Side Hustle Real Talk: How to balance your schedule without a time machine

There are only 24 hours in a day, but if you have a side hustle, you might be wishing there were 124. Without a time machine of your own to help you be in two places at once, learning how to balance a full-time job with your side hustle is key to keeping your stress levels low and preventing burn out.

Pace yourself to achieve your goals

Every January, people sign up at their local gym and go every day for a week or two. But, after that, they’re never seen again. That’s because they quickly burn out or fall off the treadmill from exhaustion. The same can happen when you throw yourself into your side hustle. While you might be excited about making things happen quickly, make sure to set reasonable timelines so that you don’t get overwhelmed.

Part of the difficulty many ‘side hustlers’ face early on is figuring out what a reasonable timeline looks like. You’ll likely underestimate the time it will take you to do something. Consider using a time tracker tool like Rescue Time or timeStats so that you’re aware of how long you’ll need in the future. Then input your tasks into a time management app like Todoist or Toggl to stay on track.

Pacing yourself by choosing realistic goals can also help when working with customers. Build extra time into timelines so you can keep your word, even when something unexpected comes up. You may even want to use project management apps like Basecamp or Slack to keep your clients updated on your progress on larger projects. That way you’ll be a star, and not the person best known for sending late night e-mails apologizing that you can’t meet a deadline.

Outsource wherever possible

Just because you’re bootstrapping it, doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself. In fact, as a business owner one of the most important calculations you need to learn to make is what makes sense for you to do yourself, versus what is best to have someone else do. For example, if you’ve never used Photoshop before, you’re better off paying someone on Fivver or Upwork to design a logo for you than spending days learning how to use it yourself.

Other things that you can potentially outsource are bookkeeping, social media marketing, website design, and even admin functions through virtual assistant services like TasksEveryday, which will do everything from SEO optimization to booking a grooming appointment for your dog.

There’s an app for that

Spending hours creating invoices and tracking expenses?  No matter what your business challenge, there’s a service that will help save you time and money. For starters, streamline your invoicing and accounting with Wave. The best part? It’s free!

Keep your eyes on the prize

Slow and steady might win the race, but it can sometimes feel like the finish line is too far away. When your side hustle feels like a constant uphill run, it can be tempting to want to give up; however, you can bet that Oprah, Bill Gates, and the genius who came up with Chia® pets encountered similar setbacks and still kept pushing. Consider these tips to help you stay motivated:

  • Meet up with friends or contacts who also have small businesses or side gigs and talk about your frustrations and strategize ways to improve your businesses together.
  • Partner with another entrepreneur to keep each other accountable on your progress.
  • Create a vision board. When your motivation is lagging and your vision board catches your eye, you’ll be reminded of why you’re hustling and working so hard.
  • Follow successful entrepreneurs who post inspirational business advice on social media.
  • Download motivational podcasts to listen to during your commute.

If you need more help, consider hiring a business or personal coach to help you stay on track. The most successful people know when to ask for help!

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

If you treat your side business like a 100-meter dash, you will quickly end up frazzled, overwhelmed, or wishing that time travel wasn’t just science fiction. But setting achievable goals, pacing yourself, and finding ways to stay motivated can help you get where you want to go, without burning out.