You might love working as an employee, but is your position stable? It’s almost impossible to have guaranteed stability in the workplace, which is why I always suggest finding another form of career insurance — aka your “side hustle”. This is a gig that you dedicate time to away from work, and one you can fall back on in case you get laid off.
If you have a long-term vision of working full-time for yourself, it is also a great way to slowly build up the revenue in your side business until you can safely quit your job. Of course, it can be tricky to balance your work life with a side hustle — especially since your nocturnal pursuits can be slightly more exciting than your 9-5. I’ve laid out five ways to maintain a side project and the responsibilities of your job without sacrificing time in either part of your life.
Make Sure It Isn’t In Violation of Your Contract
You might want to check your employer before starting an after-hours job — just in case it conflicts with your contract. If your side gig is vastly different from your 9-5 (let’s say you’re selling jewelry on Etsy while also working as a paralegal), then you should be fine. Remember that even asking this question in some work environments may raise suspicions that you want to leave, so be very careful in your approach.
It Shouldn’t Compete with Your Job
Don’t forget that your job is your primary source of income, and should be top priority. It’s easy to get preoccupied with a side job, but make sure not to over-commit. Set aside a few hours a day, and don’t fall into the tempting habit of checking up on your side hustle while at work.
Don’t Over-Complicate It
Remember, your extracurricular gig is a fall-back for the job you already have. Think of it as the ultimate hobby — which also happens to make you money. Sure, it can be fun to build a website and an online presence, but don’t overcomplicate things to the point where you’re stressed. That’s what your 9-5 is for!
Find Something You’re Already Good At
It’s more lucrative (and more fun) to pick something that you’re skilled in. Are you obsessed with yoga? Take as many classes as possible so you can easily make the transition from student to instructor, and then start teaching! Do you love photography? Build up a portfolio and sell portrait sessions. If you’re doing something you love, your success will come more naturally and won’t take as much time away from your job.
Take Time for Yourself So You Don’t Burn Out
If you’re already overworked at your day job and spend all of your free time hustling around, you run the risk of burning out on all your responsibilities. Your after-hours gig shouldn’t take over your personal life, it should enrich it.
Keep in mind that your side hustle will provide a safety net if you ever lose your job, and the more developed it is, the faster you’ll get back on track financially.
Pamela Slim is an award-winning author, speaker and leader in the new world of work.