Please welcome Laura to the H&G blog! She has a great post about how to successfully balance a side hustle while working a crazy-busy full-time job. Implement her three strategies and you’ll never fail…
If you are like me, then being in your current day job can be frustrating at times. You might know that you are absolutely not a fit to work in this particular industry or position but it can be frustrating to figure out how to incorporate your side hustle while you are working a day job.
Of course, those individuals who are juggling numerous priorities certainly have more challenges than someone who is only trying to handle one thing at a time. However, let me tell you that it’s absolutely possible to balance your full-time job and your side hustle, depending on the amount of hours you are putting into the industry you are in.
I can say this because I balanced my freelance writing business part-time for 12 months before I left my full-time job.
Even though I had met and surpassed my day job income within three months of becoming a freelance writer, I wanted a year’s worth of income statements under my belt to be able to know what slow seasons I’d need to weather as a freelance writer.
What follows are my best tips for juggling your priorities when you have multiple things on your plate.
Know That You Cannot Accomplish Everything
Although it can be easy to dream about the full-time potential of working for yourself, it can be hard to actually put this into reality when you are juggling other responsibilities. This goes not just for individuals who are carrying a full-time job while also working on their side projects but it also goes for parents who have responsibilities caring for kids or individuals who are caring for any kind of family member or other responsibility that takes up a good chunk of their time.
Be realistic about what you can accomplish:
For example, if a client were to have approached me with the desire to write a 50,000-word book in a month while I was still working my day job, I probably would have had to turn it down or adjust their expectations.
This is because you don’t want to overwhelm yourself and get more frustrated.
One thing you’ll learn as you carry out a side hustle is that in an ideal situation, your responsibilities associated with that side project will ultimately bleed over so much that you will have to make a choice between the your job or your side hustle.
This certainly happened for me. Juggling the schedule that I kept for 12 months became exhausting and I began to be concerned about missing deadlines towards the end of my tenure at my day job.
Knowing that you have limits as a person is essential for putting together the right structure.
You might go into working on your side hustle for example, with the intention to work on it five nights a week and every hour of the weekend but this is unlikely to be feasible.
You’ll need down time for yourself as well as time to accomplish other aspects of life like grocery shopping and laundry. If you are carrying on any kind of creative endeavor too, you’ll need your mental energy to be on point when you work on your side hustle and even potentially at your day job.
This is why it is important to have realistic expectations up front.
Let Your Side Hustle Clients or Contractors Know Your Limitations, If Necessary
It’s not always necessary to tell a client that you do have a full-time job but it can be beneficial so that they have reasonable expectations up front. For example, I know many virtual assistants who work as a VA during their off hours but they are not reachable during typical business hours because they have another job.
Letting their clients know this upfront minimizes the chances that the client will get frustrated that they haven’t received a phone call or email back. This allows the virtual assistants to be specific about the types of jobs they will take, focusing only on those that they can complete during these off hours aka their side hustle hours.
Many companies who work with freelancers do not expect you to be accessible 24/7, but it can be good to lay down some guidelines up front so that they know when it is and is not okay to communicate with you.
Having clear communication guidelines at the outset of any relationship whether it’s with your own contractors helping you with your side hustle or your own clients can be extremely helpful.
Determine a Schedule That Works for You, Not Against You
Commit to spending, for example, two nights per week working on your business goals. As you get more experienced you will know the hours at which you are most productive and the times you are most likely to be working.
Batching your activities is one great way to accomplish your goals:
For example, if you were to work every Tuesday and Thursday night, perhaps every Tuesday you focus on delivering things for your clients and every Thursday you work on marketing activities or other administrative tasks associated with the business.
As the business grows, you may need to add in more hours or more days that you spend working but you also want to be sensitive to when your calendar is becoming too full.
This can be one of the biggest challenges for individuals balancing a side hustle while they are holding a full-time job because you must know when you are reaching your limit.
You will be reaching your limit when you find yourself waking up extremely early in the morning or working on personal projects during your lunch hour just to stay caught up.
This can be a sign that it’s time to re-evaluate whether or not you want to continue with your day job at all or to scale back your other side business.
Having a side business while you work a full-time job is in some ways the best of both worlds. You have a regular paycheck coming in from your day job but you also have the excitement and passion that you often find when you meet new entrepreneurs and business owners.
Make that passion work for you and commit to a schedule that is reasonable and meaningful for you and your business.
Following the tips above will help you keep your sanity and grow your business to the point that you would like it to be at while you are managing a full-time job.
If you are ultimately hoping to transition away from your day job, you can also use these tips to identify when it’s time to make that critical decision and launch out on your own.