How to Make More Time for Your Side Hustle
Having a side hustle can be a way to fuel your creativity and work on projects that you don’t normally work on during your 9-5. But between juggling your 9-5, your social life, and overall life commitments it can be hard to squeeze in time to devote to your side hustle. A lack of time can definitely be a reason for your projects to go stagnant, so today I’m going to show you how you can make more time for your side hustle and make it a priority.
Before we go into how to make time for your side hustle, I want you to evaluate why you have your side hustle in the first place. For many of the creatives I coach, they started their side hustle as a way to test if they can turn their passion project into a career or viable business. If your reason for having a side hustle is to test whether you could turn it into a full-time job or even just to see if you like it beyond just a hobby, it’s important that the results of this time are accurate. I have seen many creatives who give up on their side hustle prematurely.
Their reasons are that it was too difficult, they weren’t finding clients, they weren’t making money off it, etc. But if you don’t spend the time necessary to accurately evaluate your side hustle then how will you really know if taking it to the next level is a realistic option.
I had a coworker at my last job who had a fashion blog on the side. I would often ask her if she would ever consider making her blog her full-time job. Her response would be “if I started making money off it then I would.” That’s a reasonable answer but it’s also kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. How can you start making money off something if you only commit to it sporadically?
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (yet!)
When I got the idea for Little Trailer Studio things at my current job were extremely busy and I never knew if I’d be home by 5pm, 7pm or even 8pm. Although I was able to spend time planning the details of my creative studio (the name, my services, what my website would look like, i.e. the fun stuff), I didn’t make time to do actual client work for Little Trailer Studio.
I did one client project and saw how drained I was in trying to manage both so I didn’t take on any other client projects. As a result of this, when I officially launched my studio I didn’t have much to put in my portfolio and I didn’t have a lot of experience working with clients.
Having your own business or creative endeavor will always be filled with mistakes and lessons to be learned, but I encourage you to figure out as much as you can while you still have the comfort and reliability of a steady paycheck.
If there’s one thing I could change in how I started my business, I would have made the time to take on freelance clients while I still had my day job. You don’t have to quit your day job in order to commit to your side hustle, but you do have to shift your schedule around and give it the priority it deserves.
Evaluate Your Schedule
Time is something that we all could use more of. I often hear fellow creatives say “I wish I had more time” or “I’d love to work on this project, but I just don’t have time.” Don’t let that be an excuse. Take action. I want you to take the time right now and block out all your commitments on the weekly calendar we've created for you, you can download them at the end of this post! That includes your day job, your yoga class, and all of the things you are involved in.
Next step is to block out the times that you are usually not available. That can include your Saturday morning hike or Tuesday night book club. Now you can look at your schedule and see which time slots are left open. From these time slots where can you fit in time for your side hustle? I want you to block out specific times that you can work on your side hustle. Don’t tell yourself “oh I can work on it after work.” That is much too vague—are you going to work on it after work but before dinner, or after work after you’ve chatted with your roommate for an hour, or way after work around 10pm?
Get specific and block out that time. Even the act of writing down a schedule specifically for your side hustle can help put in the right mindset to make it a priority.
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Tell me if this sounds familiar: “I’m going to wake up at 5am tomorrow and work out.” That used to be me until I finally came to terms with the fact that morning workouts are not for me. Weekend workouts are also not for me. Once I acknowledged this and set aside times specifically for working out, my workout routine has been much more consistent.
I do yoga on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which I rarely miss. If Friday comes along and I feel like doing yoga then I go but it’s more of a bonus. By dedicating a specific day and time to do yoga, I don’t have to think about it. I don’t wake up on Saturdays and think “should I work out today?” When you pick time slots ahead of time you’re able to set it and forget it. That’s the mentality that I want you to get in with your side hustle.
If you happen to work on your side hustle outside of your designated hours then great! If your side hustle is something you are truly passionate and committed to it’s likely that this will happen. But it’s important to have a set schedule you can rely on.
Treat Your Side Hustle Like a Job
The days and times that you choose for your side hustle should be non-negotiable. Treat your side hustle like a job. Show up for it and don’t miss unless you’re sick, something really important came up, or you genuinely need a break. Commit to your side hustle.
If Wednesdays 6-8pm are your time to work on your side hustle then don’t schedule activities during that time slot. It’s easy to fall into the trap of “oh well I can work on my side hustle Saturday instead of today” but then life happens and something comes up on Saturday.
You wouldn’t do that for an actual job so don’t do that to your side hustle. If you’re hoping that your side hustle turns into a full-time money-making gig then you need to treat it like a real job right now.
Get in the Side Hustler Mindset
Ok so after having selected time slots to work on your side hustle and being realistic about it, some of you might be thinking that 3 hours a week is not enough time. This is especially true if you know for sure that you want to quit your day job soon and make a business out of your side hustle. What can be done about this? You might need to balance the scales between your social life, work life, family life, and side hustle.
Making time for your side hustle means having to choose your side hustle over other activities.
Instead of going to happy hour every Thursday, are there some Thursdays that you can work on your side hustle instead, attend a networking event, take up a course that’s going to help your side hustle? Instead of going out to lunch with your favorite coworker every day, are there some days that you can use that time to read blogs related to your side hustle or write down new ideas in your journal?
The more priority you give to your side hustlethe higher the chances are that it will succeed.
It may feel like you are having to give up some of your social life but see this as something that is temporary that can lead to a new chapter in your life. Trust me there have been a few Saturdays that I wish I could be doing other things, but you’re going to be grateful that you set up a foundation for when you do quit your day job.
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Side hustlers, what are some things you do to help make more time for your side hustle? Comment below, I wanna hear about it!