How to Balance a Full Time Job with a Growing Side Business

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Side Hustles are one of my favorite methods of making extra money, and I love encouraging my readers to start up a side hustle or grow a side business. But side hustles start from scratch. 99.9% of “side gigs” have to be actively managed (and grown!) “on the side” – often on top of full-time work.

 

The good news: balancing a full-time job and a side business is not for the “faint of heart”, but it can be done.

 

If you work hard, the tips below can also help you make it happen and help you to (eventually) quit your job and do your side business full time, or at the very least bring in more income so you can reach financial goals faster. 

 

The Distinction Between a Side Hustle and a Side Business

 

Most people do not differentiate between the two, and honestly, almost any side hustle can turn into a side business.

 

The main difference between a side hustle and a side business is howYOU treat it.

 

My definition of a side hustle is working another job besides your main job without the intent of it replacing or outearning your day job.

 

You primarily do this because you want to quickly pick up more cash without investing your own money. And you’ll use this extra cash to fund your financial goals. The side hustle however, will always be the side piece. Never the main bae, and that is totally fine. 

 

Here are some examples of side hustles you can easily start:

 

The Definition of a Side Business

A side business is when you sell a product or specialized service in addition to working your main job with the intent of this business one day being your main source of income.

 

Here are a couple of the other key differences:

 

  • Side businesses require a significant amount of time to develop your product or gain and maintain mastery of your service.
  • With a side business as opposed to a side hustle, you start thinking about your brand.
  • You value how customers view and interact with your product or service.

 

Want to start and build your own side hustle or business? Snag the “Grow Your Money Tree Toolkit” an e-book and workbook hybrid for those who want to start earning money on the side. 

 

Tips for Balancing a Side Business with a Full-Time Job

 

P.S. The tips below work even if you've got a simple side hustle as well. These tips are for anyone who wants to create more balance in their life and find more time to earn money on the side.

 

Tip #1 – Embrace your full-time employment (for now)

 

 

Let me just say before launching into the rest of this piece: there's nothing wrong with working a full-time job, having a profitable passion project, or anything in between. #endrant.

 

But no matter how you feel about your salaried job – be grateful for your full-time gig.

 

It keeps you fed, your bills paid, and the income necessary to focus on building your side gig. Yes, full-time jobs can be a total drag, but they serve a purpose.

 

 

Tip #2 – Get Organized

 

 

Whether it’s designating a certain room in your home for side hustle work or just keeping a desk calendar with both full and part-time deadlines on it, being organized will seriously increase your productivity.

 

My favorite tip for staying on top of things in the “biz” while also working FT is to make a list of the three things that need to get done each day for your business.

 

Then only do those three most important things and don’t worry about the rest.

 

You can tackle three more things the next day, and then the next day.


I'd do more if I could, (and usually did on the weekends).

 

But really, my business was built with a million small baby steps.

 

 

Tip #3 – Set Aside Time Each Week

 

 

Do you work better at night or on the weekend? Are there days that you just can’t bring yourself to work on your side business? Finding out what times and days you work best can help so much with keeping motivated (as well as avoiding the dreaded procrastination).

 

For example, I worked every Sunday afternoon and evening on my blog hustle for about four hours at a time. Even after going to work for myself full time it still felt very natural to me to continue doing this, so I did.

 

Basically, if you train your body into a habit, the desire to work will follow.

 

Tip #4 – Set up a separate website for your side business

 

 

If you have a side business you’d like to grow into a full-time salary, you need to market your side business like a legit one. This means – at a minimum – getting a website for your business so you can look professional online and so people can find their way to what you offer.

 

Building a website is now easier than ever. Get an inexpensive hosting package so you can have more creative control over how your website functions and what it looks like.

 

Click here to review Hostgator hosting packages and pricing.

 

Then come back here to read the installation tutorial and learn how to upload and customize a theme.

 

Tip #5 – Create an Editorial Calendar

 

 

This step is for anyone actively marketing their side business.

 

  • For bloggers, a content calendar is a godsend and is something you should be doing every month.
  • If you run a small business or online store, calendars can help you complete priority tasks, such as keeping up with email marketing and social promotions.
  • Even if you don't blog, you need to have some type of calendar for all of the marketing activity you're doing to, well, market your business.

 

The concept is simple: make a list of what content (or marketing activities) you'll need and when it needs to be finished.

 

The good thing about calendars is that they allow you to work forward instead of coming up with posts off the cuff or having to read through dozens of emails and orders to find what should be the priority.

 

If you know what you need to accomplish you can get right to work.

 

Tip #6 – Diversify Your Income Streams

 

This may sound easier said than done and as an “infopreneur” I get it. It can be hard to figure out ways to diversify your baby income.

 

Some people have talents that naturally lend themselves to making enough money – artists can sell their art online, crafters can sell items on Etsy, etc.

 

But if you don’t have a skill that translates to something someone buys, what do you do?

 

It may be time to get creative. 

 

Even if you have an income stream that makes up to 90% of the money. When working for yourself, you'll need something different for that other 10%.

 

The important thing is to diversify your income in the event something happens with that primary revenue source. 

 

Tip #7 – Outsource where you can

 

 

This is a toughie. When building a business you want to bring home as much profit as possible.

 

And paying people to do the work cuts into that profit. So people don't want to do it. And I struggled with this for years. 

 

But MAN is it so important.

 

Because even if by some miracle you can do it all, you really can’t do it all expertly. 

 

This is where having help really becomes so essential. 

 

Here's a quick exercise to help you learn how to outsource. 

 

  • Make a list of all the things you do in your side business.
  • Now, put an asterisk beside the things that only you as the owner can do.
  • The rest should be outsourced to a virtual assistant, or perhaps to a technology platform that can automate it for you. 

 

Other items to outsource may include bookkeeping (I like to recommend Bench.co), taxes, or chores at home (like cleaning or grocery delivery) so that you can free up more of your spare time for the essential parts of your side business.

 

 If you’re struggling with bookkeeping, or even if you need multiple years of historical bookkeeping completed, Bench can help you get caught up to file on time and stay on top of things in 2019. Click here to learn more and to get 20% off your first 6 months.

 

Financial Tips When Balancing a Side Business

 

Ultimately, you want to be able to support yourself with your side business. Or at least become very comfortable.

 

That’s the goal, right?

 

This means trying to maximize your earning potential while still working the day job.

 

The tips below will help you with the “money side” of your business.

 

 

Tip #8: Get a Separate Bank Account Sooner Rather than Later

 

 

When you own your own business it is important that you keep your business and your personal accounts separate.

 

It can be tempting to deposit payments straight to your checking account, but what happens when tax season rolls around? What if there are business expenses to pay?

 

You don’t want to have your business earnings tied to your personal accounts or you could run into trouble if you are audited by the IRS.

 

By separating your business earnings from your personal earnings, you’re creating plenty of records of your cash flow.

 

Before opening business accounts at your regular bank, take the time to research the benefits of other institutions. If you have an online business, an online bank may make more sense and have better benefits than a brick-and-mortar business.

 

 

 

 

Tip #9 – Make a Business Budget (and Stick to It!)

 

 

Take your business finances seriously. Devote as much love and care to them as you do to your own personal finances.

 

It’s especially important to create a business budget so you know how much you can save from your side business earnings each month and get you to that all-important goal of leaving your full-time job.

 

Creating a budget will also keep you from dipping into business income for personal expenses. I am super guilty of this, so it's important for us all to remember – you are not your business!

 

 

Tip #10 – Get a Transition Savings Account

 

 

It's also important during this time to sock away as much extra money in savings as you can, to prepare for the transition from your full-time corporate job to working for yourself.

 

This “transition account” will eventually help replace your full-time income and help with any personal emergencies that may arise while you’re busy scaling your business.

 

So seriously, get a separate savings account for your work f*ck off fund and enjoy the peace of mind.

 

Looking for a FREE savings account? Check out the high-yield savings from CIT Bank. It's a great interest rate, AND they just debuted their new “Savings Builder” feature which gets you their highest rate (currently 2.5%) if you can commit to autosaving $100 each month. 

 

Tip #11 – Start An Emergency Fund for Your Business

 

 

 

Your business should also have a separate emergency fund that is completely separate from your personal emergency fund. Got it?

 

Think two bank accounts for both – one for you, and one for your business entity.

 

Take an inventory of all of your expenses related to your side hustle and don’t leave anything out. You want to be able to cover the expenses for your business for three months in the event you don’t make as much as you think or you’re unable to pay for them.

 

Related Resources:

 

 

 

 

Tip #12 – Be grateful for your side business

 

 

I mentioned before being grateful for your full-time job, but don’t forget to express gratitude to the universe for your side business: the clients that believe in you, the people paying you to do what you love, and the energy to make it happen.

At any level, in any job, the skills and extra income benefit you.

 

 

Tip #13 – Network your booty off

 

 

No (wo)man is an island and this is especially true for business owners.

Entrepreneurial depression is real, and it makes such a difference to network and connect with other people in your field. It’s also nice to chat with people who know what you’re going through.

When you are working your full-time job and aren’t so reliant on side business income is a great time to reach out to other side hustlers and both promote your business and make new friends who are working towards the same goals as you.

 

Tip #14 – Don’t Leave Your Full-Time Job Too Early

 

This is probably the biggest mistake I made, as I quit work in a huffy with only $3k in savings.

 

You not only want a healthy amount in savings for the transition, but you want to have a business that makes close to your same level of full-time income if possible.

 

Take it from someone who got all excited about her income potential and left a great job she probably should've kept working for a few more months.

 

Tip #15 – Dream BIG

 

 

This blog originally began as a side hustle, turned into a business, and then my full-time job. When I began, l can honestly say I never in a million years imagined that it would become my full-time job or even a profitable hobby.

 

So, the sky is the limit. It’s cliche, but if you can dream it (and work for it) then you can definitely achieve it. I'm the living proof!

 

*this post originally appeared in 2015. It was updated in March 2019. 

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  1. Reply

    Great tips! It’s so important to recognize that a full-time job doesn’t always mean security. Having a side hustle can be a good transition to self employment too.

  2. Reply

    All of these tips are totally spot on! A content calendar can work wonders, especially if you’re balancing a full time job, family, or anything that keeps you busy. :]

    // ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲

    • Lisa
    • June 18, 2015
    Reply

    So informative! Great, practical tips that I really feel like I can implement today.

  3. Reply

    Loved how the interview was short and sweet but still packed with loads of info. It looks like so much fun! It’s crazy how so many ppl depend entirely on their full-time job alone. I don’t think I could ever go back to having just one job. Lol.

  4. Really enjoyed the interview and I agree that most of us really need to audit our time. Its so easy to lose track of time and waste what moments that you could be making money from a side hustle.

    1. Reply

      A time audit has been crucial. I found I was REALLY unproductive between 12-2 so now I just take a long lunch or walk during that time 🙂

  5. Reply

    Great interview and some really good action tips. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Reply

      Thanks Michelle!

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