How to find time for a side hustle

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Over the past few years, there have been a ton of “hustle culture” entrepreneurs making 20-hour workdays into a badge of honour.

The reality is burnout will hit and everything — from your day job to business to family life — will suffer as a result.

Maybe you’re trying to find time for your side business on top of working full time, and it seems like following the hustle culture is the answer. Maybe you’ve seen slogans like “the grind never stops” and thought to yourself, that’s the mindset I need to make sure my business grows. 

The truth is, the hustle culture can be toxic to your business. It sets you up for unrealistic expectations and it encourages unhealthy competition amongst your team if they feel that you’re looking for people who think winning is more important than anything else (like boosting collaboration and team morale).

Learning important business strategies can help you keep your head above water so you don’t drown in a never-ending to-do list, ensuring that you can confidently build an organised and process-driven small business.

From being a frazzled side-hustler to a calm and collected business owner

Having a side business while maintaining a day job can be overwhelming, which is why it’s important to get the best advice for small business owners. Your friends and family might mean well, but unless they’re business owners themselves, they won’t have firsthand experience and knowledge needed to help you grow your side hustle. You need the guidance of a business expert, someone you consider as a safe harbour whenever you find yourself in a storm of challenges and unexpected business situations.

I’ve been in your shoes, so I know how valuable it is to have a mentor you can look up to and ask for advice. I started running a side hustle from my kitchen table while working full time. Eventually, I was able to build Seight into a successful seven-figure custom cycling wear business, which was great, except the hustling mindset could only take me so far. 

While hustling pushed me to work harder for my business, it didn’t help me learn the skills I needed as a business owner. By the end, my wife left our marriage, the business had sunk and I was $200,000 in debt.

I’ve learnt how to grow a business the hard way, from making poor business decisions and having my ego knocked down. It was a humbling experience that encouraged me to learn business fundamentals and strategies. Overcoming the challenges I faced helped me gain down-to-earth confidence in my capabilities as a business owner.

Knowing that other business owners are going through the same chaotic journey pushed me to become a business coach. Unlike other coaches who don’t have any real-life business experiences, I know exactly what you’re going through. I was also a frazzled and overwhelmed side hustler who was determined to grow my business. Now, as an experienced business sherpa, I can help you develop and implement strategies and shortcuts that will help you take your side hustle to the next level.

Here’s how to grow your side hustle

By utilising key business techniques, you can make time for your side hustle, your day job and your personal life. This ensures that you grow into a calm business owner that’s not easily fazed or overwhelmed by unexpected challenges, especially when your side business starts taking off. 

These are five strategies I’ve learnt to use in successfully growing my small business. 

1. Practice intentional goal setting

Setting goals is important as it gives you a clear direction to follow in achieving your vision. It helps you stay motivated and passionate about your small business, and allows you to set realistic expectations for yourself while tracking your progress.

Keep in mind that wishes are not the same as business goals. Saying that, “I want my side hustle to make money this quarter” is not the same as saying, “I need to develop three lead-generating strategies this month to increase revenue”. The former is a vague and wishful statement, while the latter is a specific and results-driven process. 

As you keep growing, include your staff in the goal-setting process. Your team can give valuable input in improving your business, and giving them a say in your business development will make them feel important and valued. 

Goal setting isn’t a one-time activity, and it definitely doesn’t stop once you’ve formulated a business plan. Your side hustle will continue to evolve as you reach new milestones, so it’s important to update your goals to reflect the growth you’re experiencing.

2. Work on tasks that move the needle

Working on your side business can be chaotic when you have other responsibilities and commitments. It’s important to identify the tasks that really need your attention and stop spending time on things that don’t bring results. Some people spend so much time designing a logo or writing a 20-page business plan, even though these tasks don’t generate money. You can develop a concise business plan that can be easily modified, and if you don’t have any design skills, then it’s best to outsource a designer who can create a logo for you. 

A simple rule of thumb: If the task can be delegated to someone else or modified along the way, don’t overspend your time on it. Create a list of priorities and focus on the most high-priority tasks, working your way down until you’ve completed your to-do list for the day. Identify the distractions that are slowing you down so that you can remove the “productivity killers” in your day-to-day life and improve your efficiency.

3. Learn how to delegate tasks to a team

Once you’ve learnt how to create a productive workflow, you can easily see which tasks can be delegated to your team. You can assign tasks that you don’t have time for, or that are outside your expertise or capabilities. Delegating tasks is a good indicator that your small business is growing.

It’s important to consider your side hustle’s current stage of development; do you need to outsource or delegate? 

Outsourcing is the process of subcontracting the services of a third-party company, while delegating involves assigning the work to internal staff members. For example, hiring a content agency for your business content is outsourcing, while giving content creation tasks to your marketing team is delegation.

Knowing which tasks you can delegate can give you a better idea of how many staff members your business needs and how to improve your operations and overall business performance. 

Here are some of the tasks you can delegate to your team:

  • Accounting and bookkeeping
  • Website design, development and maintenance
  • Sales and marketing
  • Customer service

Delegating gives you the time and energy you need to focus on higher-level tasks while providing opportunities for your team members to hone their skills and develop new ones. It also boosts the trust and communication between you and your team while ensuring that everyone is continuously productive. 

4. Set schedules and deadlines

You will need to create a schedule to make sure you’re on top of everything, including your business and your day job. Things can get more chaotic and jumbled without a set schedule in place, making it more difficult to start and finish projects, especially if you have conflicting deadlines and commitments.

You need to build a daily routine to succeed so that you can accomplish your tasks consistently. Developing positive habits that form a healthy daily routine can help you stay motivated, become mentally stronger and have a better outlook in life. 

Sticking to your schedule and your deadlines ensures you’re following a clear timeline in achieving the goals you set for yourself, enabling your small business to keep growing.

5. Get a business coach

A business coach can hold you accountable to your goals and help when you're feeling tired, stressed or overwhelmed. An experienced business coach will support you in turning your side hustle into a well-run small business.

Having someone to assess your business with who is outside your stress bubble is critical as they can see solutions and obstacles that might be too close for you to recognise. This goes for your goals too: sometimes it’s hard to see if the goals you have set are unrealistic, or if they can actually be taken up a notch when your business hits the next growth level. 

Applying business strategies will help you be more focused, organised and confident in accomplishing your goals and growing your side hustle. Once you’ve developed the right techniques and skills, you can better manage the unexpected challenges thrown your way.

We can help grow your side hustle into a small business. Join us in our group coaching sessions and get insight from our bustling business community, or book a one-on-one consultation with one of our business sherpas to get more tailored advice. 

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