Starting a business, or side hustle, in addition to your day job can be a lucrative endeavor. Many entrepreneurs have used a side hustle to save up enough money to travel the world full-time, quit their day jobs, and start their own business ventures.
But doesn’t that mean you’re working all the time? Do you ever have time for yourself that’s not about earning money? It’s possible to strike a balance — with a little work. I interviewed four successful women who currently have side hustles in addition to their full-time careers, to see how they manage everything. Here’s how to make more money, even if you’re short on time.
1. Focus on Energy Management
One of the most important factors to consider when you don’t have a lot of time, is to focus less on time management and hone in on your energy instead. “Most people tend to focus on time management and how many hours of work they can fit in a day, but I focus my efforts on energy management,” says Jessica Lawlor, Founder of the Get Gutsy Blog/Community + PR Professional & Freelance Writer at JessicaLawlor.com.
What is energy managment exactly? “Energy management means maximizing your energy and the times of the day you’re most alert and creative, in order to get your most pressing work done,” explains Lawlor. “It means prioritizing your day based on when your body and mind work best.”
This is a technique I’ve personally experimented with in recent months, and now schedule out my day based on my energy levels and the types of projects. I perform less engaging work during the early morning hours, and do the bulk of my work during my peak productivity hours right after lunch.
For Lawlor, her day looks like “doing as much creative work (i.e. blogging, freelance writing, product creation, etc.) between the hours of 5-8 a.m. (when I have the most energy) and leaving tasks like email, meetings and administrative work for the afternoon/evening when I am not at my creative peak.”
Energy management can revolutionize the way you get work done, and allow you to fit in more meaningful work for your side hustles and your day job.
2. Rent Out Your Assets for Cash
A smart way to leverage your time for extra money is to take advantage of the assets you already have. For this reason real estate is is always a good form of passive income.
“Consider renting out the spare bedrooms in your home. You’ll be a landlord, yes, but all of the upkeep on the house is something you’d already be doing since you live there. Yes, you’ll lose some privacy too, but the money really adds up,” explains Lauren Bowling, blogger at L Bee and the Money Tree.
If you’re not comfortable renting out your house to strangers, consider close family members or friends. You can even offer them a discounted rate, so you’re both getting a good deal. Another alternative is to offer your vehicle for use during the day, via a service like RelayRides.
You may have to think outside-the-box a bit on this one, but using the assets you already have for extra cash is the perfect way to start a side hustle when you’re low on time.
3. Don’t Let Money Motivate
Most of us start side hustles to make extra money so we can reach our goals faster. And while that’s all well and good, you should find another form of satisfaction and fulfillment from your pursuits.
“Money can’t be the sole motivator — you have to really want to do the work, to make it a priority,” warns Cait Flanders, Author and Writer at Blonde on a Budget. “It sounds cliche but, if you do this, the money will follow! And then you’re being paid to do work you love, which is a win-win.”
In order to accomplish this, and not be side-tracked by dollar signs, you have to set up a filtering system for finding projects that are the best fit. “I only say ‘yes’ to projects/companies that I’m passionate about, and which I believe will help me move towards living the life I want,” explains Flanders.
In my own business, I’ve started saying ‘no’ to almost every client inquiry I receive. Instead of getting overly excited and viewing their lead as something to pay the bills, they need to convince me to work with them. If an idea or project doesn’t blow me away, I know it’s not worth my time and energy. Those resources are precious, so don’t waste them!
4. Invest in Hiring Help
The smartest trait a lot of entrepreneurs posses is knowing what their strengths and weaknesses are, and embracing them. You don’t have to do everything by yourself, all of the time. It’s okay to delegate, ask for help, and hire someone to help you.
“One of the best things I did while working full-time was to hire a babysitter, from time to time, to be able to focus on growing my then side-hustle of freelance writing,” details Gina Horkey, Writer for Hire at Horkey HandBook. “This way [my kids] got to play with our cheerful teenage sitter and I got to work (and make much more than I paid her!), and my SAHD husband wasn’t saddled yet again with the kiddos.”
Think of it as an investment into your career, and view this expense through the lens of how much net income you could make once you’ve paid for some help. You may not make the entire profit, but think about how much time and energy (and sanity!) you’re saving during the process.
5. Prioritize What’s Important (Then Let Go)
One final piece of advice from these successful ladies, is all about being realistic with your expectations. We all have the same number of hours in the day, and some days you just won’t accomplish as much as you’d like. Accept it and move on.
“I think for us,” shares Horkey, “it meant having to prioritize and let go of some things that weren’t really important. If the choice was between playing with our kids or making our home extra spic-and-span, we’d forgo the housecleaning in a second. I’d rather my kids remember that we engaged with them 40 years from now, instead of their main memories being of a sterile-like cleaned home!”
Do you have a side hustle? How do you manage your time and energy best? Share your tips and ideas in the comments!