Viktoriia Hnatiuk / Shutterstock.com
This story originally appeared on Dollar Sprout.
Starting a side business can be a great way to generate extra income, especially if you need cash to grow your emergency fund or pay off debts. With so many opportunities to make money online or in person, it is possible to do a side gig around your regular 9-to-5 job.
Figuring out how to balance a full-time job with a side business can put your time management skills to the test. As a full-time freelance writer who also runs three blogs and teaches two kids at school, I understand the struggle. If you have a full-time job and part time at the same time, we have some tips from part time experts on how you can do both.
Starting a side business can help you flex your entrepreneurial muscles, and it is becoming an increasingly popular way to make money. However, there are some considerations that need to be considered, especially if you also have a full-time job.
It is helpful to think about what your goals are, what type of sideline you are most interested in, and how much time you can realistically devote to it.
There is no magic bullet how you can balance your full-time job with a side business. It takes planning and patience for everything to work.
Whether you spend a few hours a day by your side or just a few hours a week, these strategies can help you find a happy medium between working for your boss and trying to be your own boss in your free time , to find.
1. Pick a sideline that you are passionate about
Friends Stock / Shutterstock.com
A full-time job and a sideline can be a lot easier when you make money doing something that motivates you. Gowtham Kandavel, a senior user interface (UX) designer who also runs Thrilla, a website for other UX designers, said this is key to getting a full-time job and a side job up and running.
"Only when you are passionate can you burn the midnight oil without breaking down," he said.
Kandavel learned this from experience with his first two sideline businesses, both of which failed. The problem is that these sideline activities did not reflect his passions or interests, which hampered his success.
If your goal for starting a side business is to eventually turn it into a business, think about what you could do in the long term. Look at your passions and use them to generate sideline ideas to help you do something you love. That way, it feels less like two jobs to have a full-time job and a sideline.
2. Set clear boundaries
fizkes / Shutterstock.com
Being an entrepreneur with a full-time job means you only have that much time. You need to be clear about who you are and are not willing to sacrifice, said Andrew Chen, product manager at Google who has three sideline jobs including running the personal finance website Hack Your Wealth.
Overall, Chen estimates that he works 55 to 60 hours a week on his day job and another 15 to 25 hours a week on side jobs. That means getting enough sleep and leading a social life that sometimes falls behind.
Chen said it is important to set limits with yourself and others about how far you are willing to be successful when trying to have a full-time job and sideline.
"That will make it easier to have conversations with family members and friends that make you feel less guilty," he said.
3. Have a schedule
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com
Having a routine is critical to keeping up with a side gig while working full-time, said Mayuri Kashyap, a full-time recruiter who also runs the travel blog To Someplace New.
"Setting up a weekly and monthly plan helps me stay on track," said Kashyap.
That means she uses her daily two-hour public transit commute to do small tasks like posting on social media or replying to emails on her smartphone. She also wakes up early to devote an hour before work to her sideline.
Having a set schedule for working on your side gig can help maximize your productivity. If you're not on a schedule, keep a time log for a week to see where your time is going each day. Then find out where you can save extra time for your hectic pace.
4. Use small periods of time
baranq / Shutterstock.com
One misconception about how to balance your full-time job with a side business is that you can only work on both of them in large blocks of time. Albert Lee, a doctor who works 50 to 55 hours a week and also runs the home improvement website Home Living Lab, said that taking advantage of small downtime can be just as important.
For example, instead of spending your entire lunch break on social media, use that time to work on your hustle and bustle.
"These little bits of time may seem insignificant, but they add up," Lee said. "Personally, I find that if I can take full advantage of them, I can do about 45 to 60 minutes of good, solid work during my daily work."
Again, keeping a time log can help you identify those little opportunities in your day. And when you find them, use the next tip to get the most out of them.
5. Eliminate distractions
SG SHOT / Shutterstock.com
One of the biggest issues with balancing your full-time job with a sideline is making the most of the time you have available for your sideline.
Brendan Heffernan, owner of Dunk or Three, has a 45-hour full-time job with students and a lucrative part-time stint as a freelance writer and editor. Since he's also a parent, he will maximize his sideline hours by eliminating distractions as much as possible.
"If you have time to work, work all the time and not surf the Internet or watch YouTube videos," said Heffernan.
Whether you're on your side before work or after your regular work, avoid distractions. Leave your phone in another room, turn off the TV, and consider using a special web browser extension like StayFocusd to block websites or apps that might dissuade you from doing the task.
6. Take care of your health
Farknot Architect / Shutterstock.com
When balancing a side gig while working full-time, it's easy to neglect basic self-care. But that's a guaranteed way to get burned out. You need to prioritize health so that you have enough energy to work on both.
Chris Panteli spends 50 hours a week running his restaurant while working on his personal finance blog, Life Upswing. After he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 32, he realized the importance of good self-sufficiency in keeping up with sideline and full-time employment.
"My key to balancing both of these is to get a good night's sleep and to make sure the quality of sleep is also good," said Panteli.
It is tempting to work long hours to increase your sideline, but consider what the health compromise can be. When you are tired it can affect your productivity at work and potentially put your day job at risk. And when you get home from work, you may run out of energy to focus on your hectic pace.
7. Operate the auxiliary autopilot
Olena Yakobchuk / Shutterstock.com
As an entrepreneur with a full time job, it is impossible to do everything yourself. This is where automation comes in.
Jonathan Sanchez works full time as a software engineer, while he has a side job as a real estate investor and founder of ParentPortfolio. He uses schedulers to keep up with social media posts and email campaigns driving traffic to his website.
If your sideline is website or blogging, you can try using similar automation tools so you don't have to be as hands-on with your business. You can also use automation to manage other parts of your life so that you have more time to focus on your side gig.
For example, you can set up automatic bill payments so you don't have to worry about due dates. Budgeting apps allow you to automatically track your expenses and simplify manual execution.
8. Remember your why
Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock.com
Working full-time on the sideline can be challenging to say the least. It's important to have a clear reason for what you do from day one.
Lucy Reyes is a supply chain specialist and mom who deals with multiple blogs, including her main page, Cheers to Life Blogging. She said that if you focus on why you started your side business, staying motivated to keep working on it when you feel exhausted or stuck.
If you've lost track of your why, take the time to remember what your side business goals were when you first started. Use your goals as an anchor to help you stay grounded and focused, whether you are out of debt, want to create financial security for your family, or one day want to leave your day job.
Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, sometimes we get compensation for clicking links in our stories.