A side hustle is very much like an outside woman, in some respects. Let’s consider the comparison for a moment.
When you have a side hustle your real job might suffer from neglect because of it, just like an outside woman can wreak havoc on your main squeeze. Working your side hustle might start to make you feel like you are running your blood to water because you are always going, just like some men who start off playing the super hero, and then come to realize that being a saga boy is real work. Maintaining a side hustle might cost you more than you bargained for if you are not careful, because you could risk losing your full-time job, if you are found out.
Like the ultimate outside woman, your side hustle can jeopardize the things that are mainstays in your life. Yet there is one, big difference. While it is never a good idea to run around on your woman, it can be a great business move to start your side hustle on a part-time basis, while you still have the security of your full-time job.
“Like the ultimate outside woman, your side hustle can jeopardize the things that are mainstays in your life”
Almost everyone I know has a side hustle. Whether you want to chalk that up to my age group (I just entered the 30-35 box) or you want to ascribe the prevalence of taking on, or more commonly starting up, a side gig to the type of people I know is up to you. I’ll leave the theorizing to those who enjoy coming up with explanations for everyday phenomenon.
What I am mainly concerned with is the act of managing this side hustle. When you are called in to a meeting with your manager because someone has noticed you are printing flyers on company stationery for instance, that’s a sure sign of trouble. There are ways to juggle your full-time job and your part-time source of income so that they both flourish.
Since my newfound mission in life is to help other budding, young entrepreneurs, I’ve come up with some suggestions that can help the people, who aren’t quite ready to let go of their steady pay cheque, to hold on to their job, while dedicating time to business on the side.
Don’t Cheat Your Full-time Employer
This is easy to say, but not so easy to put into practice. When you use the company phone to make your part-time business calls, you are cheating your employer. When you use company stationary or supplies to fuel your side hustle, you are certainly cheating your employer. When you pretend to be working on a company project when you are really doing something for a personal client, you guessed it; you are cheating your employer. It might feel harmless, especially if you have the time and the means to do it, but it doesn’t make it right.
Be Ready to Work Weekends and Evenings
If you are not going to be rushing down legitimate assignments, so that you can have time to work on your own business, then you must find the time outside of your regular, working hours. This leaves your precious weekends and evenings as the prime time to dedicate your full attention to what’s in front of you. You will also see how much better it is not to have to look over your shoulder to see if someone is coming or to have to be a wizard at minimizing your screens when you hear footsteps coming towards your desk.
Make Sure there is No Conflict of Interest
This can be a tricky one depending on the type of business you are into, but generally speaking it pays to make sure that you and your employer are not soliciting the same clients for similar services. If you work for a bank for instance, you shouldn’t make money off of referring clients to another investment company. Some companies also have a strict policy regarding offering products or services to clients even though they are unrelated, so make sure you are not violating any rules before you proceed.
Understand Your Limits and Respect Them
You might want to take on a huge job because it represents an opportunity to make some money and gain the experience, but you also need to take your capacity into consideration. It doesn’t make much sense to accept a job if you are not sure that you can surpass the client’s expectations. It is much better to take on projects that you have the time and the wherewithal to manage.
The moral of the story is this; a side hustle can be a great thing, but don’t get caught hanging your hat where your hand can’t reach because there will be consequences.
Natalia Jones publishes dcaribbeanentrepreneur.com, which features business tips and news for upcoming entrepreneurs across the Caribbean.
Image credit: Goodnight London.