If you are starting a side hustle, chances are you are managing a lot of different things while doing so. Whether it’s a day job, your home life or your own procrastination. The majority of people who want to build a side hustle are doing so because they want to leave their 9-5, they need some extra cash to make ends meet or they’ve been furloughed due to a global pandemic. Whatever the reason – no business is built by a person who is doing absolutely nothing.
Time management is essential for any business owner, but can be somewhat tricky for someone starting up something on the side. Here are some things to keep in mind when you are starting up your side hustle with other responsibilities on your plate.
Managing Your Day Job
If you have a full or part time job, it’s very important not to work on your side hustle during your work hours. That is called “time theft” and you can be held liable, even sued, for stealing. If someone is paying you for a job, you can’t be working at a different “job” at the same time. It’s very important that you set up your schedule to accommodate both if this is the situation that you are in.
You can take phone calls, send emails, or respond to texts during your scheduled breaks from your job. Just as you would check on your kids, or go grab lunch, these things should be done on your time, not your employer’s. Make sure that you respect that division and let anyone who is working with you in your side hustle – client or team member – that you are unavailable during your work hours.
It’s a huge mistake to start building out a new business with the expectation that you can work on it during a time when you are being paid by someone else. Not only is it stealing, but it just makes you feel bad. Feeling bad or guilty when you are starting up will inevitably lead to failure – keep your karma clean!
Managing Your Home Life
Having a side hustle when your home life is active can be pretty draining, not just for you but for others. Even if you are single and have a dog (like I did when I started Chic CEO!) it takes a lot of out of you. If you have a spouse and two kids (like I do now!) things can get even more complicated.
It’s imperative to be around supportive people. If your family or friends (or dog) isn’t all that supportive of your new venture – things can get really sticky, really fast.
Be totally open and transparent with the people you run your life with when starting out. Involve them in the process, set some goals together and define what your new normal might look like. The work has to get done, but so does the cooking, parenting, dog walking, etc., that keeps life moving forward. Don’t make the mistake of not involving the people around you – even your kids if you have them. A supportive circle of loved ones will make all the difference in the success of your business.
If you have a spouse and a family, remember this: when you are starting a side hustle, you inadvertently take them along for the ride. You can’t just leave all of the parenting to your spouse while you work. You can expect to have a meal on the table every night when you used to take turns cooking. More work for you also means more work for them.
Do your best to manage all expectations surrounding your home life so you are being supportive and supported.
Setting Parameters with Clients
In the beginning it’s very tempting to be on call for our clients 24/7. It’s exciting to get your first client and you want to make sure they are loving working with you. But once the honeymoon period is over, you’ll very much regret this. When your client expects you to take their call just as your daughter’s recital is beginning – you will begin to hate the situation you’ve put yourself in. If your client expects you to be in their office at 7am, when you’ve promised your friend that you’d be there for an early morning jog, you have not set up proper boundaries.
“I recently had a convo with a potential client who told me he was kind of jealous of the way my business is set up because he spends most of his days in meetings and rarely has the time he needs to do the actual work he loves. By setting clear boundaries with my clients, (when I am available to them and when I’m not) I am able to show up for the important meetings and utilize the rest of my time working on their projects. This helps me produce great results and creative ideas that I can then implement.” says Jody Greene, founder of Verde Marketing Communications.
If you want to take every Wednesday off for “Mommy Fun Day” (like I do!), every Tuesday morning to yourself to head to the rock climbing gym, or only take client calls on Thursdays, that’s totally ok. You don’t have to explain to anyone what schedule you set. It’s yours to explore, it’s yours to work around whatever you need to in order to make your life work.
Be crystal clear when you’ll be available to them and when you won’t, so that their expectations are managed.
In part four of the series, we’re going to explore automation and how to manage your business using systems.
The Ultimate Guide To Starting A Side Hustle – 7 Part Series:
Part 1: Passion Is Not The Way
Part 2: Narrow Your Niche
Part 3: Managing Your Time
Part 4: Automation and Systems
Part 5: Making Money
Part 6: Marketing
Part 7: Recommended Reading