Tips for Making Time for Your Side Hustle
If you are looking for a post on being productive, this is not it. However, if you are looking for a post about making time for the side hustle, you are in the right place. This post is for the side hustlers out there doing everything they can to make this thing work. This is the for doers that are looking to build a new source of income.
So, if this sounds like you, then keep reading.
If you are like me, then you are always looking for new ways to get that side hustle going. You are probably looking to use your downtime to create a new business, a new income stream, or maybe you just enjoy the grind.
But then there is the reality. We have jobs that require us to be there from 8-5 or some variation. The kids play sports on the weekend. We also need time to hang out with our significant other. The ability to make time for our side hustle is limited. I believe the lack of time is the main reason most of us fail in the side hustle.
Here is my reality. I have always had a side hustle, even when I was running my marketing agency. I found that having a side hustle helped with creativity. A side hustle helped me stay relevant. I also know how hard it is to make time for the side hustle. Can you relate?
So, I wanted to share some things I have done in the past to make time for the side hustle.
Make it a priority
Yes, your side hustle should be a priority. Outside your family and your main gig that pays the bills, you need to make sure that you are giving your side hustle the time needed to let it grow.
Put it this way, if your side hustle is something you only work on when you feel like it, it is more of a hobby that a side hustle. You must take the time to prioritize your side hustle. This might mean you need to give up that night of getting caught up on Netflix.
Here are the two things I do. First, I get up early every day and take advantage of the morning. This is when I get the most done. I can control the morning. Second, most days, our kids go to bed around 8 pm. I use 2-3 hours every night to work on the side hustle.
I have made putting in the “work” a priority, both in the morning and at night.
Say “no” to things that do not relate to your goals
I was going to talk about the importance of making goals for your side hustle, but that is well documented and we have heard this before. I did not want to bother you with something that you have been hearing since grade school. You know, things like, “If it gets written down it gets accomplished” or “develop SMART goals”. You know, things like that.
So, I decided to talk about the importance of saying no to things that are not related to your goals. You know those things that you are asked to do that move you’re in the wrong direction or do not move you forward.
If you are going to have a side hustle, you are going to need to say “no” to non-goal related items. This is easier said than done, I know. I struggle with this all the time.
The hardest part is knowing when to say “no”. Everything looks like such a good opportunity. I can make $300 on this project. I am going to do it. Reality is that now you have to spend 2-3 hours working on that project versus your goals. This takes you further from what you want to do.
Example. I walked away from a decent priced digital marketing retainer because I wanted to focus on building ZeroFiveThirty. It is just more fun. I wanted to create a community around the things that I believe in, waking up early and crushing your side hustle. I wanted to give back to the side hustlers out there.
If I took that retainer, it would take me away from the ability to blog, create social media, and create killer t-shirts.
Saying “no” can be difficult, but if you know your goal it will be a bit easier. Say yes to the right things and “no” to the items that move you away from your goals. You will start to be able to identify the right and wrong items.
It takes focus, every day
One of the biggest issues that I have in the side hustle, is the ability to focus on one or two things. I want to get so much accomplished that I tend to overdo it. This leads to burnout. You know what I am talking about.
Remember, this is your side hustle. At some point, you would like to make this your full-time gig, but it is still in the infant stages. This is why you need to ensure that you are staying focused on a few items that are going to move things forward.
For example. I noticed recently that my blogging has been taking a hit. Well, it was because I was trying to do too much. Setting up a website, handling marketing for a few small clients, updating social media, you name it I was doing it.
Recently, I have made it a goal to get back to creating written blog posts. The reason is to share more and more information via blogging. I really enjoy it too. So, over the next 30 days, I am going to focus on the blog and very little else.
Remember to let your goals dictate your focus. Break your goals up into small pieces and get more done. Get the right things done.
Use your downtime wisely
Here is something that I learned from a colleague. We all have 1-2 hours of intermittent downtime every day while at work, at home, or whenever. This is the time that you are jumping between tasks, walking from meetings or a whole slew of different things.
If you are going to make this side hustle happen, you need to take action while you have this downtime. Yeah, it’s more fun to hang out and chat about sports, fashion, or whatever you are into. But your side hustle is going to stall, and you need to take advantage of all the time you have.
So here are a few tips.
We all get a lunch break. So, pack your lunch (saves time and money) and while you eat work on one large task. Right now, it is my lunch break and I am going to get about 750 words written for this blog post.
Use your lunch to work on one goal and accomplish that goal. You will be able to accomplish a ton during your lunch break.
Do you grab a coffee and wait in line every morning? Well, unlike most people you are trying to build something. So uses this time at the coffee shop, grocery store, or whatever to work on commenting on social media, answering customer emails, or another little task that needs to get done.
Morning and night
I wake up early every day so I can get to work an hour before everyone. This gives me an hour every day before work starts to blog, work on social media, or whatever I need to get done. Once I get home and the kids are in bed, I do the same.
Everyone has time before and after work to get things done. Remember the average person works (with travel) 8-10 hours per day, they sleep about 7, that leaves at least 7 hours for the family and working on that side hustle.
Use your time wisely.
Okay, hang with me. Everyone uses the bathroom for a number 2. We also know that the majority of people use their phone while at this meeting. I know gross, right?
We can look at this time in two ways. An opportunity or a time to play games. For me, it is time to move things forward. Personally, I comment to other people’s posts during this time. It lets me make a good 10 connections every day. Sorry if you are one of these connections.
Let’s pull it back in and I hope you are still with me. My goal is to be real here.
You can see how using your downtime can really work in your favor. If you do it right, you are going to be able to put 3-4 hours into your side hustle per day. This still leaves time for the family and whatever else you need to do. I am not expecting you to work 10 hours a day on your side hustle. This is not realistic.
Use automation whenever possible
As you get started building your side hustle you notice something, there are more tasks than time in the day. From blogging, social media, business development, and running the business, it is hard, and your time runs out quickly.
This is where automation can help. If there is a task that you can take off your plate, do it. From email marketing to social media posting, to sending invoices are tons of ways to automate your business.
Here is the key. If you find yourself doing a task more than a handful of times, you should try to automate it. Save yourself the time and automate whenever possible.
Work on similar tasks at the same time
Let me know if this ever happens to you. You sit down, put on your headphones, and get ready to work on something. About 5 minutes into working on your task and the phone rings, an email comes in, or a co-worker shows up at your desk. You shift from one task to another.
Studies show that it can take up to 25 minutes to get back to peak productivity after a distraction. So, over the years, I have found that being able to batch similar tasks, helps get more done.
For example, When I work on social media, I work on social media for 50 minutes. I create multiple posts at once and schedule them all into my social media management tool.
I always have a list of social media updates that I want to create. It makes it easy to put on the headphones and get a week or two of updates done.
When you get 15 minutes to 30 minutes to work on your side hustle, batch your tasks to get more done. This will help you stay focused and get bigger projects done. For me, batching is the only way to get the side hustle done.
Outsourcing is your best friend
Outsourcing is often seen as a negative in business. The reality is that outsourcing is the only way to get things done at scale.
I get it when you are trying to get that side hustle up and going, every penny counts because there is no real revenue stream coming in. You want to keep as much control on the budget as possible, so you DIY it.
Here is the reality. You are working on your side hustle and can only dedicate so much time. In order to get all the things accomplished you are going to need help. It is that easy.
Here is my tip. Find the things in the side hustle that you do not like and find a partner to help you. For example, I hate doing financial work, bookkeeping, etc. So, my first outsourcing partner was a CPA. This was money well spent.
The best way to really get out moving and make this side hustle happen is finding the right outsourced partners to help you move things along. It is time to look at outsourcing as a positive, not a negative.
Start with a productive morning
I wake up early every day to get a head start and get things done. I believe that the early morning is the best time to focus on the day, move forward in life, focus on my health, and take advantage of the power hour (read more here).
The morning has become a time where I get the most done. It has become a time I look forward to. It has become a time that sets everything up for the rest of the day.
Set your day up for success with a productive morning by rolling out of bed an hour early every day (ZeroFiveThirty). This will help you get a head start on your side hustle. Use your morning to get more done.
Get to work an hour early
Here is something that I have been doing during the summer months and has really helped to get more done. I get to work an hour early and work on the side hustle, not email or schedule meetings. I love the fact that it is quiet, and I have all the things around me to be productive.
Here is a piece of advice. Once you get to work, grab some coffee and get to work. Don’t come in a say hello, don’t check your work email, don’t wander the halls. Have a plan of action and get it done.
This hour before work has become a pretty productive time for me. In fact, this is how I was able to launch ZeroFiveThirty. Yes, you do run the risk of getting “caught”, but just be upfront with your boss and let them know what you are doing.
I know that this may not be for everyone, but it can be very beneficial in the right environment.
Tips for Making Time for Your Side Hustle
There you have it. My best tips for making time for your side hustle. I hope that one or two of these tips can help your side hustle become more successful. I know how hard it can be to find time for your side hustle and let’s face it, starting a business is hard.
Here is to you, the side hustler, looking to make things better and change the course of your life. Good luck and please comment on how you are going to find a little more time to make your side hustle a huge success.