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:
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.
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.
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!
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)
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,