Though the reasons a full-timer might take on a side hustle vary widely, the challenges are universal. In the age of Uber and the Great Recession, the scale of the freelance community continues to grow year over year, with over 35 percent of the U.S. workforce engaging in some sort of freelance work in 2016.
For some, the side hustle is purely the means to an economic end. If you’re one of the 46 percent of Americans who is underemployed, that second gig may be your only hope for chipping away at those student loans or indeed for making rent.
The traditional Baby Boomer career trajectory, lined with comfortable pensions and the livable wages of neatly hedged 40-hour work weeks, is on the decline. Today’s professional may seek security through diversifying and supplementing sources of income.
Among those who find themselves on a career path they hadn’t necessarily envisioned—the intellectually underemployed—a passion project that brings in some extra dollars helps feed the soul and makes the monotony of the 9-to-5 less likely to result in arson.
To all the part-time-preneurs, bloggers, Sunday picklers, and pre-dawn yoga instructors out there, behold the Hustle&Co. guide for balancing a full-time job with a side hustle—from someone who’s doin’ it rn.
Is it worth it? Let me work it.
Before diving in, make sure that honey pot is sweet enough to justify committing a good chunk of your otherwise “free time” to your side gig.
Bear in mind, of course, that there are plenty of ways to measure its worth, and it’s important to cultivate a clear understanding of your personal objectives for a given project. It might pay handsomely, build your experience in a new skill or discipline you hope to break into full time, satisfy your passions, or simply finance your creative but costly hobby.
Whatever the objective, make sure the gig’s incentives are well aligned.
Whatever the objective, make sure the gig’s incentives are well aligned. Click To Tweet
Make time—don’t find it.
With competing responsibilities, it won’t always be easy to get everything done. When you have a deadline or a dollar amount you need to hit, carve out your designated work time in advance.
While that advice falls under the “water is wet” category on one front, it will also help you maintain some healthy boundaries and avoid disruptions to your personal life, in turn making your side hustle more sustainable.
Plus, if you proactively allocate your work hours, you’ll use them more efficiently and be less prone to dawdling in Instagram rabbit holes, procrastinatory zit popping sessions, and other distractions that can turn a two-hour project into a five-hour blotchy, FOMO’d out mess.
You’ll also come to understand the actual value of your time more clearly, which will help you set rates, goals, and expectations in future projects.
Lastly, maintaining structure around your side gig will help stave off burnout and over-commitment once you calibrate how much work is realistically manageable for you.
“I’ve made a huge mistake.”
Your razor sharp street smarts wouldn’t let you fall for a Nigerian prince phone scam, and neither should they let you fall into any professional agreement with unsavory characters.
If you’re counting on your side hustle for cash, take the time to vet collaborators and clients for transparency and accountability to the best of your ability. You don’t need to spend precious time chasing down deliverables and payments from flaky, disorganized, or dishonest associates.
Finally, for your own sake and for that of anyone whose social media presence falls remotely within your sphere of influence, steer clear of side hustles that are, well, a hustle. Do not, for any reason, agree to sling tacky nail wraps, body wraps, or anything that requires an up-front “starter kit” investment. These multi-level marketing schemes are far more likely to result in debt and strained friendships than financial freedom or entrepreneurial experience. No matter how appealing the pitch, it’s still lipstick on a pig.
Need more motivation? Hear from seven movers and shakers who turned their side hustles into their full-time careers.
Over to you—how do you make your side hustle work for you? Drop us a line below.