5 Helpful Tips to Juggle Your "Side Hustle" without Losing Your Mind

I recently went through a period in my life (hell, who am I kidding, I'm still going through it) where I felt stuck in this straddle over the fine line between my full-time profession and my side hustle. First of all, I hate that term "side hustle" but simply cannot think of what else to call it. Side gig? Side job? Side hobby? Call it what you want but it's still your side piece, your business mistress, and if you are running a true side hustle like me, that means burning the midnight oil to turn your baby into a blossoming business during all hours that aren't being spent at a full time job. If anyone thinks they are doing this effortlessly and without stress or panic, I would like to meet them and shake their hand and then probably have them committed because NO WAY.


Your side hustle is both thrilling and terrifying at the same time. I am now two years into growing my art business and currently, I'm doing so while also teaching full time, getting my Master's degree, buying a house, and planning a wedding. What the H-E-double hockey sticks was I thinking?? It sounds insane but I'm also crazy enough to love it. I'm no expert but I've found my own ways to nurture my side hustle and slowly grow it while also not losing my mind so I'm going to share those with you in the hopes that it helps you even a teeny tiny bit.


1. Set short-term and long-term goals


A goal is a goal no matter how long you think it may take to achieve it. That being said, be realistic about your goals so you can achieve them without stressing yourself out and setting yourself up for a loss. Set goals that can be achieved in a day or one week and celebrate each time you check something off of that list. Nothing is more motivating that achieving a goal, even a small one. Answered all of your emails by the end of the day? Celebrate it! On the other hand, setting long-term goals creates an even greater sense of achievement and also allows you to take a step back and admire the birds-eye view of your business. Where do you want to see your business in a year? Three years? 10 years? Set those goals and write them down! If they are just floating around in your brain, odds are you'll never remember them and you certainly won't try your best to achieve them.


2. Celebrate ALL the wins...both big and small


To start, those goals we just talked about? Celebrate each and every one. But more than just goals, celebrate those unexpected things that may happen or chances you take that pay off. Did you send an email to a prospective client that you never thought they'd respond to but sure enough, they did? Did you submit a piece of art for a contest and win? These are things that may not be goals you intentionally set but they are certainly things to celebrate. Did you finish designing your own website or learn something by Google-ing that you can apply to your business? Guess what...those things are a lot more than what most people are doing and being resourceful and taking a shot should make you feel like a rockstar!


3. Set boundaries and designate "side hustle" time


Free time from your full-time job does not need to be filled working on your side hustle. You should not be up all night long working on your side job every night of the week. You work at your full-time job between the hours of 9-5 {or if you're a teacher like me, 7-3) so set a daily timeline or limit the amount of time you'll spend per day on your side hustle. Trust me, nothing can wreck your motivation to move your business forward more than burning yourself out. I'd be willing to bet your side hustle is also done within the four walls of your home, making it even harder to differentiate side hustle vs. personal time. Don't be your own worst enemy, it is necessary to cut it off before you run yourself right into the ground.


4. Don't stand with one foot in and one foot out


You decided to pursue this side hustle for one of a few reasons. It either brings you so much joy or you know you can bring joy to many people through pursuing it. So remember that you took the first steps to get to where you are now and you shouldn't muddy the waters by letting it blend into or take a backseat to other parts of your life. If you are running a business, no matter how big or small, keep everything separate from your personal or other professional life. Keep files with all of your information in a folder {either paper or digitally}, a separate space in your home with your supplies, products, etc., and maybe even a separate bank account for your side hustle funds. Otherwise, it is entirely too easy to blur the lines between personal funds and business funds.


5. Plan, plan, PLAN


You are a small biz owner. Whether you consider yourself type A or type B, that means you are now a planner whether you like it or not. Having a side hustle means flying by the seat of your pants isn't an ideal or effective approach to take anymore. The more you plan, the more you can breathe. Start by planning a month out on your calendar. What goals can you set to hit by the end of the month? When can you create and post content to keep your audience engaged? Here is an example: I plan to post new artwork content at least 5 days a week. Sometimes, I do not have the capacity {or desire, quite honestly} to create new pieces of art all five days of the week when I get home from teaching. So on Monday, I may plan to sketch 5 new pieces for the following week, paint them throughout the week and have them ready to post as planned. This of course requires planning ahead but it is so worth it to not feel like you're scrambling to create or post content that is half-assed.


Whether you are just starting out with your side hustle or have been doing it for years, start with these five steps and I guarantee you, that overwhelming sense of "what the heck am I getting myself into?" will ease up.


Have you tried to incorporate any of these tips into your side hustle routine? Let me know how it's going in the comments below!

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A portfolio of artwork by NJ-based artist Alexa Martin

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