It’s pretty cool when you can make money on the side doing something you’re passionate about — and these days, many of us are doing just that. An incredible 45% of Americans have side hustles, according to a survey from Bankrate, which also showed that 30% of side-hustlers use the income from their side gig to pay for living expenses. But even if you’re just using your side-gig income for mad money (or better yet, savings!) keeping up with the demands of a second job can be demanding if you don’t know how to manage all of your responsibilities.
Thankfully, there are a few easy ways to juggle all your jobs without losing your cool or running on empty.
Don’t Let Your Side Hustle Take Over Your Life
While it’s OK (and exciting!) to be “all in” when you’re first starting your side hustle, your enthusiasm in those first few months probably shouldn’t become your permanent pace. “It’s not healthy for any job to consume so much of your time, which is why scheduling and setting realistic expectations are key,” says Bankrate’s Amanda Dixon.
You should put pen to paper and decide exactly how much time you’re going to dedicate to your side gig, and prioritize what you want to tackle first. If you’re hustling in the hours after you leave your full-time job, keep in mind that it is possible to overdo it. If you find you’re struggling to squeeze in gym time, for example, you may be devoting too much time to your side gig.
“You should pick a very specific time or task and say, ‘This is my time block’,” says Maddy Osman, co-founder of Freelancers Union Spark. “Try to have a good understanding of how long certain tasks are going to take. It may help to overestimate so it doesn’t cause you to feel overwhelmed or rushed. Always plan ahead, and don’t go to sleep without knowing what you have to get done tomorrow.”
FIND A MENTOR OR A NICHE COMMUNITY
Having a side hustle is like working two jobs, and the time and effort it takes to succeed doing this is not something everyone understands. “It helps to have support and someone to talk to when you’re hitting a roadblock or a mastermind group whom you can commiserate with,” Osman says.
These days, there’s a Facebook group for just about everything, including hard-working entrepreneurs like yourself. So do a little recon and find a group that fits your niche or one that was designed for side hustlers in your same line of work. Joining a like-minded community to find your tribe will help you better manage your stress as well as lead you to helpful advice and tips.
DON’T MIX YOUR DAY JOB WITH YOUR SIDE HUSTLE
As tempting as it may be, try your best not to bring your work from your personal business to your full-time job. “It’s OK to do stuff for your side hustle on your lunch break if you need to, but you can’t be working on other projects during the hours you’re being paid to work your full-time job,” Osman says. “It’s unethical.”
If your side hustle requires you to maintain a public social media presence, it may be a good idea to be upfront about your gig with your employer. Doing so will keep things from getting awkward if your boss accidentally stumbles across details on your other company.
“Working secretly and not being open can easily blow up in your face and hurt your prospects at your full-time job,” Dixon says. Establishing boundaries and being clear with your full time employer that you won’t be conducting side hustle tasks during your day job is one way to make sure everyone is cool with your budding entrepreneurship.
CONSERVE YOUR ENERGY
When you are passionate about a side project, it can be hard to regulate just how much time you’re logging building your business. We all know that time passes differently when you’re on your laptop at home — but try to treat your side gig the same way you would your full-time job, and make points to take breaks for dinner, Netflix, and the like. When you step away from your work, you allow your mind and body to rest and rejuvenate.
BE SELECTIVE WITH YOUR SPENDING
We’ve all heard the age old phrase,“You have to spend money to make money,” but when it comes to your side hustle, this isn’t necessarily the case. Keep careful records of your side hustle expenses and make sure that what you are spending to build your business is a necessity. Taxing your personal finances to keep your side job afloat can set you back financially, so be mindful about how much you’re investing.
At the same time, “Don’t be afraid to outsource and hire help if you need it,” Osman says. “Investments like these can help your business avoid hiccups.” Sure, you know how to manage your social media channels, but do you really understand what goes into a full-scale marketing strategy? Sometimes you need to hire a specialist to ensure your side hustle business puts its best foot forward.
KNOW WHEN TO TO SAY WHEN
Sometimes your heart really does point you in the right direction. “If you feel like your passion project is becoming a problem and you’re no longer excited about it, it could be a sign you’re overwhelmed,” Osman says. When you lose your focus or your drive to maintain your side hustle, you may come to realize that the stress of juggling the extra hours just isn’t worth the rate of return — financially or emotionally.
If you’re feeling stressed, take a step back and reevaluate what you’re trying to accomplish. Take a look at how much time you’re dedicating to your side gig and be honest with yourself about how much value it’s adding to your life. Sometimes, it’s just not worth the extra cash, and this doesn’t mean you failed — on the contrary, it just means you’re in tune with your priorities, which is a wonderful thing.
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