I’ve mentioned before how important I think it is for people to have a side-hustle. Not only does a side hustle keep you from standing still in life, it allows you to earn extra income and do something you’re passionate about. The side hustle is an efficient and proven way to get closer to get closer to living life to the fullest and potentially landing on your feet as a full-time entrepreneur.
Now, I know a side-hustle is additional work. And if you’re like most people, you already have a 9-5 job that takes up a lot of your time and keeps you busy. For many people, the last thing they want to do when they get home is do more work. If that’s the case and you’re not looking to make an extra $1-2K a month, that’s fine, a side-hustle might not be for you. Your priorities might be elsewhere or you might be content with your current pay-check. I won’t knock that. But if you do want extra cash or want to eventually escape the cubicle lifestyle and start working for yourself, a side hustle is a great place to start.
We’ve all heard the stories of people who start their side hustle while working the 9 to 5 and then escape to turn their side hustle into a main hustle. Additionally, most of us know someone who has always had a 9-5 but has had a passion project on the side that they love. In both situations, the people running these side-hustles see the value in doing it. Whether it’s the possibility of achieving complete employment freedom, paying off a student loan early or having extra cash to travel – a side hustle can provide many rewards.
But it’s not easy. During my time working as a Digital Strategist at Colour, I worked tirelessly as I built dreamr, managed this site, wrote for other blogs and newsletters and worked on a few side projects. One thing I quickly learned was the challenge of keeping multiple balls in the air. A side hustle can quickly take up a lot of your time and force you to make sacrifices that others wouldn’t be willing to make. At the same time, people who have side hustles remember that:
Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t
Or at least, that’s the dream. We’ve all heard the stories about people starting businesses in their basement and becoming the next Apple. Through my work as a consultant and entrepreneur, I have come across a handle of entrepreneurs of all backgrounds, education and industries. I’ve seen people who sell soap as a side hustle and people who offer salsa lessons as a side hustle. Your side hustle can be as big or small as you’d like it. It’s about finding the right fit for you and your lifestyle.
I’d be lying if I told you it’s easy to juggle a side hustle and a full time job. That would be far from the truth. The reality is, side hustles and entrepreneurship as a whole is very time consuming and is as much a game against the competition as it is a game against the clock. You need to optimize your time and schedule to ensure that neither your side hustle or main hustle suffer from the chaos. Here are a few ways to stay on your toes and make time for it all:
Get up really, really early. Or stay up really, really late.
I know, this isn’t exactly a mind-blowing tip but hear me out for a second. The biggest drain on your time isn’t the time in which you’re busy getting things done, the biggest drain on your time is being interrupted (Tweet this).
When you wake up early or go to bed late, the probability of someone else being awake and able to interupt you decreases. As such, staying up late allows you to get work done while people are slowly crawling into bed or watching the Bachelor while you have a chance to get wired-in and focus on your work. Additionally, getting up early allows you to get to your to-do list before your inbox and notifications are flashing from your manager or colleagues.
Mornings and nights are my most productive time. In fact, I’m writing this blog post at 11:38PM in my office with no distractions besides a flashing App Store update that I’ve been avoiding for the last month.
Create consistency in your weekly calendar.
When you’re already working a 9-5 it’s not easy for most people to commit additional time to working a couple more hours. Additionally, it’s even more challenging for them to understand how they can give up their favourite TV shows or family time to try and earn more money. But it’s all about managing yourself.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in the last few years is that the idea of time management is foolish. We cant manage time because time is a constant. Instead, we must learn to manage ourselves and prioritize our efforts on a daily basis (tweet this). We need to do what we think is important and ignore the things that are not. If watching a TV show is more important to you than chatting with five clients, that’s your choice.
It’s easy for us to get caught up with the daily hustle-and-bustle of life. From coffee meetings to new projects, volunteer activities to networking events, it’s very easy to get side-tracked. Instead of allowing for distractions to break up your day and disconnect your ability to get into a sense of flow, use your calendar to block off time in your day to focus on your side hustle.
But don’t forget about the importance of your friends and family. It’s easier to ignore the people who care the most about you than it is to focus on your side-hustle but don’t make that mistake. A great way to combat your schedule and truly take control of your life is to schedule regular family time each week and make a conscious effort to do so.
Mark Susters wife wrote a piece on his blog about tips for making it work and one that stood out for me was the idea of having a weekly date night. She wrote:
Mark pushed me to agree that we’d have “date night” once per week to make sure we protected our couple time….You need couple time. If money is tight, you can trade babysitting with friends. It’s worth the hassle.
The concept of Date Night is one that can be applied to your relationship but also to your side hustle. Create a “Hustle-Night” where you’re completely focused and wired into your work. You never book meetings outside of those associated with your side hustle on that night.
Be A Passenger. Use Taxis. Use Buses. Whatever.
I hate driving.
People usually think that’s odd so let me explain. It’s not that I hate the act of driving from point A to point B, what I hate is the amount of time required to get there. I can deal with short distances because they don’t take up big blocks of my day. But anything over an hour is an hour I could have been generating value instead of simply moving my body from here to there.
Traveling places is a leech on your time. As such, it’s important to make good use of it whenever possible. For example, when you travel by air, always have a tablet or laptop in your carry on that will allow you to get additional work done. One hack that I use when flying is the act of crafting emails that I know I’ll want to send when I get internet access. Another one is getting as much work done as I can without requiring the internet. Report writing. Blog Writing. Document editing. Finances. Proposal Development. Etc…
When I travel to other cities, I rarely rent a car. I try to take Taxis whenever possible so I can send emails, write blog posts, review documents, approve reports, schedule meetings, tweet and much more all from the back seat. It allows me to be efficient with my time and will make the world of difference in your already busy schedule.
The Power of Saying “No”
Say no to requests to do things that you don’t really want to, don’t value or don’t bring you satisfaction and joy. It’s not an easy one but focus is something that you really need to embrace when you’re taking on new work and a new lifestyle. You can’t spend time doing things that aren’t going to benefit you down the road or help you get closer to your goals.
If you’re too busy to catch up with someone, simply tell them you’ve got a lot going on right now. Honesty is always the best policy. If it’s someone you really want to connect with but are just strapped for time, let them know a few dates and times that you could make work but only do it if you truly want to meet/chat with this person.
Additionally, you will need to learn how to say No to new opportunities. I talked about this in my interview with EmbraceDisruption as it’s still one of the biggest challenges I have on a regular basis. But as Ryan Hoover, Founder of @ProductHunt once wisely tweeted;
So many opportunities. Knowing which ones to prioritize is key.
— Ryan Hoover (@rrhoover) July 7, 2013
If I could suggest what I feel is the secret to life, it would be the importance of prioritization. In high school, you have the option to prioritize between your books, romance, extra-curricular activities and having fun outside of school. If you’re able to prioritize these items properly, you reap specific benefits that go along with them. Some decisions will impact short-term gratification while others impact long-term gratification. Life continues to work this way. You have options every single day to decide what it is you wan’t to do. Do you want to watch Toddlers and Tiaras or do you want to take your business to the next level?
We’re all privileged with 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year. It’s up to us to determine how we spend our time and what our goals and legacy will look like. If you’re capable to read this entire post, you’re capable to create something great. You’re capable to build something bigger than yourself and capable of making time for a side hustle.
If you’re looking for tips and tricks on how you can effectively manage a side-hustle, I share tips and tricks with my subscribers on a monthly basis. Sign up and you’ll also have first access to my ebook coming out later this year called the Hustle Manifesto.
Do you already have a side hustle – I’d love to hear about it in the comments!