Traditionally, we take on one full-time job that’ll consume most of our day. We go home, sleep, and repeat the same cycle again until we retire of old age. But for some people, having one job is not enough.
Nowadays, more people are taking on a side hustle, or another form of work in addition to their full-time job. According to Zapier, 1 in 3 Americans currently have a side hustle, and over 61 million people plan to start a side hustle this year (2021).
The report found that parents are nearly twice as likely to start a side hustle compared to their single counterparts. But, how can parents manage their day jobs, kids, partners, and various other family matters all at the same time?
Before we get to that, let’s look at what a side hustle is, and why you would (or should) start one…
What is a Side Hustle?
Maybe you’ve heard it from a friend who buys and sells abandoned storage units during their free time, or from a work colleague who takes on freelance graphic design projects when he clocks-off. The standard working definition around here, is that a side hustle is a job that you do on top of your main job. It could be as simple as working as a full-time accountant from 9 to 5, and then writing as a freelance content writer at all other times.
The main thing that sets a side hustle apart from a primary job is autonomy. In a side hustle, you have the freedom to decide on when you want to work, and how you want to work. However, when you’re working your primary job (i.e., for someone else) you have to do everything at a set time and to a set standard.
A side hustle also allows you to use skills that you are passionate about, often something that’s missing from your primary job.
What are the Main Goals of Starting a Side Hustle?
People start and commit to having a side hustle for different reasons. The top reason most people choose to have a side hustle is for additional and diversified income, which was shown in a 2019 Side Hustle Survey by Bankrate.
But money isn’t the only factor in taking on more work. You may take on a side hustles because you want to:
- learn a skill that you don’t get from your main work
- start a business and go full-time at it in the future
- be productive in your extra time
- pursue a passion or a hobby.
Finding the Balance in Doing Life and Side Hustle
Side hustling while keeping your full-time work may be romantic when you see it through a movie lens, but it’s not always as simple. The ones usually starting on a new endeavour are the ones that have to juggle all of the family commitments as well.
When there’s a lot to take in, you might end up feeling burned out or frustrated. So, you must find that sweet spot of knowing when to have a life and when to work on your side hustle.
Here are five tips to help you balance your life and side hustle:
1. Be Flexible
Having flexibility in your life is an advantage, especially when you’re embarking on a side hustle. If you can bend and manage your time accordingly, it’s much easier to juggle life.
One of the best things about working from home, is that you have suddenly been provided with that flexibility. You no longer have to drive to work every morning. You can hang washing for a stretch break, or you can start baking dinner during your lunch break. All of these things add up to more time for you to do what you want.
Probably the most important things you should do first, is discuss with your family how your side hustle will fit in with life. Would it be better that you get up early to work (before the kids are up), or are you able to skip out on your favourite TV show at night?
But there are many pros and cons of working from home, and you may realize that you feel too isolated, or there are too many distractions in your home environment. If this is the situation, a possibly solution could be that you work from a shared office space.
Everyone is different, and only you will know what works best for you and your family.
2. Choose the Best Side Hustle for You and Your Lifestyle
Anyone can do a side hustle, but that doesn’t mean that you should do one because you saw someone else doing it. Much like anything in your life, choosing what side hustle to pursue is a personal choice.
Maybe you love writing, putting ideas into words, and creating a story. You might want to try being a content writer or start blogging as a side hustle.
Perhaps you’re into photography and love capturing other people’s significant moments. You can be a freelance photographer.
You may also organize events, work on a specific budget, and make ideas come to life. Then, you can maybe try being an event organizer.
The point is to choose a side hustle that you already have the skills for, and you know you’ll enjoy doing.
3. Set Your Own Pace
I’m sure you’ve heard of people earning 6-digits on their freelance work or those that made their side hustles into their main hustles. It’s not impossible, but don’t expect overnight success. Every endeavour in life takes time, patience, and energy. Especially when you’re starting, it’s more of a trial and error process, so don’t beat yourself up when you feel like you’re not progressing.
The best way to avoid being overwhelmed is to have a plan and set a vision for yourself.
- What do you want to achieve with your side hustle?
- How do you plan to achieve it?
- When do you plan to achieve it?
4. Get Help
Feelings of stress, burnout, and other overwhelming thoughts aren’t meant to be bottled up inside. If you keep it within yourself, it’ll eat you out alive.
Don’t be afraid to seek help when it’s needed. If you have support, like family and friends, who are willing to listen, tell them about what you’re going through. Don’t hesitate to tap a mental health professional if you want to talk it out with someone outside your circle.
If you already have a lot on your plate, you can always outsource the parts of the job that you don’t like. For example, if your side hustle is a weekend catering business and you hate dealing with finances and accounting, you can hire an assistant to take care of your bills and recording your receivables. This way, your workload is lighter, your happier, and you have more time to do the things that you like.
5. Make Time for Yourself and Your Family
When you are juggling a lot at once, it’s easy to lose track of what’s happening at home. You should have the support from your family, but that doesn’t mean that being an absentee most of the time is acceptable.
So, no matter how full-packed your schedule is, don’t forget to take a pause and be with your family. Be deliberate on when and what part of the day you want to spend time with them.
For some couples who are both working, coming home and eating dinner together is a non-negotiable time. For others, appearing in big moments (like soccer practice, graduation, kids’ piano recital, birthdays etc.) or even the small moments, is something that is unable to be rescheduled..
In today’s climate, where people are seeking multiple income streams, or risk of losing their primary source of income, the side hustle movement is strong.
If you’ve been planning to start a hustle yourself, remember that time management and finding a balance is essential. You don’t need to sacrifice your life to make your side hustles successful. Instead, use your side hustles to make a better life for yourself and for the people around you.