Five Tips On Managing a Career While Running a Side Business


Running a business on the side or taking on any side-projects can quickly become a juggling act. As one task comes up, another is on its way and if you’re not careful, it might just fall to the ground and throw everything off. It’s this challenge that makes a side hustle both invigorating yet nerve-racking at the same time.

When discussing the side hustle or the process of starting a business on the side, there’s always a flood of questions that get asked. But one of the most frequently asked questions that are thrown at me is:

“What about your day job? How will that be affected by your side business?”

Once I tell them that it’s all about managing your time effectively, the first thing you respond with is “I already don’t have enough time in a day.” I’ve found that it’s challenging for people to realize that everyone has the same amount of hours in a day and days in a year. What we do with our time is what differs from those who are average and those who shine (tweet this).

Now, I’m not here to tell you that you’re not busy or that you’re not managing your time effectively. But what you should be asking yourself is how much benefit would a side business actually offer you. How big of an impact would an extra $1000 in your pocket a month make? What would it mean to you to have that creative freedom of making all the decisions for your business?

I can’t answer these questions for you but I can tell you that for me, those answers were what forced me to do it. Managing a career along with a side hustle isn’t easy but it’s most certainly worth it. Here’s a few things that I learned along the way that will help you do it effectively:

Don’t Feel Guilty. You’re in Control.

The number one thing I see holding smart and ambitious people back are the stories they tell themselves that are built on a foundation of guilt. Too many  people feel guilty about spending time building businesses in the evenings and weekends instead of focusing on their 9 to 5’s. It’s as if they feel guilty for taking control of their own destiny, their own life and their own career.  Sadly, this is the kind of thinking that stifles professional and personal growth.

You can’t wait until you’re fired, laid off, or fed up to start making moves that will give you the life you’ve been always wanted. It’s important to start managing your career and life as a whole, today. You’re in control of your career and your life. If this is something you need to remind yourself on an ongoing basis, particularly through the challenging times, do it.

Commit to Self-Awareness & Self-Development.

It’s important to know what you can do and what you cannot. It’s also important to commit to being aware of your own actions and how they’re impacting those around you. This includes your actions at your 9 to 5 along with the actions outside of your day job. It’s important to spend time reflecting on what you need to improve and putting in the effort to improve those areas of weakness.

One of the many benefits of running a side business is the opportunity to learn. As you run your business you will need to wear many hats ranging from finance to marketing to sales. As such, you need to commit yourself to learning new things and gaining new information that can help you and your business move forward. Additionally, it’s also important to be aware of how these new skills are translating into your existing career as they could be leveraged for that raise or promotion you’ve been waiting for.

There are many online resources for self development that can help you grow and learn new skills. Between sites like Khan Academy, Coursera and Skillshare, there’s an infinite amount of knowledge out there just waiting for you to consume. The trick is to not just consume the content but to step up and use it to move your business forward (Tweet this).

Talk Less. Listen More.


The more you listen to your customers, employers and colleagues, the more you will learn about them and their own insecurities & desires. You will be able to better understand if your boss is actually okay with you having a side hustle and determine early on, whether or not it’s time to start looking for a new job to begin with. Beyond listening to your employer more, there’s a true benefit in listening to your customers. It’s your customers who will help ensure that your business is alive and it’s them who will give you unfiltered opinions.

Being Unengaged Is Unacceptable

You need to be excited about what you’re doing. It only takes a few short minutes to chat with an entrepreneur or employee to gauge how engaged they are with their work. It’s actually quite disheartening to chat with someone who doesn’t enjoy what they do. On average, we’re likely to spend more time working than anything else over the course of our lives. Why waste your time being miserable?

This is true for both your side business and your 9 to 5 work. If you’re not excited about the work you’re doing and the value you’re offering your customers, get ready to burn out. It’s a disservice to your clients, employers and co-founders to sit around being half engaged in the work you’re doing.

Find Smart Friends & Mentors.

We’ve all heard the saying that you’re the average of the 10 people you spend the majority of your time with. It’s a saying that I hold very close to my heart and is a driving factor in how I manage my relationships with people and who I interact with. It’s important to have a group of people around you that are there to tell you when you’re doing something stupid but also lift you up when you need it the most.

Entrepreneurs aren’t like everyone else. It’s an experience that only other entrepreneurs can truly relate to and it’s a key reason you need to find people who share similar experiences. Surround yourself with successful entrepreneurs, mentors who have gone through the struggle and establish a core group of friends who are happy to show their support for what you’re trying to do.

Networks like Twitter and Linkedin provide a great opportunity to further build relationships with smart people all over the world. I’ve made a handful of very close friends solely through Twitter, email and Skype who have been there to bounce ideas off of and get advice from. It’s these relationships that help us grow as professionals and will help you overcome the challenges of managing this lifestyle.


Don’t expect this road to be easy. It’s challenging to run a side business while working hard at your 9 to 5 but it can definitely be worth it. If you’re working in a job that you despise, your side hustle will become more than just a revenue maker and truly become something you’re passionate about.

If you can apply some of these tips and tricks to your approach for managing both your career and side business, I’m sure you’ll find it manageable. These are five tips that I wish I had known when I first started running my own business on the side.

Apply these tips and you’ll definitely see results. If you’re still on the fence as it relates to starting a side hustle, you should check out my upcoming book, the Hustle Manifesto, it’s a guide to creating a business that could bring in $2K/month on the side. It’s filled with insights on building a side hustle from scratch and turning it into something that’s profitable and exciting.

What ways do you manage your side projects along with your career?

(Photo source: Doug Hay)