What is a Side Hustle?
Should I Tell My Employer?
Every employer will have different rules about and attitudes toward side hustles. Take a look at your employee handbook to understand what is and isn’t permitted. Here are some things you might find:
Conflict of interest clause. This restricts an employee from doing anything that will harm the employer’s business and requires you to tell the employer if this changes at any point during your employment.
Non-compete or restraint of trade clause: This protects an employer’s interests by preventing employees from performing similar work that might compete with the current employer.
The point of these clauses is to protect the employer’s proprietary information, including things like client and vendor relationships, as well as any confidential information you may be privy to during your employment. Engaging in a side hustle that’s in direct competition with your employer or where you poach clients from your employer or use proprietary information to get ahead could put you on the firing line—or even subject you to lawsuits. Not to mention it’s just a nasty thing to do.
All that apart, most companies won’t have a problem with you starting a side hustle, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your work. Our advice: tell your employer what you’re up to. Even if your contract allows you to have a side hustle and makes no mention of the above clauses, it’s better to be proactive and disclose your side hustle in good faith. This creates transparency and trust, and it’s much better than waiting for your employer to find out from other sources and be reactive about the situation. Suppose the side hustle is in the same line of. Business is tough to keep it secret anyway.
Discuss it with your employer and explain that you won’t use any company resources (including your work computer) or company time to work on your side hustle. It has to be a completely separate thing, and making that clear from the outset will show your employer that you understand its importance.
And that brings us to one last thing: it’s not enough to tell your employer—you also need to show them that you can still perform.
Your full-time job is going to be the main source of funding for your side hustle (and the rest of your life), at least for now. You may start seeing traction in your side hustle, but you can’t use that as an excuse to disregard your responsibilities in your primary job. You’ll still need your primary source of income to pay the bills until you can focus on your side hustle full time—if that’s your end goal. Until then, don’t give your employer a reason to fault you for poor performance.
Establish a routine and set goals
Having a routine will help keep you on track. If you start working on your side hustle every evening after dinner, you’ll train your mind that it’s time for work after dinner—not time to scroll yourself down another rabbit hole. When your side hustle is part of your routine, it will feel less like a drain on your resources. Bring your family onboard at the earliest opportunity so that if you have a home life, the new project can blend harmoniously.
Of course, you’ll need to be sure your routine is based on solid goals. Sketching designs or designing a website after dinner could go on forever—what’s the goal? When time is a limited resource, you need to be specific and realistic about your goals (try using Zapier SMART goals to get started). Remember: you are now your own employer, and no one else is holding you accountable – a big personal responsibility.
Set Realistic Boundaries
A side hustle doesn’t mean working during all your free time. But if you’re not careful, it’s easy to fall into that trap.
Set boundaries to ensure that you don’t end up taking time from other priorities in your life, like family time and engaging in relationships that enrich you. There are plenty of ways to set boundaries for yourself:
Try time blocking. Decide ahead of time when you’ll work on your side hustle, and stop working on it when that time is up. Apps like Time Hero are worth checking out.
Use focus apps such as Freedom. If you’re totally focused while working on your side hustle, you’ll make more of your time and be less likely to need to work outside of your planned hours. Focus apps can block distractions on all your devices, allowing you to use your motivation and energy on meaningful work. Even still, you will power with soi many enjoyable distracti0ns online; you can easily lose the plot and find yourself fiddling around on social media sites or time-consuming Facebook groups.
Get Yourself Automated.
It can be tempting to do everything yourself: we sometimes make the mistake of valuing money over time. But time is also a limited commodity. And a side hustle in particular means limited time. Your focus should be on the activities that fulfil you and generate revenue.
Take stock of all your processes to figure out what you might be able to automate. If you’re not sure when to automate, look at these 5 things you should automate today. Once you’ve automated your tedious tasks, you’ll have a better understanding of your actual capacity. You’ll be able to set expectations for clients—and yourself more clearly.
Don’t Be Shy – Get Feedback.
A side hustle is a great opportunity for you to do something you love. But, as with any skill, it will take time before you’ve mastered your craft.
From the start, make sure to get feedback from your customers and clients to find out where you can improve. Whether it’s the quality of your offering, your processes’ efficiency, or the ease with which your customers can find you and do business with you, everything should be reviewed for potential improvements.
Learn as much as you can from others who do what you want to do—and ask questions. Remember: you’re testing an idea and working your way to product-market fit on your terms. Your biggest advantage with a side hustle is that you have time to test your business model and validate your ideas over time without the stress of wondering how you’re going to pay the bills. Use that time to make sure your business is the best it can be.
Side hustles don’t turn into income-generating businesses overnight. It is naive to imagine they would.
With this in mind, you need to play the long game. Ask yourself if your current habits and routine can be sustained for several years—or more. As with any business, your actions have to be guided by a long-term strategy that should motivate you to keep going even when faced with adversity.
If you do decide to pursue your side hustle full time, your confidence after having experimented and learned everything on your own terms will be more than someone diving into full-time entrepreneurship with no prior experience. Even if you don’t decide to go full time into your side hustle, the skills you develop from running one can help you excel at your full-time job and life in general. Your side hustle doesn’t have to overrun your life. What’s important is that you lay the right foundations to draw the most value from your experience. Many executives can use their side hustle as a ‘sandbox’ for their regular employment and maybe get some new ideas from thinking outside the box. These ideas can be fed back to your current employer and give you a leg up without even going it alone.
Develop A Good Support Structure.
Remember that you will not have all the corporate structure to support your venture when you are building a side hustle. For that reason, it makes a lot of sense to set up some virtual office framework to keep your new business separate from your home life. Business service companies such as Hold Everything on Regent Street can offer a secure business address with mail forwarding and even a registered office location when you incorporate your new venture. Many other people have built;t their side hustle into a full-time income-producing, and if you follow our guidance, you can join them in 2021.