You’ve got a thousand ideas for starting your own business, but you can’t just run out and quit your job tomorrow to work on them. What do you do? You start a side hustle!
A side hustle is the best way to get your feet wet with an idea, prove it out, and generate some income from it without having to quit your full time job.
You’re able to keep making that full time paycheck, while experimenting part time with something that you’re probably more passionate about, gives you more control, and could become a full time option in the future!
But there’s a challenge if you want to start your own side hustle. When you add more to your plate, you have to make sure you manage everything on that plate.
Time is a finite resource, and you don’t get any more of it when you take on a side hustle. While incredibly rewarding, it can easily be a time suck and lead to burnout if you’re not careful.
Here are some tips to help you prevent burnout and manage your side hustle.
1. Be focused
If you’re thinking about starting a side hustle, chances are that you have a thousand ideas, and they’re all great. But the problem is, you can’t do ALL of them.
If you’ve got 10 ideas for a side hustle, you’ll never do well in any of them if you try to pursue all of them at once. Spend some time thinking about which ideas have the most potential and then save the others to pursue later.
I have about 6 different ideas for businesses that I could run right now, and I’d love to try them all, but I’ve chosen to focus strategically on just two.
One of them helps me make money right now and is a good way to generate short term income. The other is an idea that isn’t a cash cow right now, but I do have a solid plan to grow it into a strong business that could be a full time gig one day and make tons of money on autopilot.
Once you make a decision about what type of side hustle to pursue, never look back! Go full steam ahead on the ideas you’ve chosen. And if they don’t work out, you’ve always got other ideas to come back to.
2. Set boundaries
It’s important to set boundaries, because without them, you’ll never know when to start and when to stop.
Boundaries could mean a certain number of hours a week, or it could be even more structured to say “I’ll work on my side hustle during these times of the day, on these specific days.”
This is helpful because you can get your body into a habit of working on your side hustle. You might know every Tuesday night is when you write your blog posts, and soon your creative juices will start flowing automatically on Tuesday nights.
You’ll be surprised at all the ideas that come and how quickly you can write blog posts when you get your brain in the habit of it.
Boundaries also help to make sure you know when to stop.
Most of the side hustle stories you’ve heard are of people working their butts off for another 8 hours a day after they get home from work. While this is certainly possible, it’s not for everyone, and in most situations it’s really not ideal.
Keep in mind – if you get burned out and stop working on your idea altogether, those few weeks of long hours won’t do any good. Slow and steady progress is really the name of the game here.
3. Prioritize your tasks ruthlessly
Just like you have to be focused on the idea for your side hustle, you also have to be focused on what you do within your side hustle. You probably read articles every day about things you can do to grow your business, but again – you can’t do everything.
The thing I like about side hustles is that you can’t dedicate 40 hours a week to them (usually), so it forces you to be creative and to prioritize.
I put between 10 – 20 hours of work each week into my side hustle, and I have to get really good at finding what to say “yes” and “no” to.
The important thing here is to not just act on your gut, but to actually measure what activities are bringing value and which ones aren’t.
You can do it in whatever way you please, but I prefer using a Kanban/Scrum type system to organize my tasks for the week and I give everything points on expected value.
You don’t need anything fancy, just analyze what you do each week and think about what made the biggest difference for your side hustle. Then do MORE of those things, and less of anything else.
4. Find things you can delegate to free up more time
As you find certain tasks are more valuable than others, you might also find that there are certain things you don’t have to do. Do you have to be the one to set up your blog posts and schedule your social media posts? Or do you have to be the one to set up cold calls for leads?
The truth is – maybe you do have to do those things. Not every side hustle is at a level where you can afford a virtual assistant to delegate tasks to. But even if you can’t, then you can still start setting up processes that other people can take over as soon as you get the opportunity to work with someone.
You can also find ways to barter services with friends. For example, if you know you’re better at writing blog posts than setting up lead nurturing workflows, why don’t you swap services with a friend who needs blog posts (and is hopefully good at workflows)?
5. Keep a balance of things that are good for short term and long term.
When you’ve got a side hustle, it’s really important to have a balance of things that make you money right now, and things that build your company.
Depending on how much money you make from your job, and how much money you need to live, your balance might look a little different than other people’s balance.
You don’t want to entirely make decisions for your side hustle that result in short term money, but if you only make decisions to build something that brings value later, it might take awhile to get there, and you’re likely to become discouraged, lose motivation, or not even be able to execute on your ideas if your side hustle can’t fund itself.
So what’s next?
Now apply these to your side hustle, and see if you find yourself getting more things done in less time, and moving the needle further!
What tips do you use to manage your side hustle? I’d love to hear them! Comment below, and let’s help people have more productive side hustles.