3 Mistakes to Avoid with a Side Hustle
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A side hustle can be a pretty appealing idea — and in the internet age, there are plenty of options. You can drive for Uber, do odd jobs through TaskRabbit, pick up some computer-based freelance work, and much more.
The upside seems obvious. You can set your own schedule, be your own boss, and earn some extra income to help you pay off bills, fund a vacation, or just set a little cash aside.
Of course, while there are upsides, there are also risks. A side hustle can do great things for your overall financial picture — but it can also be a rabbit hole that’s difficult to escape. To make the most of a part-time gig, avoid the three mistakes below.
Managing time poorly
Selena Maranjian: Having a side hustle is great. It may be a little tiring, but it can also put more money in your pocket — and perhaps help you pay down debt or reach other important financial goals such as saving for retirement or putting a down payment on a home. Be careful, though, that you manage your time well. You’ll have less free time if you’re working a side hustle, so you’ll have to make it count more.
Most important, make sure you find room in your schedule for high-quality time with loved ones. You may have less time to lounge around on the weekends with your spouse and/or kids, but you can plan short outings or experiences with them, such as going to the zoo, seeing some concerts, or playing board games.
Plan your time well, too. For example, if you tend to do your grocery shopping on the weekend, you might take care of that on your way home from work to free up some weekend time to spend with loved ones.
If you sometimes bring home work from the office to do at home, see if you can stop doing that by getting more done while at work. Many people lose time at work keeping up with social media. If you can tame that habit, you might find some extra hours each week. If you frequently volunteer to take on extra work that keeps you extra busy, you might try saying no a little more often to maximize the time available for your side hustle and the rest of your life.
Not sleeping enough
Maurie Backman: Most of us work pretty hard at our day jobs. In fact, a good 40% of U.S. employees regularly work more than 50 hours a week, while 20% put in more than 60 hours.
It therefore stands to reason that if you’re going to take on a side hustle as well, there’s a good chance you’ll spend most of your waking hours working. And once you start running out of time to handle life’s other necessities, like doing errands and being with loved ones, your sleep is apt to suffer.
It’s estimated that nearly 75% of American workers aren’t getting enough sleep to begin with. Throw a side hustle into the mix, and you may come to find that the six or seven hours you previously managed to get each night have been whittled down to four or five. And that poses not only a health issue, but a career issue as well. After all, if you’re so tired that you’re not on your game for your main job, you could end up putting it at risk.
If you’re going to take on a side hustle, make sure the hours are conducive to a decent sleep schedule. No amount of money is worth walking around miserably tired day after day with no end in sight.
Letting your side hustle take over
Daniel B. Kline: Sometimes a side hustle can be more fun than your regular job. That was true for me back when I worked full-time in professions outside of writing. In many cases, I would take freelance writing gigs and focus on them at the expense of the job that paid my bills.
That worked out OK for me, as I eventually made writing my full-time profession, but if that’s not your intent, ignoring your main job can have major consequences. If you show up for work tired or unprepared, your boss may notice.
Most employers will overlook an occasional “off” day when the bags under your eyes would cost you extra on a plane. If it happens often, though, you may be considered unreliable. That could cost you promotions, raises, or even your job.
If you like your side hustle more than your regular job, it may be time to honestly assess what you do for a living. If you’re overdoing the side work because of money, it’s important to keep things in check so you don’t jeopardize your main source of income.
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