Do you want to start a side hustle but feel like all your time is focused on your full-time job? Or, do you already have a side hustle but don’t know how to dedicate the proper amount of time to it? Chances are if you are reading this article you fit into one of those two categories.
Side hustles are great. They focus more on our passions, they provide an additional income, and they have the potential to grow into our full-time hustle. However, no one ever started a successful side hustle without dedicating a significant amount of effort in scaling the business.
Many people out there will say, “Quit your job and go all in on your side hustle”. I don’t necessarily agree with this tactic. For one, income needs to be earned and bills need to be paid. Two, there is enough time outside of your full-time job to grow your side hustle without quitting your job.
When I started my two side businesses in 2017, I had a hard time balancing that and my full-time job (along with my aspiring screenwriting career and my graduate classes). I found that I wasn’t dedicating enough time to my side hustle and because of that, there was no growth.
Since I was (and still am) determined to scale my businesses into full-time jobs, I knew I needed to organize my time better and figure out a way to give my side gigs the attention they deserved. After some hard planning, a guilt trip, and a giant calendar, I finally found my balance and have been doing well.
Here’s how to make time for your side hustle while still working a full-time job.
1. Know What You Want
Before you can dedicate hours to starting a business in your spare time, you need to first envision where you want to be a year from now. A lot of times, we come up with these great ideas and go all in without thinking long term.
The best way to figure out your goals is to create a business plan. This will force you to sit down and evaluate every aspect of your business. A business plan also helps to make your side hustle feel like you’re working toward something.
When you have a difficult day or start to feel lost, remind yourself where you want to take the business. If you constantly work towards an end goal, it will help to keep your path straight and your time focused.
It’s not going to be easy. That’s just the reality of this. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it, and succeeding. The truth is many people fail because of their faulty commitment levels. It’s easy to start something. It’s hard to finish.
I can tell you now that building your side hustle will be challenging. Certain things won’t go your way, you’ll have plenty to learn and you may even fail sometimes. If you are committed, nothing will stop you.
Decide right now that you are going to start what you finish. Make up your mind that you will meet your goal no matter how long it takes and how much work it is for you. If you have to, remind yourself why you started and where you want to be in a year.
Constantly motivate yourself to keep moving forward. And, DON’T get lazy. The moment laziness creeps in, goals fall apart.
3. Schedule Your Time
Your time is valuable. If you’re already working 40 hours a week, it may feel like you don’t have any spare time at all. Take a few hours to write down everything you need to do in order to visualize your time. Here is what it looks like for me:
Monday: Work 8:00am – 4:30pm
Tuesday: Work 8:00am – 4:30pm
Wednesday: Work 8:00am – 4:30pm
Thursday: Work 8:00am – 4:30pm, Class 6:00pm – 10:00pm
Friday: Work 8:00am – 4:30pm
Saturday/Sunday: Free time
Once I write it out, it doesn’t seem as overwhelming. Since I know that I also want to squeeze in work on my side hustles, homework, and writing, I am able to see where I have the most time.
To maximize my time, I started to wake up a 6:00am to do homework for an hour and a half before work. During my lunch break, I spend my 30 minutes working on my blog. When I get home from work, after completing things like eating dinner, prepping for my next day of work, and showering, I know that I’ll have between 3 – 4 hours before I need to go to bed at 11:00pm.
During this time I spend 45 minutes writing (sometimes more depending on my creative energy), and the rest of the time goes into blogging and checking up on my e-commerce business.
Even though I work full time I manage to fit everything in around my work schedule. This routine has helped me to stay focused and dedicated to my goals even though my days are non-stop.
Another aspect that helps me is to plan my entire month on the first of each month. I have a monthly calendar that I write all my appointments, meetings, hangouts, and any other irregular activity for that month. I then adjust my side hustle schedule around those items. This helps me to visualize how busy the upcoming month will be and how to best utilize my time.
To help with your schedule, download our free planner for entrepreneurs. This is a 4-page planner with a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly planner sheet.
4. Break Down Your Goals
Side hustles don’t get enough love and attention, and that’s not your fault. If we could give our side hustles all the attention they deserve, they would be full-time hustles.
The reality is, side hustles are squeezed in when we have time. That means you need to be prepared to work on your stuff during the morning, lunch breaks, in the evening, late at night, and any other awkward time during the day that pops up.
In order to be ready to work at any given minute, you need to know your short-term goals. It’s easy to have a long-term goal to ‘make a million dollars’, but what are your short-term goals to getting to that million dollars?
It helps to break down those goals into small, attainable steps, and then work on one small goal at a time. This will help you stay on the right track and not feel overwhelmed.
5. Weekly Meeting (With Yourself)
Once a week, take the time to reflect, adjust and plan. Sometimes our schedules aren’t working or we come across some bumps in the road. Once a week, spend some honest time with yourself reflecting on your progress and how you can do even better.
I tend to have this time of reflection over the weekend as it’s a little less stressful for me. Also, I like to make sure I do this during a time where I won’t be interrupted. This way, I can focus 100% on my thoughts and my progress.
6. Maximize Free-Time
In other words, be intentional with your time. It’s okay to skip hanging out with friends to work on your side hustle. Remember, you’re working toward a very specific goal and your free-time is limited.
Since I know the weekend is when I have the most free time, a rule of thumb for myself is to allow one day (Friday, Saturday, or Sunday) to be the day I schedule hangouts with friends. This way, I’m not hurting my relationships or social life while still dedicating a good amount of time to my work.
7. Cut the Nonsense
While you’re building your empire, TV can wait. If you’re going to maximize your free time, that means cutting out anything that sucks away your time in a negative way. TV, social media, sleeping in, those are just a few examples of things that can be cut out in order to dedicate more time to your side hustle.
Besides, if you work full-time and only have limited time in the evening to dedicate to your business, why would you waste precious time watching reality TV?
Think about it, the people on TV have already reached a huge level of success. Don’t let them distract you from the success you deserve.
This isn’t to say don’t ever take a break. Breaks are important and necessary to avoid burn out. The point is to know your limits and maximize your time.
8. Don’t Get Ahead of Yourself
Sometimes the place we are in with our business isn’t the most fun or glamorous.
If it’s a step in the direction toward your goal, it’s important to work through it. While some other aspect of your business may seem more fun, focus on one thing at a time without getting ahead of yourself.
Basically, finish each goal before moving onto the next one.
9. Utilize Your Weekends
Weekends are not off days when you have a side hustle. I actually tend to get most of my work done on the weekends including chores around the home.
While I love to sleep in, lately I’ve been getting up earlier on the weekends just to have more time to dedicate to my businesses. This has really helped me stay on track.
I’ve also learned that as a business owner we don’t get time off. We are always working. The weekends are no different. However, a goal of mine is to work hard now, reach my success, and be able to take the weekends off in the future.
For now, weekends are a prime time to get work done.
There you have it! If you were thinking it wasn’t possible to have a side hustle and work full-time, give these tricks a try. If I can do it, and thousands of others can do it, so can you.
Best of luck to you!