Generating Ideas for the Side Hustle by Allison McFadden

The Desert Muses is thrilled to announce its first monthly guest blogger. Please help me welcome voice over actor Allison McFadden.


When asked what you do for a living, have you ever answered, “I’m not sure?”

It’s not that I sustained a head injury and have amnesia. And it’s not that I’m even making a living. Not on my own yet, anyway. Luckily, my husband is a thriving freelance graphic designer. I used to be the one with the solid job, vacation and health insurance that was a safety net for us both for a period of time. That’s until 2013 rolled around. I won’t go into the details of losing my job. That story is recounted in my contributing chapter of Strengthen Your Wings: Amazing Stories for the Journey, an Amazon Best Seller in Motivational Self-Help; an anthology of inspiring tales involving adopting various attitudes.

I’m now “one of those people” who swim in the flow of opportunity from one job to another, trying to settle into something solid providing sustainable income and fulfilling my life’s purpose. Yet in hindsight, even working at one company for that 25-year span, loyally and stoically, I reinvented myself, changing departments and roles multiple times.

So, have I always been some sort of Jill-of-many-trades-master-of-none?


Think Positive Magazine

I like to be pun-ny and say “In Act II of my life I’ve become a voice actor.” Truthfully, I’m having a career and purpose identity crisis and realizing I am now a bit of a “dabbler.” I do believe everyone should have a side-hustle. I commit to the universe that I’ll be open, flexible and willing to receive opportunities and ideas that inspire me. It’s fun to be an idea-generator. I’m excited about the wide-open spaces of creativity and possibilities I am now free to come up with and pursue if I choose. It’s a vital practice to clear out one’s mental clutter by getting those ideas out and recorded somewhere, to be evaluated as to what is actionable.

As a birthday present to myself, I bought a Domo bank at a local comic book store just for this purpose. Domo is the brown, square-shaped, teeth-bared Japanese anime character with which I share a love of TV. He inspires me with his randomness and quirkiness, yet unlike him, I don’t have a fear of apples. I write all my ideas and goals down on Post-It notes, fold them up and deposit them inside Domo for later review, along with any fortunes from cracked open fortune cookies.  It’s wonderful to ceremoniously open up Domo to see what goals I’ve achieved from prior months or what ideas still seem viable to pursue.


Caption: Domo is “a strange creature that hatched from an egg, with a large, saw-toothed mouth that is locked wide open, giving him [an underlying sense of fascination.] Domo is known to flatulate repeatedly when nervous or upset, and he has a strong dislike for apples, because of an unexplained mystery in his DNA. Domo can only communicate by producing a low-pitched noise, which sounds somewhat like his own name.”

My other technique for instant brain dumping wherever I am is using an app, such as iPhone’s Reminder App where I create multiple lists and record ideas into each.


Now, if I can only clear the hurdle of resistance to pursue some of my more challenging ideas, I’d be moving forward faster. Resistance holds me back from taking risks, failing, learning, growing, and leading me to my special purpose.

Here’s a great book among many that has inspired me: The War of Art, by Stephen Pressfield. Want to be called out on the ways you resist doing the work you’re supposed to be doing right now, like organizing your sock drawer or emptying the dishwasher instead of writing or doing your art, craft or skill? Then this is the book for you!


Allison McFadden lives in Dallas, Texas, with her husband and two Main Coon cat brothers, often sequestered for hours on end, recording and editing her own voice in a converted closet studio. She looks forward to developing where her intuition leads her on her next side hustle and life’s purpose journey, yet to be revealed.

Be sure to connect with him/her at Allison McFadden’s books can be found in [digital and/or paperback] formats on/at Strengthen Your Wings: Amazing Stories for the Journey.