Having a full-time job at a time when the number of unemployed workers is substantially higher than what it was during the Great Recession of 2008-09 is a blessing.
It’s always smart to have a backup plan, however.
Looking for a new and better job is difficult with high unemployment rates increasing the job pool. A better solution may be to start a side business while you’re fully employed.
Working full-time can give you the financial safety net to start and try out a few side gigs. And if you do lose your job someday, a side hustle could become your permanent job without having to adjust to a learning curve while you’re unemployed.
A side job started while you’re fully employed could also add a little cash to your budget. And that’s always a good thing. If nothing else, it gives you a chance to try doing some work you’re passionate about.
Start With Your Employer
Whether you tell your employer about your side gig jobs is up to you. They may not prefer you working extra hours.
But what you should check is if your employment contract has any stipulations against side work. These include non-compete clauses, exclusivity clauses that prevent you from working anywhere else while employed, and non-disclosure agreements so you won’t release intellectual property.
You may need to hire an employment lawyer to help you review your contract. Your employer may be willing to negotiate the contract to allow you to start a side business.
Don’t Do Side Work At The Workplace
It can be enticing to spend any downtime at work on your side gig.
Your employer may have formal policies on side job activities. Some larger companies may allow it during regular business hours as a way to retain employees. Lucky you.
But unless it’s allowed, it’s best to do any side work outside of your regular job. Using your employer’s time, computer, paper, client list or anything else connected to your daily workplace can get you in trouble. And by trouble, we mean losing your job.
You don’t necessarily have to hide your side work from your full-time employer, but it could be smart to meet with your boss and human resources department to explain what you’re doing and ensure it doesn’t violate company policy.
Start At Home
Whether it’s in your garage, a spare bedroom or a shack in your backyard, set up a space at home to get it started. Don’t use your kitchen, bedroom, dining room or other gathering area.
If you need a computer, desk and other things, don’t use anything from your regular job. Buy a separate computer and don’t use your work phone, even if it’s a mobile one, for your new side gig.
You may also need a business credit card and checking account so that your business expenses and income can be separate from your other accounts. This will make it a lot easier to file income taxes.
You may also want to form a legal business structure such as an LLC to give your side hustle liability protection.
What To Work At As A Side Hustle
If you’ve gotten this far, you probably already know what type of side job you want to create or start working in.
Many are already established. You can drive for Lyft, walk dogs for Rover, put shelves together for TaskRabbit customers, rent out your car or deliver groceries through Instacart.
You can also start a side business on your own. Maybe there’s a service or product you’ve always been looking for but can’t find available, and now you have the time to research it and do it yourself.
Or maybe your woodworking hobby can be turned into a money-maker by making custom bookshelves and other furniture for customers who want quality products.
When To Work Your Side Job
A key to a successful side job is keeping it separate from your day job. Avoid time theft by only working on your side job away from your main office.
That means finding time elsewhere in your day or off days to work at it. You can get up early in the morning, work late at night, and on weekends. Try to limit your hours, though, so you don’t get burned out by working every spare minute that you have.
One way to do this is by setting a specific time on certain days to work on your side job. If your plan is to work from 8-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, then don’t schedule anything else during that time. That gives you eight hours a week to get things done, which is a very good start to getting your side hustle off the ground. A calendar app on your phone such as Google Calendar can help keep you on track.
During the work hours that you’ve set, use apps to block websites you know will distract you. Social media isn’t your friend when you need time to start a business.
Your Time Is Worth Money
Remember that your time away from your full-time job is still valuable. If you can afford it, hire a virtual assistant to do mundane tasks so that you can concentrate on doing the big stuff that will bring in money.
These tasks can include:
- Responding to emails
- Managing your calendar
- Writing blog posts
- Keeping your website running
- Writing and scheduling social media posts
That should help free you up to do the side work you really want to do, and to focus on starting and eventually growing your business.
Who knows, you may be able to turn your part-time gig into a full-time one, but with greater pay and rewards than your current full-time job.