Tips for a Healthy Side Hustle

A friend of my brother's made the ideological move to Israel and would spend hours sifting through job ads trying to land an entry-level programming gig in this somewhat challenging job market. When his savings had dried up, he took on a not-so-glamorous side hustle: cleaning houses. Fast-forward a couple years, that same kid gave up the job hunt long ago, and is now managing a multi-city cleaning company, focusing on using technology to connect top-rated cleaners to discerning English-speaking clientele.

Another friend, a mom of two young kids, was working at a marketing company in town, and in her (rare) spare time, loved to learn about natural health and wellness. She began sharing her knowledge in workshops for moms in the neighborhood, posting generously in local mom Facebook groups, and eventually took on her own coaching clients. Within a year, she quit her job and now uses her marketing experience to grow her health coaching business.

A side hustle can be an exciting and profitable way to finally put that idea to test, or to nurture a passion that’s been shelved for way too long.

A side hustle can also be a recipe for burnout.

Once you have an idea and area ready to move forward, it’s important to maintain perspective on what will allow you to succeed in the long-term.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Though it may be tempting to burn yourself out working your day job and pursuing your side-hustle at all hours of the night, its preferable to carve out a chunk of time on a consistent basis—even 20 or 30 minutes a day can be enough to plan, execute, and advance your side hustle. Put that 20 minutes on your calendar, preferably for at time of day when you have energy (i.e., not 11PM), and cut out all distractions. Once you have been able to utilize the time well on a consistent basis for a few weeks or even months, try adding more time to your daily focus—maybe the 30 minutes you would have watched TV in the evening, or set your alarm clock for 30 minutes earlier. Establishing a healthy, consistent routine will help you to take your side hustle seriously, and to give it the attention it needs to grow sustainably.

Tap into Your Untapped Leadership Potential

Though you may have multiple leadership responsibilities in your professional life, the side hustle creates a unique opportunity to grow your self-leadership. By being the one to plan, initiate, and follow-through with all aspects of your side hustle, you gain new perspectives on all aspects of work—including areas you may excel at, or find challenging, that you had never previously explored. To achieve success with your side hustle, you must be authentic. Yes, the term “authentic” is thrown around a lot in leadership circles, but in many cases, a leader can hide behind the culture of their organization, losing a bit of themselves in the process. Your side hustle is your opportunity to build something that is truly you. Ironically, developing your side hustle can help you gain new skills for your day job, too.

Keep the Big Picture in Mind

What’s the purpose of a side hustle, or a job for that matter? Ultimately, it’s to help you enjoy a better quality of life. Perhaps you want to start a side hustle purely to earn some extra cash, or perhaps you want to nurture a buried passion and make some cash (even better!). Whatever the reason is—remember to keep perspective. Your side hustle should be something that makes you motivated and excited. If it starts to become a major source of anxiety and stress, you may want to reconsider your strategy—take it back to the basics! Those 20 minutes a day are doable for almost anyone—do yours, and make it count.