Career Advice/ Entrepreneurship/ Freelancing

How to Start a Side Hustle While Working Full-time

When most of us think of taking the bold and brazen nosedive into the world of entrepreneurship, we assume such a feat requires turning in our resignation notice to our day job, but that’s not always the (wisest) case.

Many entrepreneurs – nearly 15% of small business owners– work a second job to keep their startup afloat. Its’ rare for a new business to be adequately profitable in Year One to cover all the entrepreneur’s living expenses.

​In fact, only one of my for profit entities were “adequately” profitable within its first year to pay my bills (including health insurance); most took two or three years, and a few never saw any profit.

Such is the world of entrepreneurship. 

Given the flummoxed state of one’s startup’s financial performance, starting a side hustle while holding down a full-time job can be a great way to test the market, launch your business idea, and gain some traction before it’s just you, your business, and an overdue mortgage. ​

Here are five tips for starting a side hustle, while working full-time:

​Pick a Passion

When trying to decide what your side hustle should be, a good rule of thumb is to pick something you’re good at and people want to buy.  Most people have a few passions that would make excellent side hustles, so narrowing down the list can be a little daunting. Chances are your business will evolve over time, as the market changes and you gain experience, so don’t get hung-up on the whole “what should I start?”

Check out 99 Side Hustle Business Ideas You Can Start Today from our friends at Side Hustle Nation.

​Automate & Delegate

With so many plates spinning (full-time job, side hustle, life), you’re not going to have time to do all “the things”.  But no worries – someone else (or some software program) can do it for you. Inventory all the
“stuff” related to your side hustle and your personal life that you struggle to get done. An example listing may include things like: house cleaning, invoicing clients, digital marketing, etc.  Review your list and make note of things you can outsource via automation or delegation.

Check out our blog post 3 Tips for Automating Your Business for automation tools and resources.

​Set Hustle Hours

Just like you clock in and out at the ol’ “9-to-5”, it’s important to maintain set working hours for your side hustle. While every hustler is different, setting a schedule like Tuesday – Thursday from 8 PM – 10 PM, and Saturday from 10 AM – 2 PM can be a great way to reserve 10+ hours a week for your startup. Once you’ve got your hours set, stick to it!

Consider using a time tracking app like DeskTime or Harvest to keep track of your side hustle hours.

​Triage, Triage, Triage

You aren’t going to have all the time you “need” to devote to your side hustle like you would a full-time job; accept it – there’s only 24 hours in the day and you’ve got to find time to sleep in there somewhere. That’s okay – you can get the important “stuff” done with a little to-do list triaging. When making your daily/weekly/monthly to-do lists, prioritize your outstanding projects in order of importance.

Need help planning your productivity? Join the MotivatedGenY Network (it’s free!) and download your copy of the Entrepreneur’s Productivity Hacker.

​Notify Your Network

While such recommendations may be case-by-case (some employers frown on employees working a side hustle), as a general rule, you shouldn’t be hesitant to reach out to your existing network and let them know about your new side hustle. Update your LinkedIn, post pictures of your work on social media, and start an e-mail list. The more people that know, the better.

Check out our blog post 7 Networking Apps for the Millennial Professional for more time efficient tips on growing your side hustle through networking.

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