Side hustles are all the rage these days. And if you don’t already have one and you want to create a new income stream for yourself, then this article is for you. In it, I’m going to share seven tips to help you build your side hustle while working a full-time job and how to scale your side hustle even faster. Over the years, I’ve built multiple successful side hustles while maintaining a full-time job.
These range from a niche network of sites that generate organic traffic with display advertising and affiliate marketing to other digital products that I sell online.
Tip #1: Set aside reset time.
My first pointer is to make sure you’re setting aside some reset time. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made over the years has been simply jumping right into my side projects or businesses after finishing a complete workday. I’ve found that at least for myself, it’s way more effective to reset with at least 30 minutes in between the time that I wrap up my normal work and then my side projects than it is to jump right in.
There are a ton of different ways that you can reset. For example, you can go for a walk, do a home workout, or even just pick up a book and read for 30 minutes. Whatever the case may be, the important thing here is that you’re setting aside some time to prioritize your self-care over building the next thing that you want to do in your spare time. Whatever you end up choosing to do, the important thing is that you’re blocking away some time for you to practice some self-care.
Tip #2: Keep a tight to-do list.
Notice how I use the word tight to describe my to-do list. What I recommend you do is whenever you are about to stop work on your side project, outline the next three things that you’re going to need to do the next time that you pick up the work. In other words, by having a clear to-do list of these top three priorities, you’re going to reduce some of the decision fatigue that you might have whenever you’re starting to work on your side project or side hustle.
So for example, if YouTube is your side hustle right now, you might have on your to-do list to leave 10 productive comments on channels you’re subscribed to, outline your next two videos or to outline what B-roll you’re going to incorporate in the videos that you’ve already recorded.
A common challenge you’ll face as you’re working on your side hustle is that your to-do list is always going to be longer than the amount of time you have to work on your side hustle. So the best thing you can do is to simplify the decisions that you need to make and start chipping away at that to-do list.
Tip #3: Block out your time.
The third tip I have for you is the importance of blocking out your time. As I’ve already mentioned, you don’t have all that much time to work on your side hustle. So you need to maximize every single hour you have. Once you take stock of how many hours you have, you can start to break down how long certain to dues might take for you.
For example, if you have two hours to work on your side hustle today, maybe an hour is going to be focused on product creation, 45 minutes will be focused on creating SOPs for your virtual assistants to delegate some work off to them whereas the last 15 minutes might be focused on communicating with your customers or your audience.
Some additional guidance that I can give you guys here is to create actual time blocks in your calendar. You might find it helpful to create a literal time block in your calendar that is your side hustle time to work on your project. The highly successful academic and author on productivity, Cal Newport calls this fixed schedule productivity, and it could be a super helpful way for you to remain on track.
Another helpful thing for you to do is to make sure that you are positively or negatively reinforcing your time blocks. For example, if things go really well in your two hour block, maybe you reward yourself with some ice cream after you’re done, or if you prefer to reinforce things with negative reinforcement, maybe you give your friend $5 every single time you don’t accomplish your three to do’s on your list by the end of your two hour working period.
Whenever it gets you going, the important thing is that your systems are working with you as opposed to against you, and that you are positioned for success from these systems that you create for yourself.
Tip #4: Focus on what moves the needle most.
My fourth tip is to make sure that you are focusing on what moves the needle most. In most cases, this is going to be sales and the reason why is because if you are not presenting your offer or your side hustle to potential customers, then you’re not getting closer to generating revenue for your side hustle. So the number one goal for you in the very beginning is to make your first dollar. That’s all it takes for you to validate that somebody is willing to pay for your product or your service.
The reality is that if you’re not generating money for your side hustle, then you’re not actually building a side hustle or a side business because you have no cashflow. So you have to focus primarily on earning that first dollar. An important thing for you to remember is that the needle also moves over time.
For example, after a while you might have a series of clients or customers, and you realize that they need more customer success from you, then they need you to be selling them new products. So you need to invest time there because if you were to lose customers, then your side business would struggle as well. Typically the easiest way to think about this is what would make your customers happiest right now and what would make sure that your business remains liquid.
Tip #5: Set and measure OKRs.
My fifth tip is to make sure that you are setting and measuring, OKRs. Public companies do this every single quarter through their earnings report when they share things like their revenue guidance, their dollar-based retention and their user engagement metrics. You should do this as well.
And OKR stands for objective, key result. In case you’ve never set one before, there’s a helpful website called okrexamples.co that you might find valuable when you are planning your own.
Real quick, let’s go over an example. Let’s say we want it to achieve the objective of increasing side business revenue. To do this, three key results we might measure are one pitching 20 prospects via call or email, two upselling one in every three existing customers and three introducing at least five excuse into the store. If your side business doesn’t have any goals, then you won’t know what you’re actually working towards.
So it can be really helpful for you to measure these OKRs over the course of a quarter. That way you can gauge for yourself whether or not you’re being successful at building your side hustle. At the end of the quarter, you’re going to want to do some introspection and look at what went well and what didn’t, and then set your goals based off of the performance of this quarter. By doing this, you’ll be able to take into account the sorts of realities that you face in your side business, while also staying optimistic towards working towards the next goal for your business.
Tip #6: Track you KPIs
My sixth tip is to make sure that you’re tracking your KPIs or key performance indicators. Like I mentioned in the last tip, you need to know what you’re working towards. Say for example, if you’re a YouTuber trying to get monetized, your KPIs have already been set for you, which are a thousand subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time. But what this means for you is that you need to know what velocity your YouTube channel is growing at in order to hit that goal.
So for example, if you are growing at 50 subscribers every single week, it would take you five months in order to hit that requirement. So you then have to ask yourself, is, is that fast enough? Do I want to try to throw some gasoline on the fire and make it grow faster? Or do some things in my control to try to accelerate that sort of channel growth? Whatever the case may be for you and your side business, the important thing is to track whatever data is available for you.
Maybe for example, you’re running an online store and you’re sending out regular email campaigns. If that’s the case, then you can review things like the open rate, the click through rate, or the response rate to your emails to see how effective your copywriting is. I have a series on email marketing tips if you want that and you would find it helpful. So be sure to check that out after you watch this video.
Whatever you ultimately land on, I recommend that you have at least three to five KPIs for your side hustle. Anything more than that is typically more than what a side hustle needs. So by keeping it to three to five, you’ll keep things simple while also keeping you on track.
Tip #7: Scale your team
My final tip for you when it comes to working on your side hustle while working a full-time job is to make sure that you are scaling your team. If you’ve been on this channel for a while, you know how important this is because of how many times I’ve emphasized this in different videos. The key takeaway here though is that if you are stuck working in your business versus on your business, you’re not going to actually grow your side business into anything bigger than a small little, second job for yourself.
To avoid falling into this trap, I recommend that you start documenting your standard operating procedures or your SOPs for doing different tasks as early as possible. Once you have a working process in place, document it so that you can delegate it to somebody else. A great low risk way for you to start scaling your team is to bring on a virtual assistant.
If you don’t have the budget yet for that, then your first focus should be to figure out how to unlock enough budget for a virtual assistant. And if you are ready for a virtual assistant, you might find our article on how to hire and manage a virtual assistant helpful.
This can make a huge difference though, for your side hustle. Say, for example, you’re making $50 a week from your side hustle and you were to simply allocate 25% of your revenue to hiring a virtual assistant, depending on the hourly rate of your virtual assistant, this could work out to four to six hours every single week that you are unlocking.
In other words, every single month, you’re freeing up 20 hours of work for yourself to work on other things that will move the needle more for your side business. Over the course of the year, that opens up 240 hours of work that you can spend investing on things that move the needle further than you being the one to respond to a customer support email.
Scaling your team makes a huge difference. In fact, there’s no way I could have released 50 YouTube videos within six months of launching my channel if I didn’t have my video editor and my virtual assistant helping me out along the way. People always scale their teams way too late. So I recommend you do this as early as possible once it makes some financial sense for you.
There are two things I want you to remember from this article:
- The first one is to create systems of accountability for yourself. It’s really important for you to be working towards a goal for your side business.
- The second one is to scale your team as quickly as possible. Create your SOPs and then begin delegating to your team so you can always be focusing on the thing that moves the needle the most.
If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out my YouTube channel to get new videos every single week. I’ll help take you from zero to self-starter as you grow your business, get more customers, and hone your business acumen. Also, feel free to share this with anybody that you think might also benefit from learning these seven tips on how to build a side hustle while working a full time job.