So, you have a great idea for your business, but you can’t afford to quit your day job. What’s the solution? Do the side hustle. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you build your business on the side.
From the moment you start thinking about starting a side hustle, be intentional about doing things right with your day job. This means no working on your business while you're on the clock, no using company resources to build your business, and no behind the scenes plots to steal clients.
Depending on your relationship with your employer, you may even be able to let them in on your plans. This could backfire, as some that try it end up losing their job immediately. I was one of the fortunate ones in that six months before I planned to quit, I talked to my boss about my plans. This enabled us to work together on a transition plan, and because of it things went smoothly. Doing so also kept the doors wide open for me to do work for them as a freelancer after I quit. They still, more than five years later, contact me for project work.
Know When to Keep Quiet
But let's say that you don't work in an environment where being open about your plans is a good idea. In that case, this article published on Entrepreneur.com has some good tips. The first one is to check the company policy regarding moonlighting.
The second one that stood out to me has to do with keeping quiet about your side hustle. This can be a bit tricky, particularly if you're doing anything online, but Joseph Michael is an example of an entrepreneur that did just that. Joseph Michael is his real name, but it's just his first and middle name. Using just his first and middle name enabled him to build a strong online brand while still an employee. Most people still know him by this name, even though he later revealed his last name as well.
The point is to be mindful of your responsibilities with your day job, and work in a way that you don't burn any bridges when moving on.
Starting your day right is important regardless of whether you're doing the side hustle or working your business full time. But it's especially important when you're doing the side hustle, because time is so limited. This article published on Addicted2Success provides a few great tips for starting your day off right. The most important one in my opinion is to jump out of bed immediately.
This matters because those early morning hours before you leave for your day job are some of the most important hours when it comes to building your side hustle. I did the side-hustle myself for five months before quitting my day job, and I always got my most important client work done in the morning before leaving for my day job.
And by the way, if you need ideas for morning rituals, check out the article below published right here on PatrickBetDavid.com on the morning rituals of an entrepreneur.
I've met a lot of people doing the side hustle that claim they can't get much done because they don't have time. The thought is that once they quit their day job, they'll have time. The reality is that regardless of if you're doing the side hustle or working your business full-time, time is your most precious resource.
This article published on Addicted2Success offers up three ideas for mastering time. The third one is my favorite and that is to make a list of wasteful activities. In an article published this week here on PatrickBetDavid.com, Patrick uses the term, "cut the fat" to describe these time wasters. You can check out the article here:
In the article 4 Ways You Can Succeed With Your Side Hustle While Working A Day Job one of the great tips is to write down ideas that come to you throughout the day. Now obviously you shouldn't spend a bunch of time at work planning and working on your business, but it is a good idea to have a place to quickly jot down ideas as they come to mind.
When you're still working your day job, it's normal to feel frustrated and as if you're wasting time at work that could be spent working on your business. Instead of looking at it that way, shift your thinking to see your job as a place to learn new skills, at someone else's expense.
Note, be sure to keep the first point in this article in mind, and that is to stay on good terms with your day job. From an integrity standpoint, I'd hesitate to enter into some type of costly training at my employer's expense if I didn't plan to stick around for awhile. But when opportunities arise for training or taking on more responsibility, learn everything you can. Step up and volunteer to do extra work that benefits the company, but also provides a learning opportunity for you as well.
In addition to learning while on the job, since your day job pays your bills, you can afford to experiment with your side hustle and make a lot of mistakes, since being profitable isn't as important when you're not depending on income from your side hustle.
One of the best things about a side-hustle is that it can help you figure out how much you need to charge. One of the mistakes that I made when I first transitioned from my day job to freelancing was thinking that a 50% increase in my hourly wage was good. My thought was, Hey! I'm going to be making so much more than I am now!
But then reality hit. I quickly discovered that there are a lot of hidden costs to self-employment that just aren't there for employees. For example, you pay for things like office space, computer, phone, software, healthcare, and more, all things your employer currently picks up the tab for.
I also quickly discovered how much time is wasted in a traditional office. For example, there are meetings, coworkers that drop by your office for "just a minute," tech issues, and more. In a traditional office setting, you got paid for all that time when you weren't actually getting anything done, but when you're freelancing, you don't get paid for any of that. You also don't get paid for administrative work, training, and a host of other things.
Track Your Time
Doing the side hustle is one of the best ways to get a feel for how much of your time are billable hours, and how much of your time is eaten up by things that have to be done, without pay.
In addition to that, if you're new to client work, you may not be prepared for clients that add on a bunch of extra work, expecting it to be done without additional compensation. This can result in a much lower hourly pay than you anticipated when providing the estimate for the project. The good news is, when you're doing the side hustle, you can afford to make mistakes in pricing because you're not depending on the income to pay your bills.
I recommend tracking how much time various tasks take. As part of that, track how many of the hours you work are billable hours vs. non-billable hours.This will help you develop a pricing structure that is fair for everyone.
Also, use your side hustle time to learn how to set proper boundaries. As an example, with one of my first clients, I charged what I felt was a fair amount for writing blog posts. And it would have been, if that was all I did. But after I started working for him, I discovered he also loved long, frequent phone calls. As a newer freelancer, I hadn't thought to put any boundaries in place to keep that from happening.
Speaking of boundaries, this article published on Forbes provides tips on how to ask a freelance client for more money.
There are many people in the U.S. and abroad that have a last name more common than Smith. Can you guess what it is? I'll give you a hint. It's not Jones, Wong, or Kumar. It's not Garcia or Rodriguez.
They are Mr. and Mrs. Someday.
We all know several people with the last name Someday. Perhaps you even bear that name yourself. You can recognize the Someday family not by their facial features, the color of their skin, or their accent. They are known by the things they say:
Someday I'm going to start a business.
Someday I'm going to quit this soul-sucking job.
I'm going to make a difference in this world - someday.
And yet as we all know, without intentionality, someday never comes.
Yes, you need to plan. You need to grow. You need to have some idea what you're doing. But all the planning in the world does no good unless you start. So give Mr. and Mrs. Someday the boot, and get to work on building your dream business now.
Be sure to leave your thoughts and comments regarding this article below.