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How can you make your side job become your main job?

Recorded – watch the full episode on YouTube.

‌After years though of working Patreon and Netflix, you obviously had a choice somewhere. Something decided I've had enough of this iOS gig now. I want to switch and go YouTube full-time. What happened there? Why then?

Mayuko Inoue: It kind of happened even before I was at Netflix, to be completely honest with you. Kind of towards the end of my tenure at Patreon, I was a little bit like “what do I want to do next?” To me I really enjoyed my time at Patreon because for those of you don't know Patreon is a startup in San Francisco that helps creators get paid for the work that they do through memberships. I was just so jazzed about working there. The culture was great. The people that I worked with was amazing. And so after I had spent my time there, I was just like, “what do I do now?” I worked at a company that heavily aligns with my interests, my personal interests.

And so I was like, "Well, I know I don't want to work at Patreon anymore," just because it felt like my time was up. I was done. The company was changing in ways that made me think maybe I don't want to stick around for this. And so I decided: I guess I'm going to leave my job.

But at that time I felt like there was no way I'm going to leave this job and not have another one lined up. So that's when I started talking to Jordanna at Netflix and I was just like, "Hey, I don't really know what I want to do, but I think Netflix could be really cool because it's completely different from what I've done in the past.” At Patreon I was on a team of three iOS developers, and Netflix had 15 – and it's a much bigger product obviously, with a bigger code base.

"I don't know that I find the same fulfillment in my job as working as an iOS developer as I have in my side gig as a YouTuber."

So then I got the job at Netflix and I was like, "let's just be open-minded and see what happens." There was a point in which I though maybe I want to go into management a little bit because I do like working with people, but still in sort of a technical aspect. But at the same time I wasn’t sure if that was what I wanted to be doing.

I don't know that I find the same fulfillment in my job as working as an iOS developer as I have in my side gig as a YouTuber. On YouTube, because of the videos that I make, I get a lot of DMs and comments and stuff about people who are in college doing computer science or who were looking to do that career change. And a lot of people messaged me and said, "your videos have really helped me to get into the right mindset." Or, "It helped me to get a job." And I know I'm making a difference through just the videos I make at my house by myself.

And so the fulfillment was really massive, and my channel's doing well. At that point I think I had 200 and something thousand subscribers – that doesn't happen to everybody. What would happen if I really put some effort into this and actually try to post regularly? Because there were times where I didn't post for three months because life was intense. And I just started toying with that idea.

It was at the end of 2019 that I was like, "You know what? I'm going to do it." Before I made any of that decision, I had to figure out whether I could sustain myself financially to do this – it's really scary for me to go from a full-time job with salary and healthcare to not having that, but I have to credit my husband because he has a full-time job and we talked about it a lot and he said, “yeah, you can do this. We're fine."

We did a lot of projections and talking about whether they were going to be okay in doing this. And so then it was a matter of whether I wanted to do it. And at a certain point I knew: yes, I do – I really do want to do this. I wanted to try this out and build my own channel and business sooner rather than later because I knew I have the energy for it right now. I have the hunger for it right now, and so I wanted to strike while the iron was hot.

"That was a big reason for why I went into computer science, even though it was like, "I don't know how to code at all, but I heard this thing pays well."

And so I left my job at Netflix, almost exactly a year from now. I took some time off to just chill and rest. I was also dealing with some really intense anxiety at the time, so I was just recovering from all of that as well. And then around March time I really caught on, I was just like, "All right, let's try it out." It also really helped me that I thought to myself I was going to try this for six months and see if it works. If it doesn't work, then I will consider going back to Netflix or iOS developer job, whatever. But I'm going to keep reassessing whether this made sense.

And so I did, and it did keep making sense – thank goodness! And so that's how it happened. It feels like a huge jump, but in fact there were just so many points of consideration and, "Does this make sense?" Questions, plus some spreadsheets and some milestones to really assess whether this was still in fact a good idea, even after I had made the jump. And I'm still here, so I'm feeling pretty good about it.

Paul Hudson: It's interesting that I think externally folks can look at someone who's successful and think, “wow, they've got this all planned out. They've got it all nailed!” When actually you've said spreadsheets, you've spread planning, you said “lucky” quite a few times – there's no grand plan bringing things together. Often it's about putting in some work, taking some risks, being in the right place at the right time.

It's fairly simple stuff when it comes down to it. You've got this big spreadsheet and yes, the numbers are green. That's a good sign, they're not red. And it's actually that easy sometimes. Obviously it's a lot of work to get to that point, but sometimes it is just a bit of risk, a bit of planning and a bit of being lucky.

Mayuko Inoue: 100%. I think it was also just so much of a mental shift in my mind to allow myself to do this too. I'm a child of immigrants, and so when I was in high school my parents made it clear I can do whatever you want but I had to make sure you can financially sustain myself once I was out of college, because they can’t. That was a big reason for why I went into computer science, even though it was like, "I don't know how to code at all, but I heard this thing pays well." And so I went into that.

"I have a backup plan, I have a safety plan in case this doesn't work." And I allowed my passion or drive and positive thinking to inform what I really wanted to do."

So my whole six years as a software developer was pretty risk-averse. But at the same time, I wanted to stay authentic and true to myself, which is why I hopped to different companies to try to figure out, “do I enjoy doing this at least?" And I did – the whole time I really enjoyed what I was doing. But when it came time to figure out whether I wanted to make this jump, it really was I had to basically shed this value that I had for 20-something years out of my brain and be okay with it. Which honestly, I had a really bad panic attack right around the time that I had decided to do it, just because my whole world was shaken. It was basically just like, “girl, you do realize you're putting yourself in so much danger right now.”

And it was 20 years of conditioning my brain to that point. Which is honestly where therapy really helped again, because it was just like, “okay, is this as big of a risk as my brain is saying it is? Is there a monster actually coming to eat me? And is that why my adrenaline goes crazy every few minutes? No. I have a backup plan, I have a safety plan in case this doesn't work.” And I allowed my passion or drive and positive thinking to inform what I really wanted to do.

I knew I was going to be scared of setting out on my own no matter what, but if this was something that I wanted to do, then I wanted to do it. And so I did. And it was scary, but now I'm looking back on it I'm so glad that I did that work, and I'm so glad that, even though I was terrified of it, I was able to overcome it. And so it's one of the things that I'm most proud of in my journey. More so than some of the videos that I've made and stuff, I'm just proud of the personal challenges that I was able to overcome. And the hurdles mentally that I was able to do, which are completely invisible to anybody who's not in my mind, unless I talk about it.

This transcript was recorded as part of Swiftly Speaking. You can watch the full original episode on YouTube, or subscribe to the audio version on Apple Podcasts.

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