Argh, it’s Monday morning. Your alarm has already gone off twice and you know you have to drag your ass out of bed otherwise you’re going to be late to work.
Then you remember that you’re getting up extra early because you’ve gotta hustle. Today is the first day you’re working in your side hustle!
You leap out of bed, have a quick shower and throw some coffee down your throat as you open your laptop…
You’re now the new CEO of your own business and it’s time to show up and act like one.
I’m going to make an assumption right now and say that you’re already working a side hustle while working a job because right now, your side hustle isn’t earning enough to cover all your bills and allow you to quit your day job.
If this is you, then you’ll also know how easy it is to say things like:
“I’m so tired… I’ll do research for my side hustle tomorrow.” or
“I’ll leave that gig for someone else to grab, I need to take some downtime, I’m exhausted.”
If you want to be successful in your side hustle, you have to make sacrifices initially. But if you can live with short term pain for longer term gains, then ultimately, you’ll win.
How to do that is always easier said than done. Which is why I wanted to provide you with the strategies that I used to build my side hustle while balancing my day job.
3 Strategies for Building a Side Hustle While Balancing Your Day Job
#1: Schedule it
I don’t know about you, but I pride myself on being pretty organized. In fact, when I was working my day job, my boss would often praise me on this skill.
And it was also this skill that kept me in the job I was doing—never being able to move forward because, as my boss put it, “You’re so good at what you do and you make my life easier!”
If that’s not enough to make you wanna start a side hustle fast, I don’t know what will.
Anyway, I digress.
When I first got started as a freelance writer, I found that I really struggled to stay on top of everything…
I would often be late to dates with friends (which is so not like me), forget important meetings outside of work, and barely meet deadlines for my freelance clients.
I was never a great juggler at school and this definitely hadn’t changed as I became an adult.
So after a missed deadline that lost me a client and dealing with annoyed friends, I had to take a step back and look at the way I was working.
It was then that the penny dropped… Hello, Google Calendar!
I don’t know why I hadn’t thought to do this sooner!
Once I did, I never had any issues again with meeting deadlines and catching up with friends.
What did I do?
I took all the client projects that I was working on and added them to my Google Calendar. I also added in personal appointments, the hours I was working, and anything else that I needed to remember.
I took it a step further and color-coded my calendar so that I could easily identify what was job related, side hustle related, or personal related.
If you’re not sure how to do this, you can check out the Google article here. You’ll need to create multiple calendars to be able to add colors, but it’s a lifesaver!
I also added in time buffers around my side hustle deadlines, giving myself at least 24-48 hours.
What this looked like in practice was if a client’s blog post was due on a Friday, I’d make sure I had it scheduled in my calendar to be completed by Thursday. You can see how this looks below.
Your Task: Take 30 minutes to sit down and create as many calendars as you need to get everything scheduled in. Don’t forget to include your personal calendar and block out the hours you’re working at your day job too.
#2: Identify your side hustle hours
This kinda goes along with the previous strategy. Working out how much time you can spend in your side hustle each week is key to ensuring you can build and grow your business.
If you don’t know how many hours you can dedicate to your business, how will you know if you can take on that client project?
This is common sense, but sometimes the obvious is what we forget to do.
So if you’ve been struggling to balance your side hustle with your day job, it might be because you haven’t worked out how many hours you’re prepared to dedicate to your biz.
This is an easy exercise to do. Simply review your calendar and see how many hours you have available outside of your day job.
Once know the number of hours you have, then you have to decide how much time you want to spend working in your side hustle vs. doing other things; like catching up with friends, binge watching Netflix etc.
Remember… short-term pain, long-term gain.
For me, I was working 7:30am – 4:30pm Monday to Friday.
I sat down and worked out that aside from exercising 4 times per week (a non-negotiable for me), I had 3-4 hours each week-day that I was prepared to dedicate to my side hustle.
This is how a typical week would look for me:
5:00am-6:30am Side Hustle Hours
7:30am-4:30pm Job Hours
7:00pm-9:30pm Side Hustle Hours
I had flexibility to move this around if an important personal event came up. I also made the decision that on the weekends, I’d also do some work.
My boyfriend at the time (now husband) is not a morning person, which meant that on the weekends, I could get up at 7am and get in a couple hours of work before he even stirred.
This meant that on an average week, I had about 20-24 hours per week dedicated to my side hustle.
Once I knew this number, it was a lot easier to decide which clients I would take on and when.
Your Task: Sit down and work out what hours each week you’re prepared to dedicate to building and working your side hustle. Make a note of this in your Google Calendar too.
#3: Build an email list
I’m sure you’ve heard this one before. You MUST be collecting email addresses as soon as you can.
If you’re not, then it will be difficult to build your side hustle beyond trading time for dollars.
If you can start building your email list now, it will pay off in the future, particularly when you start reducing freelance hours and instead, switch to creating and selling courses or other products.
The most effective way of building an email list is to provide an enticing lead magnet that your target audience needs. It should be something that they would pay for.
Use this lead magnet to build your email list.
When I got started, I wrote an ebook that taught my clients how to come up with 100s of blog post ideas each month as well as how to fill their social media calendar with 100s of ideas each month.
This ebook was of value to my target audience and it wasn’t long before I’d built a list of over 3,000 people in just 12 months.
Of course you can do this faster if you have the time, but I only dedicated about 1 hour a week to building my email list, so it was a slow burn initially.
It’s about prioritizing the right things in your business in the beginning.
Do you need the extra cash more than you need to spend time on building your list? Probably. Which is why your focus will be on actually working in your side hustle. But you should also carve some time out for building your list, because it will pay off in the end.
You can expect 2-5% conversion’s from your email list.
This means that if you need to make $4,000 per month and your product is priced at $297, you’ll need to sell at least 13 products and you’ll need a list size of at least 623 people.
Here’s the formula to work this out (you can do this for your service-based business too):
Divide your monthly income by your product’s (or service’s) price: $4,000 / $297 = 13
Divide the number of sales you’ll need by the conversion rate: 13 / 0.02 = 623
Your Task: Decide on a lead magnet that your target audience wants and create it. Promote your landing page to encourage people onto your email list.
Now it’s Your Turn
If you focus on these three areas during your first 12 months in your side hustle, by the time you’re ready to quit your day job, you’ll be well and truly able to hit the ground running and grow your business to the next level.
All that’s left to do is for you to take action and get back to work!