for people to meet more people, and for it to not feel taxed and stressful. If you’re an introverted person, networking can be difficult. I have loved the opportunities that both of them have provided for me in the way of meeting others and having these opportunities to connect.
If it had not been for Adam’s pod pal chats, I would not have connected with you. I feel like I have this great new resource named Scott Carson who’s also a lot of fun to talk with. Find and test out a couple of those things and figure out a network you’re most comfortable. There are many Facebook groups out there and find a couple that you want to tap into and see where you feel the most comfortable. It’s still about community and the people that are leading the best groups are the ones that understand that. They’re not just looking to post your link for your show up this week and let’s all follow each other but they’re asking questions that create dialogue. Those are the groups that I’ve been blessed to be part of because I feel like I’m interacting there as opposed to throwing a link up and then, “How many people do I need to go follow now?”
I don’t have time to do that but if Allison asks a question like, “What’s been frustrating you the most with your business now?” I go in and answer that and then somebody else might respond, “That’s my exact same thing too. How did you deal with it?” I’ve struck up a conversation with somebody I didn’t know as well to begin with. Those are the places that we want to be looking for and not necessarily join the group that’s the biggest where you think you’re going to make the most connections. Eight times out of ten, the people that are running groups are only looking for numbers and not looking for engagement. I feel bad that that’s the case but that’s been my experience. I’ve gotten out of those groups where I felt like I was somebody else posting a link to a freebie or a show episode.
Those aren’t effective at all. The linkbait is what I like to call them. They are like, “Let’s subscribe to everybody’s channel.” You don’t even know what my podcast is about. Why would you subscribe to my channel? I don’t need that. That’s an important thing that you bring up. Adam and Allison have been big about building groups and connecting with people. That connection aspect of having that conversation of that text message of, “Let’s chat. Let’s get together one night a week or every other week to network and everyone introduced themselves.” When we were there, there were 8, 9 people but it was fun. Everybody in that group is all friends now.
Even those tiny little questions like what’s the most frustrating thing about having a podcast? What’s your favorite Christian Bale movie because he’s on the Hollywood Fuckable list?
What’s your favorite Christian Bale movie?
My favorite Christian Bale movie of all time is probably American Psycho. I thought he should have been nominated for an Academy Award for that movie. I think a lot of people did not get it. You had to read the book and then see the movie to understand how big a deal it was for him to pull that off. I love Leonardo DiCaprio but he could not have been Patrick Bateman. He should have been Anakin Skywalker. If Leo had been Anakin Skywalker, that would have been such a more successful franchise. I’ve gotten pigeonholed to poor baby Hayden Christiansen. Darth Vader is not that wimpy.
I glad you bring that up because there has been that fair share of people out there that come up with every bullshit excuse of why they can’t succeed. That’s why I wanted to have you on here. That’s why I want to tie that back in here. A lot of people have given up like, “The political people have a different opinion than me. I could never post in that group. I can’t find people to launch that because I tried one time and I failed beforehand.” I get sick of that and as I like to say, the Debbie Downers out there that we have to get rid of and remove from our group.
It’s not hard work but you do have to work hard. I said this on Adam’s Show, hard work is working at the chicken plant, being in the military or retail. Podcasting is not hard work. A lot of entrepreneurial pursuits are not hard to work, but you do have to work hard and that’s the difference.
Kris, what’s the best way for people to find more about what you’re doing or check out and order your book?
The book is on Amazon and it’s called The 9-to-5 Side Hustler. You can type in my name and you’ll find it. My website is KrisMcPeak.com. You can also find my new podcast landing page on ElevateYour8.com. I highly recommend that you go to that as well because there are all kinds of goodies on that page.
Kris, this has been fun.
We have to do this every week because you’re one of my favorite people to talk to now. It’s like I’m hanging out with my best friend or my brother. I feel strongly about that. Thank you, Adam, for bringing Scott Carson into my life.
Kris, thank you for coming on delivering and having a great fun time here. Go out, have some fun, and we look forward to seeing you later.
Let’s wrap it up for this episode, check out her book and her podcast. Go out and take some action. We’ll see you at the top. Bye.
- Kris McPeak
- Elevate Your 8
- Making “Work” Work For You
- Elevate Your 8
- I Will Teach You To Be Rich
- The 9-to-5 Side Hustler: A Guide to Balancing Your Day Job with Your Small Business
About Kris McPeak:
Kris McPeak from SilverPeak Development is a self-appointed 9-to-5 Side Hustler. In her day job, she’s spent 25 years in Higher Education and her side hustle activities include writing, podcasting, and coaching. She runs a non-profit US Masters Swim Team with her hubby, Charles, in Southern California. Her passion for career coaching and productivity began during her experience of working at 9 different colleges and universities in 7 different states.
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