How to Balance a Side Hustle with a Full-Time Job
Balancing a 9-5 With Starting a Side Hustle
Are you considering starting a side hustle to boost your income and get more financial security? You’re not alone! Most Americans are struggling to make ends meet and have less than $1,000 in their savings account, so it’s no wonder there’s a huge interest in side hustle ideas and how to supplement your earnings.
It’s true that you can make great money from side hustles. From a passive income stream like an online course or an e-book that sells well, to more engaged options like reselling or running a blog or a freelancing business, side hustles are helping thousands of people diversify and increase their income. And that can also be great for your mental and physical health, as you remove the financial stress and focus on what makes you happy instead.
However, balancing a 9-5 job with starting a side hustle can pull you in the opposite direction, creating pressures and stress you don’t need. Here is some advice on how to get the balance right and avoid burnout.
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Whatever side hustle you choose, you need to be very clear with yourself on how you’re going to run it in order to still find time for yourself and reap the benefits of your additional business. Remember, you’re doing this to earn an income, not make yourself sick.
From the very beginning, decide how much time you’re going to devote to your side hustle and get yourself an accountability buddy, if you can. Your partner can be great for this: just tell them how many hours a day you’ll be doing your side hustle, and they can hold you to it!
Although, I will be the first to admit I struggle from taking notes like this from my husband!
It can also help to set physical boundaries if you’re doing a side hustle from home. When you come in from your 9-5 job, you’ve left the office and your brain associates your home space with unwinding and relaxing.
Don’t lose that by working on your business in the same place you chill out in the evenings. Instead, pick a corner in the kitchen, some space in your garage, wherever works! Designate your workspace and never take your work out of there. This will help you clear your mind and switch off at the end of your hustle time.
As someone who has worked from home for a long time, I completely empathize with hobbies and side-hustles taking over your house! At any given time, I have crafts or reselling clothes all over the place. It’s nice now that we have a house instead of an apartment that gives me dedicated work space.
Even in our smaller apartments, I always found a way to have a separate area for myself. Trying to unwind with business clutter and constant reminders is a surefire way to create burnout – and fast!
Find a Passive Source of Income
Even the most dedicated side hustlers will agree: you’re bound to run out of energy. If you’re working a 9-5 job and then clocking another 2-3 hours at your side hustle every day, this can create risks to your health and wellbeing. Instead, consider if you can turn your side hustle into a passive source of income with some upfront investment.
I know I talk about Reselling a lot on my blog and I love it, but it is certainly not passive income. There is a tremendous amount of time involved with sourcing items to sell, cleaning them, taking photographs, listing, storing and then pulling them when they sell and shipping them off.
You can’t easily take time off when you are a reseller unless you have someone who is working for you and willing to keep the momentum going while you are gone.
For example, if you’re great at a particular skill like knitting, why not create an online course or series of paid videos? Set up a Patreon account or capitalize on your skills with YouTube ads or affiliate marketing linked to your videos. This way, you’ll be gaining some money without having to do extra work.
Getting the audience to build these types of programs can be slow and daunting, but if done correctly it’s possible to build a little side hustle empire!
There are several ways I am currently able to earn income every month.
- This Blog
- Affiliate Links – Share A Sale
- YouTube – Google Adsense
- Social Media – Brand partnerships
- Reselling – Poshmark, eBay, Mercari, The Real Real, ThredUp, Facebook Marketplace, Kidizen. *I use List Perfectly to cross-post all my items – Use code BEXABOSSLADY to save 30% on your first month (new users only).
- Rover – I used to make more doing this before the pandemic, but our dogs love having company and we don’t mind the extra money!
- Etsy – During the pandemic, I started creating art to sell online. It’s just a hobby for now but who knows what it could turn into!
- Online Courses and Coaching
- Rakuten – Use my link to join and spend $20 and give you $20 back! I use a Chrome plug-in that tells me offers on the websites I’m on. I’ve gotten almost $2,000 back in 2 years.
In the past, I’ve done some other things as well to earn extra cash.
- Personal Trainer & Group Fitness Instructor
- Social Media Manager and Marketer
- Taught Red Cross Courses
- Opened a Gym!
- Decorated cakes for colleagues, friends, and family
- Managed other income-producing blogs
- Surveys and interviews
- Secret Shopper
There is no reason you have to stick with one thing, you can do several at one time or just focus on the one side hustle you are most passionate about. The best part about it is the flexibility it gives you to earn extra cash and find a true passion that could turn into a full time gig.
Think Long Term
What are your goals with your side hustle? Is it a short-term activity to earn some extra money and do you have an exit strategy? Or is it a way to dip your toes into a long-term passion and get it started while you still hold on to your 9-5 job security?
Either way, consider what your goals are when you start your side hustle and what you want to achieve in the long term. You may be looking to eventually quit your day job, in which case gradually investing your energy in the side hustle will not be an issue affecting your 9-5. But, if you have no plans of quitting the day job, then make sure you’re not sacrificing your performance there because of your side hustle (see the above point on setting boundaries).
Health Before Wealth
Whatever you do, make sure you don’t sacrifice your and your family’s wellbeing for the sake of your side hustle!
Yes, making some additional income is great, but not if it comes at the expense of your energy and health. You can easily become overworked and can end up having negative effects on your health. Besides, humans have short attention spans and it’s for it to take over your life.
I am completely guilty of this last one. Being an overachiever is something I always cherished. My type A personality got me early promotions, extra credit, bonuses and more. But, it also contributed to my physical illness when I couldn’t learn to rest and let my body heal.
The Covid pandemic has been a STRUGGLE. But, I believe for me it is also a blessing in disguise. It forced me to slow down and grounded us from travel We were no longer constantly on the go. It allowed me to take the necessary time to rest and recover from 8 years struggling with my chronic illness.
Have you started a side hustle while working 9-5? Did you keep the day job or go fully freelance? I’d love to hear your experiences and tips, so please let me know in the comments!
Until next time,
This is some great advice! I also have sold clothes on Ebay for a couple of years in the past to make extra money when both of our kids were in day care (this was like having a second mortgage to pay every month!). But you are so right! It takes a great deal of time and effort to continue to sell online. When our kids were out of day care we stopped doing it, aside from the occasional listing :). Now I recently started a blog in February of this year and there is just so much to learn and do, I find myself spending so much time on it every week. I never set a time limit like you suggested in your post. I’ve read that you should spend at least 10 hours a week on a blog to successfully grow it over the course of a year. But I am really enjoying it and can see myself continuing with it for a long time! Thanks for the helpful post!