We all have experienced moments that change the trajectory of our life. Some are big thunderclap moments that smack us in the face; others are so subtle we can’t quite pinpoint them when reflecting back on our story. Whichever the case, it’s these moments that provide the drive to start a side hustle and potentially a new career path altogether in the midst of the existing stress of a regular nine to five.
I remember my moment vividly. I had just graduated college and had three fitness certifications under my belt and plenty of work experience for someone my age. I started my side hustle as an independent trainer, which eventually led to my current job as owner of Eat N Run Fitness, no side hustle necessary.
Working multiple jobs isn’t always easy; often it’s a flat out pain in the ass. But when you have a passion for something, when you know you have something to offer the world that isn’t in your current job description, a side hustle can feel like a breath of fresh air for your soul.
With that in mind, I’m going to teach you what I learned, and how to do it successfully.
1. Plan out your “non-working” hours
As human beings, we are masters at being lazy and wasting time. Evolution tells us to conserve energy, so we do it brilliantly — thanks Netflix. You have to fight against this tendency if your side job is going to have any success. Get a planner and schedule out what you’re going to do before work, after work and on weekends (though you’ll want to also schedule in some self-care, see tip #7). And stick to it! You’d be shocked what you can get done in even 10 to 15 minute increments if you actively plan for it.
My favorite planner in the whole world is “Organize Your Gorgeous Chaos.” It’s perfectly built for scheduling out your side job to do list and has a handy section for writing down the reward you’ll give yourself upon completing said to do lists.
Mindbody is a great scheduling and payment app if your side job is any client based booking business (think personal trainer, massage therapist, makeup artist, etc.)
Google calendar is another fantastic organizational tool for tasks and scheduling.
2. Find a mentor
Let me preface this by saying, don’t badger anyone into being your mentor. It will come naturally when you meet the right person. Do what you can to make connections with people who work in your field by finding gatherings through the app Meetup, going to industry mixers, and attending workshops. Pick people’s brains, ask for advice, but have something to bring to the table as well.
Choose your mentor wisely. Some people seem to have it all together but end up just being really good actors. Keep your eyes open and observe whether they actually are getting the results you want. In other words, ask advice from people who have what you want, everyone else is just guessing.
Having someone to look up to who has gone through your same struggles, but has come out on the other side, is invaluable. They will cut your “figuring things out” stage in half and help you avoid making silly but common mistakes.
3. Have a support system
You will cry, you will want to quit, you will fail. These are inevitabilities of working independently. Have a strong support system full of people who believe in you and who will lift you up when you can’t quite lift yourself up.
4. Prioritize building a solid foundation for growth
Despite how you may feel upon starting your side hustle, you don’t need to do everything at once. Write out a to-do list of everything you can think of to make you successful at what you’re doing. Give every item a number between one and three, one being top priority, three being things that will be good to have in your back pocket, but aren’t necessary to start. Work through the list according to priority.
Just like you don’t have to do everything at once, you don’t have to do everything alone. Ask friends and family to help where they can, if they can’t help and you can afford it, go ahead and hire some help. Worst comes to worst you can scavenge the local college for interns (note: if you do this, don’t be a jerk. They are working for free; treat them well and pay them back for their hard work when you are able).
6. Think less, do more
Planning is great, but waiting for perfection will keep you from moving forward. Do what you can, when you can and just get your work out there… ASAP.
7. Take care of yourself
Working multiple jobs is a serious time suck and can add a lot of stress to your already full plate. Keep at least a small amount of time dedicated each week to mental and physical health if you want to stay on top of your game. Trust me, no one wants to work with or buy from someone who is exhausted and grumpy. Read, exercise, spend time with loved ones… recharge your freakin’ batteries.
8. Take the leap
If you’ve started your side job and it’s gaining success, you have a plan and know how to execute it, and you’re at the point where your business is infringing on your nine to five and vice versa, it’s time to take the leap and give what you’re passionate about everything you’ve got. You’ve gotten this far, trust me you can do this.