Have Your Cake and Eat It Too: Maintaining a Side Hustle
Rise and grind, let’s get this bread! It’s time to once again examine that old millennial feeling of needing to constantly produce. A few weeks ago, season 2 of Netflix’s Aggretsuko came out, and the titular character, who works in a standard but draining office job, says it best: “Work, go home, internet, sleep. Wow.”
At a first glance, the monotonous routine of working a 9-5 job may seem like it leaves little room for anything else, but in an economy where multiple sources of income are becoming more and more necessary to make ends meet—especially for laborers just entering the work force—side hustles have, similarly, become more and more popular options. The nice thing about side hustles is that, well, they’re on the side. With a little forethought and planning, you can build up a side hustle into your main gig, while never having to sacrifice stable employment in the process.
Your Day Job Comes First
Side hustles are a great way to explore your passions and talents and test whether you can turn them into a viable career without taking on much in the way of risk. Chances are, you’re going to enjoy your side hustle more than your fulltime job—after all, that’s why you’re doing it. It takes drive to juggle different projections, but you need to be careful not to let your ambition distract you from the steady employment that is your main source of financial support.
As tempting as it may be to work on your side hustle while at your fulltime job, you must resist the temptation. Your work on both will suffer, but your day job coworkers will be the ones to call you out on it. Allowing yourself to be distracted isn’t worth the risk of termination. Remember, your salary from your day job goes not only to supporting your lifestyle, but also to getting your side hustle off the ground, so you can’t have the latter without the former.
Jump in Head First
Although it takes some work to maintain one well, there are literally no downsides to having a side hustle. There’s basically a website or app for every side gig you can imagine at this point, whether it’s driving people around, making deliveries, selling handmade goods, or offering freelance services. You can monetize your Instagram MUA account or your Twitch Let’s Play account. You can start a podcast, a webseries, a zine! In the age of the internet, the possibilities are endless.
If there has ever been anything you wanted to do but weren’t sure you could make money doing, the right time to do it is when you have another fulltime job for you to fall back on. If your side hustle becomes too much for you, simply stop doing it, or at least take a break until you have more time and energy to dedicate to it. And if your side hustle doesn’t work out for any other reason, well, you have a safety net, and at least you can say you tried.
Get Motivated by the Crunch
It may feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to satisfactorily perform at your day job while also keeping up a side gig, but research shows that many people actually work faster and more efficiently when under a little pressure. The key, of course, is not to stress yourself out so much that you freeze, but feeling a bit of a time crunch—being cognizant of all the things you need to accomplish each day to build your side hustle up while not allowing your day job to suffer—can motivate you not only to do more work, but to do it better.
We tend to take the maximum time allotted to us to complete a task. Shortening those due dates helps us prioritize and complete our duties on a timelier schedule.
Spend for the Client and the Client Only
Building up a side hustle can be an expensive endeavor. Any new business venture—whether it’s renting out your house to tourists or selling handmade cosmetics—requires you to start from scratch; that’s why they all start as side gigs! Once you’ve built your side hustle up into a viable fulltime job you can start thinking about getting a ping pong table for your office, but until then, you should be keeping your expenses to a minimum. Here’s a simple rule to follow: if a client does not reap the benefit of a side hustle purchase, do not purchase it.
If you have the money to spare to go the extra mile for a client, go for it, because they’re the ones who will share your name and get you more business. For everything else, save it until you’re a big-shot CEO.
You Mustn’t Be Afraid to Dream a Little Bigger
Your side hustle should be a place for ambitions: the big dreams you’ve always been afraid of pursuing because they come with even bigger risks. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your business empire, but as long as you keep dreaming, your side hustle will never die (although it might need a break once in a while).
You may experience starts and stops as you try to build your side hustle up, and that’s okay. Just be patient, keep dreaming, and the world’s your oyster.