How To Master The 'Side Hustle'
Side hustle. If you're hip on the latest buzzwords, you've probably heard that term once or twice before. Though millennials are being hailed the masters of of it, the truth is, this isn't something exclusive to those born after 1982.... and it's not really new, either.
Let's face it: we can't all live our passions, particularly right out of college, while simultaneously raising a family, or while we're trying to make ends meet and have bills to pay.
Some of the savviest of business people discovered their true callings out of a side hustle, and the financial benefits of monetizing something you love is obvious. Whether it's freelance writing, photography, an Etsy shop, or my niche of social media and consulting, almost anyone can benefit from a side hustle. Though it may be easy to pick a skill and dream of someday making money off of it, the how is usually a bit more difficult. Keep reading to learn how I manage my 9-5, my personal life, and my "side hustle".
Become a Planner
If you're not one already, you have to learn to be - quick. When I was freelancing full-time, I'd have long mornings and plan my day out over a cup of coffee. Today, everything moves at hyper speed, and lazing around before getting to the office just isn't an option.
To make my life easier, everything I do is scheduled. The calls I take are scheduled. The dinner dates I attend are scheduled. My Tweets (personal and business) are scheduled. This blog post? Probably scheduled. Besides just writing things down, I also find it very useful to utilize both of my work calendars (for my side hustle, I use Google) so I get notifications, easily send meeting invites, and can have a visual representation of what my weeks look like.
Stop Watching TV
There's a lot of bad things you can say about people of my generation, but one thing I'm proud of is that unlike our parents, most of us don't plan our evenings around a television set. Since moving out of my mother's house at 18 I haven't had cable, so this step was easy for me, but it's not impossible for anyone.
I do still occasionally watch some mind-numbing reality TV show, but it's usually used as some form of therapy after a really rough day, or I'll put it on in the background as I'm doing a simple task like scheduling social media posts or creating invoices. I never sit in front of the tube with no other task unless I'm dealing with something serious. But it's not just television that's a problem.
We spend so many hours each day doing pointless activities. It's not to say that everything you do in life has to be productive, but if you want to be good at both your day job and your side gig, you kind of need to think that way. Find hobbies that multitask: for me, it's my blog and YouTube channel. Although they're fun, frilly hobbies, I also get to practice my video production skills, keep up to date on the latest trends in social media, and build my professional network.
Be Honest & Respectful
Be honest with people. Your clients, your employer, your family, and your friends... Setting realistic expectations for everyone will ensure that no one's disappointed when you can't make that Friday night movie because you have a project due or when you can't join your co-workers for lunch because you agreed to take a quick call.
...But being straightforward about your schedule isn't enough. You should also understand that when you're at work, you're being paid to do a job. Very rarely, if ever, should your side hustle and your day job cross paths. And the concept of work life balance shouldn't disappear just because you're taking on extra work, either.
That means: Don't work on client projects when you're on the clock at your office. Don't come into your 9-5 with wrinkled clothes and sleep in your eyes because you were up till 2 the night before. Don't ignore your friends or your partner. Call your mother. And take care of yourself, too.
When you're a freelancer or small business owner, DIY is everything. I built my own website, I manage my own social media, I set my own appointments... you get it. But there are only so many hours in the day, and it's important to ensure you're doing the jobs that are most important and the best use of your time.
I'm not a graphic designer. I'm not a great photographer. I don't like selling, and spreadsheets are a waste of time when you're running a business. But I have tons of friends are great at those things, and if I don't, there are plenty of resources to find help. Once I discovered the art of hiring on Fiverr, my life was totally changed.
Do It With Love
Sure, a side hustle is work... But it should be fun, too. One of the major advantages of working for yourself is the sheer amount of choices you're allotted: from who you work with and how often you work, to how much you're paid and when. When your side gig starts to disrupt things like your day job, your family time, or your mental and physical health, it's probably time to reconsider your lifestyle (or at least scale back a bit.)
Yes, my side hustle is a big part of who I am - It's a big part of my long-term career goals, a big part of my income, and a big part of how I spend my free time. But the moment it stops being fun is the moment I stop doing it.
How do you manage to juggle your multiple roles?