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Many people start out in the gig economy with a part-time side hustle while holding down a full-time traditional job. This is definitely true in Northwest Arkansas where entrepreneurialism0 is alive and well. Some people love their full-time job and simply want to pursue a passion part-time. Others are biding their time at their full-time job until they can grow their side hustle into a full-time job.

Either way, passion can get you far but burning the candle at both ends for too long may lead to burnout and exhaustion. And, you could easily lose sight of your dream that led you to your side hustle in the first place.

Here are some tips for making it easier to manage your part-time business while working a full-time job.

Define Your Goal

Maybe you want to test the waters before launching into this brave new world of self-employment or you a looking for ways to expand your income streams. You need to decide as soon as possible because this will impact how you move forward.

If you dream of living the gig life full time, you’ll need to decide on how much living and operating expenses you will need to save before taking that leap. This is so you can outline a projection time in your budget on when you can feasibly meet these goals. It will help you keep your eye on the prize when you are working after you’ve already put in 40+ hours at your full-time job.

If you are doing your side gig for fun and love your career, you may be able to be more lenient in your after-hours work schedule because your goals are less intense.

Either way, your goal for your side business will determine how much time and effort you need to plan for to meet your goal.

Set Work Hours and Boundaries

For both scenarios, you will find yourself to be far more productive when you have a defined plan than by gauging how you feel that day or simply telling yourself you will work some each day. It’s way too easy to tell yourself you will work a bit after you get home but then decide you’re too tired and “I can put that off until tomorrow.”

What does a clearly defined work goal look like? For example, “I will work from 6:30-8:30 Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays as well as from 1-6 p.m. on Sundays.”

A not-so-clear goal looks like this:  “I’ll work a few hours four days a week or when I have the energy.”

It can also be easy to get sucked into working nonstop when you really getting into the groove of work you’re passionate about. However, it is not sustainable. You risk burnout or losing connection with the people that mean the most to you. You will also want to look at your lifestyle and discuss with your family when you can be available to work. It is healthy and necessary to take time for the activities and people you care most about. No one can bring their A-game when stretched too thinly.

Connect the Two Jobs Where Possible

Are there times where your full-time work and side hustle collide in a way that would help your side business grow? This could be anything from training programs or employees with expertise willing to let you shadow them. Take advantage of these opportunities when available. This is a win-win because the skills will help you with both jobs.

Automate as much as possible

When running any business, the word that should become your best friend is automation.

Many things you need to do on a regular basis can be set up to happen automatically or even just set up so you can implement something in a shorter amount of time. For example, you can set up automated emails to be triggered when you get contacted by a potential client or schedule social media posting through a third-party software such as Buffer or Edgar.

Or, you can have prewritten responses to your FAQs that can be copied and pasted into a message as needed then just add personalization to each message. This will save you a ton of time where you can be productive instead of just doing busy work to keep your business going.

There are even things to consider automated in your personal life that will free up time in your schedule as well. Consider signing up with Amazon Prime to have regularly purchased staples shipped directly to your home instead of shopping once a week. Or, if you’re a Wal-Mart shopper, consider their Grocery Pickup program.

Consider Outsourcing

Independent contractors often find themselves doing every role from CEO to janitor in their businesses. The advantage to running a side hustle while you have a full-time job is you will often have more income which provides financial flexibility to outsource some of the business operations tasks that take up too much time. Its also good to outsource so you can practice not being an island if you take your hustle on full time. So, leverage this income to generate growth. Many great tasks to outsource are your bookkeeping, graphic design, content writing, social media management, email organization, tax preparation, etc.

Just as mentioned in the automation tip above, outsourcing some tasks in your personal life such as hiring a lawn care professional, food preparation service, or a housekeeper will give you back hours of your life that can be better used on your side hustle and time with family.

Know What to Give Up

Whether it be television time, social events, or even volunteering, take inventory of how you spend your time and determine what serves a greater purpose and what is a time suck. It is perfectly okay and highly encouraged that you schedule personal time. Ask yourself what adds value to your life and what just takes up your time. You need to determine what can be cut out if needed.

Do you have more tips for managing a side hustle with your full-time job? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

By Brandee Segraves, vice president of The Gig Community