While I am privileged to have a job right now, I still struggle with paying my student loans and the cost of living. This prompted me to see if I could turn my hobbies into profitable side hustles to help myself financially.
I have many interests that I would like to explore throughout my life, like developing apps, graphic design, and writing. But I didn’t have the time or energy to devote to these interests. My job regularly left me too exhausted to focus on any side hustles. It’s hard to find the time when you have obligations from family and work taking up most of your time. However, here are a few tips that I’ve started using that should help you create time to work on other passions.
1. Use your “waiting time” to complete small, quick tasks
We have quite a bit of downtime in life while we’re running some errands, like waiting in a store checkout line or at a doctor’s office. Use that time to your advantage by completing quick tasks like paying a few bills, answering a few emails, or even making a to-do list. You can even use this time to catch up with some friends and family members that you haven’t heard from in a while. This will free up your schedule a bit more when you are ready to work on your side hustle.
Recently, my car needed to get an oil change. I brought my laptop with me to do some work for my side hustle while I waited. During that time, I was able to jot down some story ideas and created outlines for them. This saved me a lot of time later when I actually had time to write.
2. Schedule time to work on your side hustle, no matter how little
If you can work on your side hustle for even just 15 minutes a day, that’s an hour and thirty minutes a week, seven and a half hours a month. You’ll be surprised how much you can achieve in these short bursts.
When I first started to make apps last year, I already had another side hustle as an online tutor. I didn’t have much time to dedicate to coding. However, when the client canceled one of my 30-minute tutoring sessions, I decided to spend that time on the app. It turned out that something I was struggling with in the code finally started working. I’ll never forget how happy I was that I decided to work on it then, instead of doing something else before my next tutoring appointment.
Forcing yourself to work on your passion project, even for a small amount of time, might lead to impressive results that you wouldn’t have achieved otherwise. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the little things add up. You can even use your lunch break at your job to work on your side hustle if you have no other time. Another popular method is to wake up a bit earlier in the day to work on it first thing in the morning or last thing at night if you’re a night owl.
3. Narrow the scope of your side hustle, especially when you’re just starting
Some people are a little too ambitious for their own good, myself included. I wanted to start a newsletter, a blog, a YouTube channel, and run several social media accounts. Only do this if you can handle that workload in the amount of time you have to work on your side hustle. I didn’t have the time to tackle all of these, so I narrowed my focus to just the blog and coding.
It’s better to do one thing very well and expand your side hustle slowly than to be known for trying to do everything poorly. Doing one thing very well, and gaining credibility for that thing is better than rushing your goals.
4. Pick a side hustle that is enjoyable and of interest to you
When I don’t like a task, I take a very long time to complete it (once I finally get myself to stop procrastinating). Don’t just choose a side hustle because it’s profitable. You’re going to be working hard with a job and a side hustle. If you don’t like either, your days will feel like they are never-ending, which will make you miserable and can harm your mental health.
I didn’t like online tutoring. Some of the students I helped were fantastic, however, many others acted like I was their servant that was supposed to do the work for them. When I was a tutor, I hated having to go home after a long day at work to help people that didn’t seem to appreciate all of my efforts. I eventually changed side hustles, and I’ve been much happier ever since. Most of the time I want to work on my side hustle more than my day job sometimes. I love getting to use skillsets, like coding, that my job doesn’t require, but I thoroughly enjoy doing.
Try picking a side hustle that lets you use skillsets that your day job doesn’t use. Do you work in a corporate office and want to do something more creative? Or maybe you have a creative job but would enjoy doing something more analytical? Whatever you choose, pick something you’re excited to work on, so when it’s time to work, you’re motivated and less likely to procrastinate on it.
5. Don’t let your plans remain as plans
Nothing is accomplished without action. It’s so easy to get caught up reading several articles with helpful tips, but all that reading is wasted if you never implement the advice. You don’t want to spend more time researching tips than you spend working on your side hustle. At some point, you need to get to work. There’s a fine line between reasons and excuses.
When I decided to get serious about making money from my hobbies, I did a lot of research online about side hustle tips. I did this so much at first that before I knew it, a month had past and I didn’t start anything. Once I realized what I was doing, I decided to make a plan that allowed for some research on these topics but ensured I didn’t spend more time researching than working on my side hustle.
Planning is a good first step to make sure that you schedule a time to get to work on your side hustle. Staying organized is key when you have multiple jobs. Some influencers and content creators have a content calendar to help them stay organized about when to release videos or blog posts. Doing this is a great way to make sure you stick to your schedule.
6. Know when to take a break
I think this is the most important tip. The popularity of side hustle culture is causing some people to take it to an unhealthy level. Don’t overwork yourself. If you are tired, take a break. Don’t keep working because “You’re on the grind.” Everyone needs to rest sometime. Being tired can lead to mental and physical harm. People work best when they are well-rested. Working when you are tired will most likely be unproductive, defeating the purpose of pushing yourself past exhaustion.
When I was exhausted after work, I didn’t push myself to work on my side hustle because I understand the importance of rest for my health. Growing up, I always rested on Saturdays because my religion believes in resting on the Sabbath day. Because I’ve been doing this all of my life, it is second nature to me. But the few times I had to push myself past exhaustion in college left me feeling unwell for several days. It made me less productive because I wasn’t feeling my best.
There’s one last thing you should remember. Achieving something slowly doesn’t make it less of an achievement. We live in a time of impatience. The speed of accomplishing a goal is almost more important than achieving the goals themselves to some people. Don’t compare your side hustle’s growth with others. We all have different responsibilities and capabilities. Do something that makes you happy and makes you money.