Does Your Full-Time Job Prevent You From Doing a Side Hustle?
lifelaidout about how he started his blog and pursuing a “side hustle” in general. Many of you probably work or go to school full-time, but have always wanted to turn a hobby or interest into an actual job. There are tons of side hustles you can take on, from soap making to teaching music, what’s your side hustle? Read our interview with Roger to learn the realities of doing a side hustle while holding down a full-time gig.
What is your time commitment to your side hustle vs. your full-time job?
I probably put in ~55-60 hours a week for my full-time job and about 5 hours a week working on my blog, lifelaidout. Obviously, this breakdown changes week by week, but I think that’s a good general representation.
Are there certain type of projects that are better suited for side hustles?
I think the most important part of a side hustle is you have to enjoy doing it! For me, I use blogging for entertainment purposes. It’s fun for me to think about the topics I write about and intellectually stimulating to try to break down those complex topics into simple themes for readers. I also have a fair amount of friends that now blog, so it’s great to bounce around ideas and learn from each other as to what’s going well and what’s not. Aside from enjoying your side hustle, I think the closer your side gig is related to your full-time job, the better. Side hustles work best when there is at least some overlap with your full-time job (i.e. skills used, content). That way, you don’t have to feel like you’re working on one thing at the expense of the other. If your full-time job and side hustle are inter-connected, then while you’re pushing forward on your side hustle, it could also be helping your career. When both are inter-related, you don’t have to compartmentalize as much. Some not so great side hustles:
Why are people afraid of pursuing a side hustle?
I think people are afraid of pursuing a side hustle because of fear of failure or fear of rejection, which is entirely natural. For the longest time, I was hesitant to pull the trigger on starting my blog because I frankly thought that no one would really care what I had to say. I kept looking at other, very successful blogs and thinking I could never get such a large following. But one day, I finally decided to take the first step. I realized it didn’t matter how many people read my blog for the first couple of months or even the first couple of years. If writing got me excited and the information I was sharing was valuable, eventually, I would get some followers and help others. My wife was such a positive influence early on and she continues to be lifelaidout‘s biggest fan. If all else fails and no one comes to the site, I know that she’ll continue to read the articles and tell me how good they are!
Many in the startup world say you need to focus 100% on an idea to make it successful. Is it possible to spend say 25% time on a side hustle and still be “successful”?
I think it really depends on how you define success for yourself and what will work for your specific situation. I truly believe that deep down, we’re all entrepreneurs and we all have that instinct to want to start something from scratch and make a difference. Some of us have the itch to a larger degree than others and they’ll want to devote 100% of their time to an idea. Others are fine with pursuing entrepreneurship from a much smaller scale. For me, blogging provides an outlet to organize and share my thoughts, keep me intellectually stimulated, and allows me to meet new and interesting people. It also allows me to help and guide others, break down complex topics into bite sized pieces, and be an entrepreneur. The 5 hours a week I spend on blogging is enough right now to satisfy my entrepreneurial itch. Others may need more, but in the end, it really depends on who you are, what goals you have, and what works in the framework of your life.
What is the top piece of advice you would give to people with full-time jobs that want to pursue a side hustle?
My main piece of advice is make sure you’re truly honest with yourself on what you want to get out of a side hustle. For me, my side hustle is not motivated by money, but rather a desire to share my experiences and help others. If I’m able to connect with 1-2 people about my blog every couple of weeks, that is a good enough return for me. A couple of months ago, I started losing track of why I started lifelaidout in the first place. I began to compare my Alexa ranking with other sites and looked into how to increase my ranking. After a little reflection, I reminded myself why I started blogging: to brainstorm and write about life experiences and interact with my readers. I haven’t looked back since and I think that’s the key – never lose sight of what your motivations are and don’t let outside influences or perceived competitors stray you from your journey. You can find more of Roger’s thoughts on life, blogging, and personal finance at lifelaidout. As part of his side hustle, he also offers personal finance and career consulting as well as business services, which you can learn more about here.
Understanding what you want to get out of your side hustle is important. Is it just a hobby or do you want to make some real income? That will dictate a lot.
Absolutely! I think turning your hobby into something that brings in real income takes a lot of dedication and hard work. As Roger said, setting expectations for yourself early on will help you figure out how far you want to take your side hustle.
Thanks for posting this, KeyCuts. I like how Roger explained how he was able stick to his roots rather than chase the money. It’s a good lesson for anyone to remember when doing something they believe in.
Unless, of course, the primary driver *is* to make money. Then that’s another story.
This might even be a good argument for why you should pursue a side hustle when you have a full-time job. Having a steady income allows you to do what you are truly interested in without having to worry about your financial circumstances.