How to Balance a Side Hustle With Your Full-Time Job

I’ve always been a big proponent of side hustles. Whether you want to breathe some life into the nine-to-five grind or test drive being your own boss, a side hustle can give your days some extra meaning. I firmly believe that anyone can find a side hustle, but balancing it with your full-time job is easier said than done. (Especially if you are fulfilling orders or taking meetings.)

That’s exactly why I’m so excited to introduce you to Teri Canestraro and Sarah Singleton. As the co-founders of the Save Her Seat podcast and a digital community called Females Who Side Hustle, these women know a thing or two about side projects. “While they are often passion-driven to start, side hustles can stem from the need or want to ‘fill your cup’ outside of your nine-to-five,” the duo says. “It’s sometimes more of a juggle than a balance.” To help, Teri and Sarah are sharing their advice for juggling your side gig with your full-time job.

Talk to Your Boss

To share or not to share? That is the question. Before I became a full-time freelancer, I had to disclose my side hustles to my bosses. Not only was I worried that I could accidentally breach a non-compete clause in my contract, but it’s almost impossible to hide a side gig when your byline is splashed on the Internet for all the world to see. There are a lot of factors that contribute to whether you need to tell your boss about your side hustle. But, if you want to spare yourself from a potentially awkward situation, Teri and Sarah encourage you to keep your boss in the loop.

“We suggest updating them on some personal developments (a.k.a your side hustle) during a check-in meeting,” Teri says. “Make it clear that it is being conducted outside of your traditional work hours. Feel the vibe and determine the next steps on sharing your side hustle information.”

When in doubt, go ahead and briefly mention it to your boss. That way, you’ll have some peace of mind knowing you’re not tip-toeing around your full-time job. Plus, there’s always the chance your boss will champion your side hustle and give you some pointers.

Spread the Word

Early in my career, I barely talked about my freelance writing. Simply put, I didn’t think anyone would care — especially when I was working for some pretty impressive publications full-time. I quickly realized the more I mentioned my side hustle, the more opportunities I received.

“Don’t make your side hustle your dirty little secret,” Sarah says. “Nail down your personal elevator pitch to be confident (and proud) of what you do. This will also help keep that imposter syndrome at bay some days.”

Set Boundaries

Let’s get one thing straight: Until you decide to leave your nine-to-five job and become your own boss, your full-time gig takes precedence. (I mean, that’s why it’s called a side hustle.) It’s exciting to have a side hustle — and you might even realize you enjoy it more than your full-time job. However, it’s important to establish office hours (pun intended) for your passion project.

“Set hours for yourself so you know when you can work on it,” Teri says. “It also holds you accountable, since you are your own boss!”

Are you a night owl? Do you want to schedule early morning meetings? Or maybe carving out some time on the weekends is more your speed? It’s your call. After all, you are the one in charge.

Find Your People

Truth is, having a side hustle can feel a little lonely. You might be Slacking your office BFF 24/7 at your full-time job, but you’ll spend your free time diving head-first into your side hustle. Unless all your work friends have side gigs, they probably won’t understand why you’re doing double duty.

“Have a sounding board of people who you can run things by and will give it to you straight in return,” Sarah says. “We’ll tell you right now that you are not the only one who has a full-time gig and side hustle, so share your experiences! Realize that mentorship can be super successful when it is peer-based; it doesn’t have to be someone 20+ years in the game.”

It doesn’t matter if you’re on the hunt for an accountability buddy or a mentor: Having someone who understands your hustle will make juggling both jobs less lonely.

Cut Yourself Some Slack

Social media might trick you into believing everyone with a side hustle has mastered the balancing act, created a formal business plan, and already made the big bucks. But, in reality? We’re all figuring it out — especially if you’re just kicking off your side hustle.

“Remember your goals, but be organic with the path of your hustle,” Teri says. “You don’t have to have a 10-year plan, so you can start and see what happens. But, know that some weeks aren’t going to look the same.”

At the end of the day, you’re pursuing a side hustle to give your life some extra meaning, so you need to put yourself first. Take your side gig day-by-day, prioritize self-care, and enjoy the journey.

“Run your own race and be true to your process,” Sarah shares. “Don’t be discouraged when others succeed; collaboration over competition is better in the long run.”

A special thanks to Teri and Sarah for such an insightful conversation! You can give them some love by following their Females Who Side Hustle and Save Her Seat Instagram accounts, as well as subscribing to their podcast.

Hustler of the Week: Alexandra Sourbis

What inspired you and Jessica to launch Stemme Fatale?

We were already planning events for our nine-to-five job and began doing our own florals to help out our budget. It quickly became our favorite part of event planning and the response to our arrangements was so positive that we realized it was something we needed to pursue in a more concrete way. Jess came up with the name Stemme Fatale and we started marketing our budding brand!

Not only do you dream up gorgeous arrangements, but you also work full-time as a publicist — how do you balance it all?
It’s been tough at times but, for us, it’s completely worth it. Not only are we business partners, but we are also best friends and fully support each other. When one of us can only give 50 percent on a project, the other takes on 150 percent. We both have the the drive and respect for each other, and we definitely couldn’t do it without each other.

Give Alexandra some love by following Stemme Fatale on Instagram. (Go ahead and slide into their DMs. I promise you their arrangements are downright dreamy.)

Like what you see? Subscribe to “Office Hours with Kelsey Mulvey” here.

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