THE CANDID TRUTH ON MANAGING A SIDE HUSTLE ALONGSIDE A 9-5

The moment I got my official employment letter on the 10th of April 2017, I knew my life was about to take a dramatic turn. I wasn’t sure where my professional career was headed, but I had full clarity on the importance of keeping TAC afloat amongst other soon to come priorities.

Sometimes, I get emails and messages from admiring strangers and friends telling me to keep up the good work with being consistent with content creation, be it on my blog, Instagram or on Youtube. On a few occasions, I get the “I wish I could balance my 9-5 and be consistent with content just like you”. Well, here’s a newsflash. IT IS SO FREAKING HARD!

It’s currently 11 pm and I’m grieving at the fact that it’ll be another night of 5 hours sleep max! I’ve lost count of how many pitches I’ve sent to brands this week, my to-do list is filled with unchecked tasks and I have just gotten off the phone with my friend and brand advisor who has told me I need to re-strategize and diversify my content. Where do I start from?

Contrary to what people may think, being a consistent lifestyle content creator is a full-time job in its own entity. Oh, how I wish it was just pretty photos and a glamorized Instagram layout but it takes work day in, day out. From shoot days to copywriting, research, social media promotion, pitching for brand sponsorships, etc..it can get a bit overwhelming, especially when you’re a one-man team like myself.

Often times I find myself analyzing the pros and cons associated with quitting my day job and facing this passion of mine wholeheartedly, but I’m a realist and unfortunately, I’m not yet at the stage where passion pays the bills.

Through the process of writing this post, I often let out a little chuckle as if to subtly remind myself that I’m still figuring all this out. But I’ve amassed over a solid year of experience juggling both priorities and I feel confident sharing some tips I utilize to survive a day job while concurrently killing that side hustle:

  1. Prioritize:

    One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt over the past year is to prioritize the sh*t out of everything! I used to be of the belief that in order to feel accomplished in a day, my to-do list had to be filled with tasks. The truth is on most days, you’ll feel like you’re drowning in everything you think you have to do. Learn to take some time in the morning to prioritize what needs to be done and go from there. The rush and satisfaction of getting smaller tasks done will fuel the energy to kick off the bigger ones during the day.

    Also, depending on what your side hustle is, your tasks through the week/weekend may vary. For me, it’s making sure all my outfits are shot on Saturday, edited on Sunday and scheduled for the week on my different platforms. It also means, I spend 2 hours after work drafting pitch emails and writing content.

  2. Organize and Maximize Your Time:

    Like your life/money depends on it and in this case, it most likely does. Time becomes more of a luxury when you have little of it and you should be maximizing every second you can to your advantage. This means ensuring you have good systems in place to enhance workflow in all areas.

    I’m a fan of organisational tools to keep up with to-do lists and trigger call-to-action reminders because I’m not great at remembering all I have to do. If organisational tools are not your thing, try using apps like Forest to minimise your distraction level and increase productivity throughout the day. You’ll be amazed at how much can be accomplished if you just shut off your phone notifications for an hour.

  3. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate:

    Do you know someone who can do a task better than you? Rather than spend valuable time on something that isn’t your strong suit, take advantage of the skills around you. In my case, I know anything finance related is energy and time draining so I don’t spend my time understanding anything more than the basics, which is writing up my invoices. Same way I’d rather spend my time curating content than understanding the intrinsics of Web Design. My point is, utilize your network!

  4. Import skills from your day job to your side hustle:

    The unique advantage of having a day job is acquiring transferrable professional skills and resources, valuable to your side hustle. Your day job is like a free business school for you to learn and develop knowledge/skills you’d ordinarily not have the time to pick up. The skills I’ve developed from Client / Project management are continuously applied in areas of my side business (re: invoicing, schedule mgt, brand pitches, etc)

  5. Your goals are just as important:

    As your employee’s. The biggest struggle as a side hustler is getting motivated to work on their own goals, especially when it’s not paying off as good as their monthly cheques. The temptation to get comfortable and derail becomes higher with every disappointment and that’s where having a plan becomes important. For me, I often set realistic short-term goals and work actively towards them. In summary, no matter how tired and worn out you find yourself at the end of a workday, it is imperative to contribute something, no matter how little to your personal short/long-term goals. Remember, small drops make an ocean.

I know there are a number of people in this boat, trying to figure out a side business while also working a 9-5. What has/hasn’t worked for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts, recommendations or tips in the comment section!

Till next time,

A.R.E

xx

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Comments (15)

  • Avatar

    Nayonde

    I found this post very useful and totally relatable but you seem much more organized than I am. I’m still learning how to pitch to Brands I’ve only ever sent one mail to a brand, feel I need to do more.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Alma

      Hey babe!! First of all, I only seem organised now because I’ve been doing this for a while! It definitely took time to master the organisation of things without falling over myself all the time. I think it’ll be best if I did a post on the simple but very efficient tools I use in getting through my day.

      Let me know if you’d be interested in something of this sort! Remember, if you can’t do it yourself, outsource it!!

      ❤️ – Alma

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Fola

    Thanks for putting this out here , it’s very helpful and am definitely going to challenge myself , I have so many business ideas I don’t even know how to move forward because of less time from my Job Sigh****

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Teeara Ida

    Loveeeeee this! Thanks for dropping the gems!

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Alma

      You are welcome!! ❤️

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Cookie

    At least now I know that it’s not just me that goes through the 9-5 struggle. I loved reading this post it was very insightful.
    I’m a realist too and quitting is not an option at least till passion starts paying the bills.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Bola

    This is me right now. I totally agree with you that it is tough. Delegating can mean higher costs since you might have to pay for delegated tasks.

    I am still trying to figure it out but for now i have decided to enjoy the process. Stay calm and put myself in the right frame of mind always. Tell myself that I am not stressed, that it is just hard work and I should be proud of myself. Am doing what I have to do until I can do what I want to do.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Alma

      Sometimes, delegating doesn’t have to cost money. I often offer an exchange in services if I don’t have the budget for it. But also, if you have to pay for it, remember you are investing in yourself! It’s never money lost.

      I hope you figure it all out!

      ❤️ – Alma

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Gift

    Saw the post tittle and I just had to read it..just started a 9-5 and am finding it abit hard adjusting and creating time to work on my side hustle..nice post ..I did learn a thing

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Dominique

    Try throwing a completely adorable, hyperactive puppy into the mix. MY GOD. I’m so tired.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Wunms

    I love how honest and relatable this post is! Thanks for the delegation tip, I’ll have to find a way to start incorporating that ASAP xx

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Alma

      You’re welcome!! Thank you for reading ☺️

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Viv AF

    Girl, this picture is so flamessss!
    My fav recommendation is acquiring transferable professional skills and resources, valuable to your side hustle.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Love and Light,
    Viv AF!
    http://www.thealaroro.com

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Alma

      Girl! Honestly, since I started looking at my 9-5 as a business school, my mindset has changed!

      Thanks for reading Viv!

      ❤️ – Alma

      Reply

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