Okay, first you might be wondering what a side hustle is. A side hustle is when you keep your current job, but also do something on the side (hence the name) — like maybe you have an Etsy shop where you sell things you make, or maybe you sell organic products, or maybe you’re a consultant or coach or designer.
I was a side hustler when I first started my coaching business. I still worked full-time as a professor while I slowly built my practice.
One of my clients is a consultant on the side from his day job — he works for a big corporation by day, but is also starting a training and development business.
Even my mom was a side hustler. She makes children’s clothes. She tried selling a few things online and eventually she made an Etsy shop and it turned into a full-blown business.
Why do people choose to have a side hustle?
- Financial security. If you want to build your own business that takes time. Most people need the financial cushion their full-time job gives them while they build their business. People hate risk (myself included!) and doing your business as a side hustle before you take it full-time is a less risky way to do it. People often feel safer doing it this way.
- You can work out the kinks. Despite what you’ve heard, starting your own business is really unglamorous and awkward. You have to try things out and see what works for you — for example what kind of clients you want to work with, what kind of schedule you like to keep, what works, what doesn’t. Building the business slowly, on the side, lets you work out the kinks before you jump in with both feet. I did this. I hated my original brand and the kind of clients I was attracting when I first started my business, so I revamped about 5 months in. I was glad I had the time to work out the kinks and the security of my other job while I was learning.
- A side hustle can be a way to have your cake and eat it too. Sometimes you really like your job, but there’s another part of you that you want to express, and with a side hustle, you don’t have to choose. I have a friend who has her own business as a media strategist, but also works for a cool startup. She loves both. Each of those things gives her something different.
Sounds awesome, right? But also, uh, a fuckton of work.
If you want to stay sane while keeping your current job AND doing something on the side there are some things you should consider:
- There are only so many hours in a day, so pace is important. Since you’re still working full time, this side hustle of yours is obviously going to take longer to get going than if you were doing it full-time. You have to be okay with that. That was really hard for me, personally. I’m super ambitious and very impatient and I want things done NOW! A lot of people are like that. If that’s the case for you too, remember that the point is to go slow and steady.
- Setting boundaries is important. You have your job, you have this side business, but don’t forget you also want a life! Create a plan for how many hours you’re going to devote to your biz each week and stick with it. Sometimes having a side hustle is REALLY good because it forces you to have boundaries in your day job too. You’re less likely to work unreasonably long hours in your 9-5 if you know there’s a project at home you want to work on.
- It might have an expiration date. In other words, it might not be doable forever. For many people, a side hustle is a way to build a business slowly and safely with the security of another source of income. That’s awesome! But most people don’t find it sustainable to have their attention is divided forever. If the point is to take your business full-time eventually, make sure you do it. Fear keeps so many people stuck in jobs they want to leave. So once your business is making progress and you’ve worked out the initial kinks it may be time to jump!