Entrepreneurs seldom get their start by quitting their job then starting their company with all of their free time. It’s usually an ease-in: there’s a full time job or some way to make an income, and the business first begins as a side hustle. Yankee Candle, Under Armour and Apple are all companies that were first started as side projects.
But, there is a common concern that the balance between a full time job and a side project will be hard. How should you allocate time, energy and attention to both? Will your boss get mad? When should you go all in? First things first: Here’s how to effectively start a side hustle alongside a full-time job.
1. Make your full-time job as flexible as possible
If you need to have an income, try to have control over when you work. This doesn’t mean that if you have a traditional 9-5, the side hustle will be impossible. How can you be flexible with lunch breaks? Can you wake up earlier and fit in some quality work time before you go into the office?
In some cases, this could mean a full-time job switch. Ummer Naviwala, known as Omareloff on his Facebook Gaming profile, has nearly 160,000 followers. He built his side hustle into a career by driving for Uber and working for GrubHub. “My passion has always been entertaining. Once I committed to pursuing a full-time career in creating content, I had to have control over which hours of the day were for working, and which were for streaming,” Naviwala says. “So, I worked jobs that provided that type of flexibility.” Whatever can supplement your income while also permitting time for your passion project will suffice.
2. Limited time? No problem
Some become overwhelmed with how few hours there are in a day when trying to balance both the full-time job and the side hustle. After all, if you work 9-5 and still have to account for commute time to the office and back, breakfast, dinner and hitting the gym or spending time with family, you may be looking at only two hours left in the day.
However, there’s a concept called Parkinson’s Law that says “work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” If you give yourself one of your two hours for building out the curriculum for your online course, it will take you one hour. But if you give yourself the whole two hours, it will take two hours. Challenge yourself to get more done in less time by implementing Parkinson’s Law.
3. Know that the initial balancing will feel like a teetering
Next, know that the beginning stages are always the hardest. For the first few weeks, it could be total chaos. You might wonder how you can keep going on like this and consider giving up the side hustle. Just keep going. You’ll find your flow and figure it out.
Jess Godwin, who balanced a full-time job with a side hustle in music production, shared with Bustle that she “used to try to make sure [she] tapped on everything in any given day, but that resulted in burnout and all-around frustration.” It killed her creativity. As you begin to seek balance, don’t push yourself too hard. You have to take care of yourself.
4. Get serious about your savings account
Finally, if the side hustle starts to gain momentum and you begin to dream of one day going after it full time, get serious about saving. An extra dollar here and there can make a difference. Consider putting the initial income from the side hustle into a personal savings account, or put it back into the business.
The upside here is that you’ll likely be too busy to spend extra money with all your time accounted for. Save, save, save! Your future self will thank you for that cushion when you go full time.