5 Ways to Start Building Your Side Gig

5 Ways to Start Building Your Side Gig

This article is part of our All About That Hustle Week. Trust us, there's more to read. 

BURNT OUT ON YOUR DAY JOB AND READY TO DEDICATE SOME SERIOUS TIME TO STARTING A SIDE HUSTLE? WE'VE GOT YOU.

You worked hard to land the job you have. You researched the company beforehand. You did the follow-up after the interview. You made great first impressions, and now you’ve put in your time and developed some solid skills. But while you’re proud of yourself for getting to this spot, you can’t stop wondering what it would be like to venture out on your own.

Here are five tips for starting a side hustle while working a day job, so that you can test run your pipe dream without jeopardizing all you’ve earned so far.

1. LEARN TO LOVE STRUCTURE

While most entrepreneurs dream of freedom, the only path to get there is through structure. (Think Parks and Recs Tom Haverford. Then do the exact opposite.) Calculate how much time you’ll need to start your business venture, then write out a realistic schedule of when you plan to work on it. It can be tough to mentally switch gears between a day job and a business, so adhering to a regular routine will help your brain know what to focus on when. {click to tweet}

2. USE A SCHEDULING TOOL FOR SOCIAL MEDIA 

Being on social media all day every day isn’t an option for you since you work a 9-to-5. But for most businesses this side of the 21st century, having a strong social media presence is critical for building your brand and attracting an audience. Invest in a social media scheduling tool for your business platforms (such as Hootsuite or Meet Edgar), which will allow you to load social media posts into a queue and schedule them to be published at your peak exposure times.

3. DISCLOSE YOUR BUSINESS TO YOUR EMPLOYER

Double-check your company’s employee manual before you get too far into the planning phase, especially if your business concept is closely related to the job you’re doing now. Some companies have non-competes in place preventing employees from engaging in any outside work that could contend with their market. Other companies prohibit salaried employees from participating in any other paid work, period.

Better to know now before you’re knee-deep in LLC fees. That way you can decide whether your dream is worth switching (or ditching) your current job over. Assuming there are no restrictive policies in place, it’s a good idea to let your direct supervisor and your HR director know about your pet project, and that it won’t affect the quality of your work. You may also want to let them know if you’re using a social media scheduler so that it doesn’t appear like you’re hitting up Instagram on company time. 

4. RETHINK DOING EVERYTHING YOURSELF

You actually have a leg up on the new business owner who quits her day job cold turkey. Because you don’t have the luxury of a lot of time, you’ll be better at prioritizing the most important things in your business. {click to tweet} And with the security of a steady paycheck, you can afford to hire out the things in your business that you probably shouldn’t be doing anyway—like building your website. (Unless you happen to be starting a web development company. In that case, get on with your bad self!)

5. PACE YOURSELF

You’ll hear other solopreneurs refer to their business as their baby. Once you take that leap and become a business owner, you’ll understand why. When you work for a company, you may feel a sense of belonging and connection. But it has its limits. With a company that you build from scratch, every piece of that business is a reflection of you.

You birth the idea. You bring it to life. You’re responsible for keeping it going. Be careful that in your fervor for your fledgling business, you don’t neglect time for yourself to just be. You don’t need to be productive every moment of every day. Making a business successful takes a long time. Carving out a few moments now and then just for fun—whether that’s meeting up for a cocktail with friends or watching your favorite reality TV show—will go a long way in giving you the energy you need to fuel your dream.

Starting a side business can be deeply fulfilling. Ironically, the skills you pick up from it can also add massive value to your marketability within the workplace. With a little juggling and a lot of hard work, you can totally rock a side hustle while working full-time.

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Have you thought about starting your own thing on the side? Tell us the idea for your business in the comments below.

This article is part of our All About That Hustle Week. Trust us, there's more to read.