Going Solo. 6. Make a decision.

Hey. How’s it going?

Last week, I promised that this week, we were going to make a decision. To be honest, if you are reading this post, then I suspect that you have already made your choice. However, I want to put a rational framework around what is probably an emotional desire.

The story so far

Let’s put aside emotion. In posts 1&2 we looked at what we wanted to do and why. I made some annoying statements about having a swim during work time, and working at the beach. In 3&4, we examined the resources we need, time and money. Last week, we delved into the bear-traps, the downsides.

Read through your notes. Can you do this?

Try this as an exercise. If you were reading these notes, made by a friend, would you advise them to go for it?


At this point, I urge you to take a deep breath. Really think on this. Going solo is not for everyone. It isn’t. Some people thrive on uncertainty. Others loathe it. To make something work, you will be investing that most precious of commodities, time.

It may be that this is not the right moment. If that’s the case, great! The process that you have undertaken is not wasted; far from it. It has probably saved you a lot of time, energy and possibly even cash. Simply set a reminder to revisit your notebook some time hence. Things change. Ideas evolve.

Every individual will see this differently. You may feel that your side project will only require a couple of hours a week and that you have that time available. You may be happy to give it a go, accepting that you may quickly tire and give up.

However, in my experience, side-hustles only work with 100% commitment. If I feel 90% about an idea, then I don’t do it. I keep it on hold. Be honest with yourself. Life is not a rehearsal.


Alright. Next week, we get on with it. I assume that we are committed, and that we are going to get started.

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Going Solo. 4. Where will you find the time?


The finite resource. You spend some of your time earning money to fund your life. We spend yet more time sleeping, eating, and drinking.

You need to find the time to follow your dream. Time that might otherwise be spent with loved ones or on other things. In my opinion, this is the single biggest sacrifice that you will need to make if you want to go solo. There is an often used trope:

“Don’t say that you don’t have time. You have the same hours in the day as Albert Einstein/Jonny Ive/Nelson Mandela/Insert overachiever here.”

There’s truth in this. We all have multiple demands on our time. We make choices. Assuming that you are keeping your day job and starting a side-hustle, then you have to choose to spend some of your leisure time differently.


Pick a page, say 10 pages before the end of your book. Write “Time Audit” at the top and in the index. Next Monday, account for every hour of the day on this page. On Tuesday do the same on the next. You can get as granular as you like with this, and there are all manner of electronic methods too – Toggl springs to mind, and I use one called Harvest. The Tech companies are pretty good about showing you your device usage if you care to look for it. We’re just trying to get an honest understanding of where our time is currently spent.

For example – my morning looks like this so far.

  • Up at 0600
  • Dog 0:20
  • Social Catchup 0:15
  • Swim 0:30
  • Journal 0:10
  • Business – Suppliers 1:05
  • Journal 0:20
  • Writing 1:00

I don’t try to account for every minute, whether I spend 6 minutes or 8 minutes on a coffee doesn’t interest me. We all need those minutes in-between, “margin” as some writers call them.

At the end of the week, revisit each page and tot up where your time is going. Again – be honest. You’re not publishing this anywhere, it’s for you. Most people I know come across one or two categories that surprise them. Social media and that wonderful phrase, “content consumption” often come up.


Looking at your week, where can you find the time that you could reassign to the side-hustle? An hour in the morning before the household wakes? On your commute? As part of your lunch break? Instead of Game of Thrones or Fortnight? Something has got to give. It can be tempting to look at sleep. “I’ll just go to bed an hour later.” Be very careful. Sleep is important, you need it to function at your best and starting a new business, you want to be at your best.


If you share your life with one or more people, then you need to discuss your plans with them. You will need their support going forward, and this is the time to get buy-in.

At the end of the week, you should have an idea of where you can find the time to dedicate each week, and at what point in the week. You will know what you are setting aside to achieve this, and, if relevant, you have support of those with whom you live.

This is beginning to look possible, isn’t it?

My writing is supported by people like you. Membership costs £12 per year. For this princely sum, you will get access to subscriber only posts, direct access to a members chatroom , and a digital copy of any and all work that I publish in the year. Become a member.

21st Century Entrepreneur

I’m collecting business cards. Not other peoples’, just my own. I’m a 21st Century Entrepreneur.

There’s a buttoned-up corporate card for my work in anti money laundering. I have an awesome one for Nero’s Notes, featuring a cartoon of the little man himself. Finally, there is even a cool card that accompanies this site.

Stuart Lennon, business card

In reality, a case could be made for a few more cards: I co-host a podcast, 1857, with TJ Cosgrove of Wood & Graphite. Additionally, I record my day on Anchor, making another podcast. I’m experimenting with video, largely for Nero’s Notes, and looking at several other projects.

21st Century Entrepreneur

Apart from being great news for business card printers, this proliferation of roles is increasingly widespread. Everyone has a ‘passion project’, a ‘side-gig’. It’s entirely possible to work for the council by day and be an entrepreneur by night. It has always been possible. Increasingly though, it’s the norm.

This is brilliant. I love the fact that people are finding outlets for their entrepreneurial creativity and making it available for others.

Technology makes this possible and it’s a great way to find balance in life.

Taking on Pocket Notebooks (now Nero’s Notes) has introduced me to a whole new range of activities which intrigue me. I’m learning about digital media, analogue tools, social networks and IT. Customers continue to surprise and delight me, and business partners both drive me mad and make me laugh.

The Novel

There remains, of course, the novel. Two manuscripts have be resting in a drawer for a year now, but they have increasingly been whispering to me as I pass by. I feel certain that I will pull them out for a read some time soon. Does an entrepreneur write, edit and publish a novel? I don’t see why not.