Meghan Markle arguably came to fame when she landed a lead role on Suits, but she's no stranger to side hustles and the gig economy.

Which should come as no surprise. Side hustles are incredibly common: An estimated 44 million people in the U.S. have a side hustle; that's over six times the number of workers who hold multiple jobs. (In part that's because the administrative process of launching a side hustle is easy; it only takes a few hours to set up your own small business.)

In 2005 Meghan did the calligraphy for the wedding of Robin Thicke and Paula Patton; during that time she was also teaching people how to wrap gifts at a stationery store and working as a hostess at a restaurant. She was in a Tori Amos video (as part of a crowd at the edge of the frame, but still.)

She was a briefcase opener on Deal or No Deal.

She appeared briefly in an episode of General Hospital. And on Cuts. She played "Hot Girl" in the Ashton Kutcher movie A Lot Like Love.

In short, she hustled, and side-hustled, and grinded... and as a result was prepared to take advantage of the opportunity provided by Suits.

Still, she stayed true to her side-hustle roots. She launched the lifestyle site Tig (shutting it down when her relationship with Harry became public.) She became a global ambassador for World Vision Canada, and works with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. 

And along the way amassed a net worth of approximately $5 million.

As Meghan says, "I've never wanted to be a lady who lunches. I've always wanted to be a woman who works."

Meghan knows what millions of people around the world know. A side hustle gives you greater confidence. A side hustle makes you less dependent on your day job. The income from a side hustle gives you greater freedom and flexibility. A side hustle lets you develop new skills, new connections, new relationships, new interests... 

Think of it this way: If you want to get really, really rich, starting your own business is the best way. If you want your upside to be unlimited, starting your own business is the best way. If you want to be free to chart your own course, to make your own decisions, to make your own mistakes... to let the sky be the limit not just financially but also, and more important, personally, starting your own business is the best way.

Don't say you don't have the time. Everyone has the same amount of time. The only difference is what you're willing to do with yours.

Don't say you don't have the money. As Growthink founder Dave Lavinsky says, being an entrepreneur is the art and science of accomplishing more with less -- less money, less staff, less time, etc.  You can't always control what you have, but you can control what you do with what you have. 

Early on Meghan bootstrapped her acting career, driving from audition to audition to audition. But then, "The locks stopped opening with the key," she said. "And the clicker wouldn't open the front doors... so what I would start to do is literally go to these auditions, park at the back of the parking lot and I would open my trunk... and crawl into the back of my car to the front seat to drive off to my next audition. This, by the way, went on for five months."

Don't say you're scared. Every entrepreneur is scared. (Or at least should be.) You can either let your fears hold you back... or use those fears as fuel to do whatever it takes to succeed.

Even if you don't succeed -- this time -- that's okay. The effort won't be wasted. You'll learn. You'll grow. You'll expand your horizons. You'll stretch yourself, push yourself, find yourself in difficult positions... and that's okay: Growth only occurs when you're uncomfortable.

And often when you're willing to do what no one else is willing to do. 

That's what successful side hustlers -- and successful entrepreneurs -- do: They are willing to do what other people are not willing to do. They take on tasks others won't. They stay when others leave. They grind when others quit.

Most importantly, they start when others wait.

You can't accomplish any difficult goal overnight, but you can take one step, however small, towards that goal.

Do just one thing that will help get you there. That you can do -- and can keep doing.

And that's what, over time, will make you successful. 

Maybe even royal... at least in that you will rule your own life.

Which could just be the perfect way to define success.

Published on: Jun 6, 2018
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