10 Ways To Help Make Your Side Hustle Work During Off Hours
Managing a business plus doing a full time job means that you have to work WAY smarter than most people.
Running a side hustle can be extremely tough. Bootstrapping a business and transitioning from side hustle to full time entrepreneur is something that not every dreamer can accomplish, so using your time carefully and growing your business slowly will make ALL the difference. Here are our top tips for anyone who is currently running or considering a side hustle so they can eventually leave their full time job.
1. Use your lunch breaks wisely.
Make good use of your breaks at work by planning a list of tasks to get done. Be reasonable so that you make time to eat and take care of yourself, but give yourself concrete goals to accomplish so you won't spend a whole hour scrolling through Instagram. Maybe make it a goal to get to inbox zero, or outline a blog post, or both! Maybe don't use this time for social media - as it can be seriously distracting!
2. Make hands free conference calls.
Hands-free devices are an amazing tool when you're running a side hustle, or even a full time business. You can use your drive time for work by scheduling calls when you know you'll be in the car with a hands-free device. Just make sure to avoid playing any background music, and try to avoid overly loud routes (no construction zones). Most of the time nobody will ever know you're in a car.
3. Block schedule your meetings.
Try scheduling all your meetings for the week in one block instead of during lunch-breaks or random evenings. If you have a favorite meeting venue like a coworking space or coffee shop you can schedule your meetings back-to-back and knock them out in a few hours. Also, try to limit your meetings to a 2-3 a week if possible, scheduling meetings out weeks ahead instead of trying to fit last minute things in. It will help you maintain a regular schedule, and help show your clients that your time is valuable. If you can only work on weekends or evenings, try setting just one 3-4 hour block for every week and schedule meetings and calls during that time. If you don't schedule the full time, since you've already allocated it, you can just fill the time with other business tasks to keep up your routine.
4. Make rush hour work for you.
If you have to commute to your 9-5 make rush hour work for your business by finding a place near your day job to wait out rush hour with some concentrated work time. In many cities waiting just 90 minutes can mean getting home in half the time, so you don't waste extra time sitting in traffic when you could be helping your business get off the ground. You could also get to work earlier in the morning to avoid the AM rush hour and do the same thing.
5. Batch your tasks - especially blogging and social media.
Try batching all of your business tasks so you can make the most of your limited time. For example, schedule your social posts for the week (or month) in one 1-2 hour block, outline all your blog posts in another, and then write them in a third. Batching tasks makes it easier to keep focused and accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. This will also come in handy when you go full time in your business, cutting down the time you spend refocusing between tasks throughout the day. Anything you can schedule ahead of time can be a batch task, like newsletters and even emails!
6. Hire help ASAP!
A huge benefit of having a full time job means having financial security that might allow you to hire help earlier than you realize. For example, part-time social media managers or virtual assistants will often offer packages of just a few hours a week at very reasonable prices, and they can spend time during the day engaging with your social media followers, answering inquiries, or even proofing and publishing your blog posts. Hiring help is an amazing way to double the effort being put into your side hustle and can help reduce stress by knowing there is someone on call during the day when you can't be.
7. Plan for slow growth to avoid burnout.
Burnout is very common for those who are trying to do two jobs for too long. The worst thing you can do is to work super late nights and early mornings trying to get your side hustle off the ground so you can leave your day job. Even if it doesn't feel like it, having a day job puts you in one of the best situations for entrepreneurship because you still have a steady stream of income to help grow your business. Plan for growth over months, even years, and make intentional, strategic moves so when you leave your day job you're secure in your new income. While a new venture can be very exciting, the novelty often wears off as you realize that not all small business tasks are fun (taxes, we're looking at you..). Planning slow growth can mean spending more time on the parts of your business you love, and settings things up right the first time.
8. Work smarter - not harder.
A key factor in making sure you're running your business well during your off hours is making sure ALL of your jobs are being done as efficiently as possible. You might be able to make more time for your business by focusing more on your day job. Yes, you read that correctly! In most cases, spending some time making sure your day job tasks get done more efficiently means you'll have more time to take long lunches, and leave early to work on your side hustle while keeping your boss happy. Also, make sure you implement streamlined practices in your side hustle so you are able to get things done faster like batching tasks, creating systems for clients, newsletters, social media, and more, and block scheduling your client interactions.
9. Schedule your emails.
Use something like Boomerang for Gmail to schedule your emails so your customers/clients won't know you're answering their emails at odd hours. It's seriously a lifesaver when you really want to answer and get tasks out of the way but don't want someone wondering why you're writing work emails at 1am (even though let's face it - we've all been there!)
10. Manage time expectations with customers/clients.
The most important tip for making a side hustle work is to be honest with your clients/customers and let them know that they might not get immediate answers during the workday. Making promises like "within 48 hours" sets an expectation that you will get back to them in a timely manner but not necessarily right away. For example, you could spend 30 minutes every night answering inquiries and schedule your answers to go out throughout the morning.