Whether your side gig is born from a need for extra cash or you’re pursuing your passion on the side of a more classically “stable” job, good work going after what you want. You’re gaining not only additional wealth, but experience and contacts, all things that will help you develop your skills and career no matter what you decide to pursue.
We asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council their most effective techniques for making time for a side hustle without taking away from someone’s full-time job. Here’s what they said:
1. Create a detailed calendar.
It’s important to have a calendar for your side gig, just like you would [for] your full-time job that requires projects and time commitments. Create a separate agenda for your side business and include deadlines and other important notes you need to remember. This will greatly increase your productivity and keep you on track for the tasks you need to get done.
—Jared Atchison, WPForms
2. Learn to say ‘no.’
When you are trying to balance a full-time job and a side project, you need to say no to those things that will not help you reach your goals. It may seem rough to turn down a friend or miss a party, but this is the time to stay focused. Focus on the most important thing when you are trying to do it all.
—Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker
3. Choose a day.
You may think you can divide your focus between your full-time job and your side hustle, but you’re only kidding yourself. I set aside a day of the week to focus purely on my side hustle. It trains my brain to go all in on that day and protects [my side hustle] from bleeding over into the rest of the week.
—Jessica Gonzalez, InCharged
4. Work in small sprints.
If you’ve got a full-time job, it can be really difficult to come home from the office and sit down for hours to work on your side gig. You might not even have hours to spare, especially if you’ve got a family to take care of. So, to make time for your side gig, work on it in small sprints. Setting aside a couple of 15-minute blocks throughout your day will allow you to get things done.
—John Turner, SeedProd LLC
5. Schedule the time.
Like anything, if you want to have time for something, you have to schedule it. I block out my week hour by hour. This includes my time before and after work and allows me to know exactly when I can dedicate a few hours to something outside of what I mainly do. Find a time that will work each week for your side hustle and make it a habit.
—Adrien Schmidt, Bouquet.ai
6. Make it your hobby.
When people say that they don’t have enough time to pursue a side hustle, what they really mean is that they’d rather spend their free time on hobbies or relaxing activities instead. Therefore, the trick to freeing up time for working on other business ventures is to make it feel like one of your hobbies. This works especially well if your side hustle directly relates to one of your passions.
—Bryce Welker, Crush The CPA Exam
7. Work on the weekends.
Finding time for your side gig during the workweek can be hard, and being overloaded with work can cause you to burn out. Instead, try working on it on the weekends [when] it’ll be easier to sit down and spend some time catching up. Plus, if you’re passionate about your side project, it won’t be hard to give up some of your downtime for it.
—Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
8. Wake up early or stay up late.
You may [already] have an extremely busy schedule and you may not be able to cope with all your daily tasks on time because of all the distractions that you face. If this is the case, it will be very hard to carve out the time for your side hustle during the day. You need to find a quiet period instead—a productive time when you know you won’t be bothered by anything else.
—Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
9. Systematize as much as you can.
It’s really important to try to [systematize] some of the smaller and more routine tasks… This can help you scale and grow the business faster. If you get really good at it, you can even take on virtual assistants to take care of the lower grade tasks.
—Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting
10. Partner up.
Find trusted partners to work with you on growing the side business so each of you takes on a different part of it or manages it during a specified time. Everyone wins by dispersing the tasks involved, helping to take on more side gigs and build that out for profitability for all.
—John Rampton, Calendar
11. Make a list.
There are numerous applications available for your smartphone and computer that can help you manage your time. Many of these applications give you the ability to create lists. Before you begin your day, create your list and allocate time for each task. Providing you can follow your list, this tactic will help you manage your time and give you the opportunity to work [on] your side hustle.
—Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
12. Create and adhere to boundaries.
I work full-time at my company and also have a consulting business on the side. I set aside days and times for my consulting work throughout the week, and it gives me so much joy to serve that community! Create boundaries in your workday, decide when to work on your side project and take massive action to make it happen.
—Rachel Beider, PRESS Modern Massage
13. Connect the dots.
Connect the dots and find synergies between your day job and your side gig. Can you bring value to both? When I worked at Madison Avenue agencies, my side hustle was to become a professional speaker at marketing conferences. The agencies gladly sent me to these conferences to speak because I was able to bring [in] clients and market their brand from the stage.
—Matthew Capala, Alphametic
14. Make the time.
Let’s be honest here. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has time to spare on creating a side hustle. It’s just a matter of principle and how bad you want it. Instead of watching hours of your favorite show or movie on Netflix, spend that time creating your side income. One effective way is to match it. If you spend at least one hour watching, spend at least one hour building your side hustle.
—Fritz Colcol, ABN Circle
This article was published in June 2019 and has been updated. Photo by @KostikovaNatalia/Twenty20