How I Manage a Lucrative Side Hustle with a 9-5
Side hustle: it’s the word(s) of the year. Or rather, of a generation: millennials are known for their hustle, with over a third opting for a second (or third) source of income. Many more millennials have passion projects: maybe not profitable, but instead offer individuals the opportunity to explore an interest and add skills. We could spend a whole article or six talking about why millennials love the side hustle (crushing student debt and the need to feel entrepreneurial are just two reasons), but before you jump into the grind deep-end, there are some things you need to prepare for.
Last year, I made tens of thousands of dollars side hustling. As a professional digital marketer, I use my skills at my corporate 9-5 and as a freelance strategist for clients in my spare time. I also write and promote this blog, which is a huge monster in and of itself.
There is a certain glamour to side hustles in this day and age, a certain badge of honor with being tired. You must do a million things and never be satisfied and push until you can’t push any harder. Work to get ahead, make more money, gain more skills. It’s an easy trap to fall into.
I went in for a massage yesterday (a birthday gift to myself [see how I’m already apologizing for taking a break?!]) The therapist told me within 2 minutes that I had the most tension she’d ever seen a client have. My body is still sore to the touch from her working me over.
It’s moments like these when I realize that having a full plate — corporate job plus side hustle plus other side hustle plus a semi-social life — can and will leave you burned out. But only if you let it. You’re allowed to work hard. You’re allowed to be busy. You’re allowed to make more money, work on more projects, indulge in a passion — but never without caring for yourself first.
I was recently asked at a global panel about how I manage to balance a side hustle with ANOTHER side hustle with a 9-5. And I realized that although side hustles can often be exhausting, they are incredibly rewarding. They make you better at your job, grow your skills and network, and earn you more income flexibility. They offer that entrepreneur-side of you to flourish.
Good time management, goal setting, and prioritizing are so important. But more than that, balancing a job with a hustle is about just that: balance. More than once (hundreds of times), I’ve crashed on my couch on a long day instead of working out, writing that blog post, or pitching a new client. And while this kind of care — shutting your brain off — is incredibly important, it must be balanced with productive work.
What I discovered is that you have more time than you think you do. Every second of free time must be utilized, even if that means it’s spent taking care of yourself. Those 20 minutes on the bus every morning? They’re your time to check emails or respond to Instagram comments. Those 20 seconds spent waiting for your faucet to warm up? Do squats. Your walk to work or an appointment? Call your mom.
Working both a full-time job and a side hustle is one of the most challenging things you will do. But I cannot recommend it enough. It will open doors, give you new experiences, and make you an extra stash of cash. If you’re a creative — designer, marketer, artist, photographer, writer, etc. — and interesting in leveraging your skills, now’s the time.