A side hustle–an extra gig you explore during your downtime from your main job– is a great way to flex your skills, earn extra cash, pursue your passions, and more. And since “launch my side hustle” is on more than a few 2019 goal lists, Joy will be bringing you articles on side hustles each week for the first few months of the year. Get ready to get inspired!
I started my freelance writing side hustle 12 years ago while working as a full-time editor at a health website in New York. I scoured Craigslist for writing jobs, wrote press releases, did copywriting for product websites, conducted Q&A’s for my alumni magazine, and let everyone I know that I could help with their writing needs. It felt good to have extra money for vacations, attending friends and family’s weddings, and meals out in an expensive city. Then, about six years ago, I made the leap to freelance writing full-time. And while I’m no longer squeezing freelancing into my mornings, nights, and weekends, I know that finding time for a side means you need to be a pro at managing your schedule.
Although I probably spent about four to eight hours each week on my side hustle, around 10 hours might be the sweet spot, says Chris Guillebeau, author and creator of The Side Hustle School, in a blog on his website. He suggests that number of hours weekly will likely yield the best results.
But how, exactly, are you supposed to squeeze 10 extra work hours into your already super-busy life? With the right mix of commitment and scheduling, and some personal, social and occasionally physical sacrifices (like sleep and exercise), it can be done. The six people I interviewed here each made time for their side hustle while working days, keeping relationships intact, avoiding burnout and making time for fun.
“I get up before my kids do for a few extra hours of work time.”
-Carrie R., a jewelry store manager who runs an eBay store as a side hustle
“I began selling on eBay casually about ten years ago because I wanted to get rid of things I had lying around the house. I learned a lot through trial and error, which helped me launch by consignment eBay store Carrie’s Collectibles. I sold nearly $10,000 worth of merchandise last year and earned about $3,000.
I found that the mornings were the best time to focus on my side hustle without interruptions. My husband has a bunch of side projects as well, so we both go to bed by 9:30 or 10 p.m., set our alarms for 5 a.m., and often work side by side for about two hours in the morning before our two young children wake up.
I also hired a housecleaner to clean twice a month when we’re all out of the home, which gave me back a bunch of hours each month. I also recently started ordering groceries online to be delivered which saves me time and energy.
Even with my side business, full-time job, and demanding family life, I still make time for fun by planning ahead, and I relax by reading or watching Netflix at night—when I can stay awake!”
“I took days off from my job to pursue my side gig.”
-Mary Michael used her side hustle to change industries and get a new job
“When I was working at Time Inc., the training company Own the Room visited to conduct a public speaking training course. When I took it, I fell in love with what they were teaching, and wanted to be a part of it.
I would take days off from my production manager job to do paid gigs with Own The Room running their day-long public speaking training sessions at clients’ offices. I spent nights and weekends studying the material, which covered about eight hours. Those prep hours weren’t paid, but I earned $1,400 for each day-long gig I worked, which made it worth it.
In order to get all of this done, I started to outsource laundry and house cleaning. But I still managed to fit in exercise and other things I considered essentials, like spending time with then-boyfriend (now husband), visiting family, and seeing my girlfriends at book club. Holding down both jobs made me super deliberate about my schedule since there was no time to slack off. It ended up making me more productive in nearly every aspect of my life, including my day job.
Within a year of side hustling, Own the Room offered me a full-time job as a public speaking coach and learning and development specialist on their team. It was risky working for a startup, and it certainly had its downfalls, but it eventually led me to an amazing opportunity. Today, I work at Facebook, which was one of Own The Room’s biggest clients. I’d done a lot of work with them, so they asked me to join their team as a sales learning partner.
This career pivot was scary, but my side hustle of public speaking coaching took me from a publishing job that was quickly becoming obsolete into a new career path that I am truly passionate about.
“I make the most of nights and weekends to balance my side hustle with a day job I love.”
-Breanne Crotty, a full-time graphic designer at Boll & Branch and freelance designer at One Two Bre
“From 2013 to 2017, I was at an ad agency and hated my job. I was working on automotive and pharmaceutical ads, which really limited my creativity, and I was bored. So when a bunch of my friends started getting engaged, I offered to design their wedding invitations as a way to scratch my creative itch. My wedding invitation design business took off from there. I joined The Knot in 2017 to see what would happen and received inquiries every month. I won ‘Best of the Knot’ that year and again last year.
Initially, I thought to myself, if I can get enough business, I’ll quit my stale job and work for myself. But then in 2017, I landed my dream job as a designer at Boll & Branch. The culture is everything I wanted in a company, the salary was right, and they offered benefits—something I’d have to pursue on my own if I decided to quit my job. So I took the position and figured I’d see if I could juggle both.
So far, it’s working and I love it. Plus, my side business has helped me pay off my student loans. I work on my invitations business on weekends and weekday nights, occasionally meeting up with potential clients and brides after work. I love spending the little free time I have left hosting friends, my family, and my boyfriend, which helps me stay sane since I love having people over. When I need to unwind and reduce stress, I turn to my other creative hobbies–baking and crocheting.”
“I connect with clients on FaceTime during my lunch breaks.”
-Courtney Anaya, full-time employee at a food import and export company, runs a freelance nutrition practice and does freelance writing
“I’ve been interested in nutrition since growing up and watching family members suffer from type 2 diabetes. With a B.S. and M.S. degree in nutrition sciences, I’ve been setting myself up for my side hustle since college! I started a nutrition counseling practice called The Food Court Fix last summer as a side hustle after getting my certified clinical nutrition license.
In order make this work, I set client hours for the week and make time in my schedule for freelance article deadlines. I meet individually with four regular clients for 30 to 60 minutes sessions in person or via FaceTime before work, during lunch, after work, and on weekends.
As if that weren’t enough, I’m also training for a half marathon this spring, and plan on running my fifth marathon in the fall! Getting my runs in early in the morning helps me balance the stress of juggling all three jobs. Ideally, my nutrition practice would be my full-time job in about five years but my goal is to be financially secure before making the move. I don’t often feel burnt out, but when I do, I’ll readjust my schedule and create more ‘me time’ at home to recharge my batteries. To make my weeks easier, I meal prep on Sundays for the week.”
“I find time for a side hustle at night and delegate work to other freelancers.”
-Bill Bodkin, project manager at a telecommunications company, side hustle is running a digital pop culture magazine, ThePopBreak.com.
“For the past 10 years, my side hustle has been running a daily digital pop culture magazine website that covers film, television, music, comic books, and pro wrestling. I also work full-time as a project manager for a telecommunications company, am married, and have a four-year-old daughter.
Putting talented editors in place to handle daily publishing and training writers on how to post articles have helped to lighten my workload. I often work on story ideas on my hour-long commute and pitch in to edit and post on the site at night after my daughter is in bed. I farm out social media to various editors and writers.
As a dad and husband, the site does not interfere with my family. They’re my priorities. My wife has always been extremely understanding about the time I’ve needed to put into the website over the years.
When I’ve been laid off from full-time jobs or haven’t enjoyed my full-time position, Pop Break has been a consistent side hustle that I enjoy working on and makes me feel good. The website has also been the shining star on my resume and has gotten me in the door for interviews and eventual jobs more than anything else I’ve done.”
“I make the most of small pockets of time.”
-Brielle Cosentino Ricciardi, full-time elementary school teacher, trains softball pitchers and runs camps and clinics for athletes
“I’m a full-time teacher during the day and schedule my side hustle of running private softball pitching lessons while my six-year-old daughter is at dance classes after school. I also train athletes on Saturday mornings when my husband is with our daughter.
I fell into this business because I received multiple requests to give pitching lessons and coach teams as a former Division 1 collegiate softball pitcher.
It’s hectic, but it’s so rewarding for me and I truly enjoy working with my clients. I can pick and choose the days and times that work for my family and me and that flexibility makes it manageable. I try to get as much of my classroom prep and grading done at school by arriving early, staying late as needed, or working during lunch.
It definitely helps that my husband is an amazing partner, who shares household chores like dishes, laundry and bedtime routines. He even learned how to do a ballet bun in our daughter’s hair so she would be ready for class when he takes her!”