Today I’m going to be talking about how to balance your side hustle with your full time job. This is something which I have a lot of experience in as for almost two years now I have been balancing my blog, Those Positive Thoughts, with my full time job. At some points I have balanced the two with great success and growth, while others times I have experienced struggle and failure. So I feel like I’m able to share with you what has worked well for me, as well as sharing what hasn’t worked.
To give you a bit of background, I started Those Positive Thoughts in December 2016 and since then I have been blogging and trying to grow my blog while working a full time job. I currently work Monday to Friday as a Personal Assistant in London. I live quite far from my work which means I commute 1.5 hours to get to work and back, that’s 3 hours everyday commuting on the train and tube. This doesn’t allow a huge amount of time each day to focus on my blog, as it’s not just about finding balance between work and your side hustle. It’s also about finding the time for your social life such as seeing friends and spending time with your family. It’s about finding the time to focus on your mental and physical health, such as exercise, sleeping, cooking healthy meals and allowing time for self-care.
So whether you’re working full time or studying and working work part time, I understand just how difficult it is find the time and energy to dedicate to your side hustle. Especially when you first start and you’re trying to build an audience, it can be difficult to keep up the momentum and motivation to persist when you’re not receiving much in return.
Set clear goals
The first thing I would suggest is to set yourself clear goals. When I first launched Those Positive Thoughts, my only goal was to write one blog post a week, which I would publish every Sunday in my weekly newsletter. It might not sound like much of a goal, but at the time I was overcoming a lot of insecurities and self-doubt. I was extremely nervous about sharing my blog with others, so the idea of promoting it seemed too far out of my comfort zone. Instead, I focused on writing and finding my niche and my voice. With this very clear goal, I was able to build up a trust with my small but slowly growing audience, as I consistently shared new content every week. I also knew that I could fit this goal into my schedule as writing one blog post every week was manageable.
As my blog and my confidence grew, I changed my goal(s) to adapt. However, there were times when I would find myself procrastinating, in a way to avoid changing my goal to something more challenging. I would find myself playing around with my blog theme and over editing blog posts, because it seemed like I was being productive but really I was doing busy work. Not only was I standing in my own way by doing this, but I was also wasting the precious time I did have to work on my blog, by doing unnecessary tasks.
So if you notice yourself procrastinating and doing “busy work” such as over editing, then stop what you’re doing, grab a pen and paper and write down what your goal is. Then set yourself tasks which are focused on achieving this goal.
Next, you need to have dedicated time each day or at least each week (but preferable each day if you want to see real growth). This is of course a challenge when you work full time, but it is possible. Think about your schedule and when you can fit in an hour or two each day to dedicate to your side hustle. Personally, I like to wake up early to work on my own thing, I’ve found that I’m much more focused in the morning when I have zero distractions. Plus, I’m less likely to procrastinate in the morning, because there is no way I’m going to wake up early just to play on my phone and scroll down my Instagram feed.
I arrive home an hour before my boyfriend, which does give me an hour alone to work on my side hustle, however I can’t always predict how I’m gong to feel when I arrive home. Some days I’m just too exhausted, some days my train is delayed and I arrive home late, other evenings I just cant focus because I can see too many distractions around the house, for example, “I need to water the plants”, “I should probably put a load of washing on” or “I’ll just quickly unload the dishwasher”.
My excuses we’re much louder at the end of the day as opposed to the beginning, which is why finding a dedicated time each day or week to work on your side hustle is essential. You could dedicate an hour in the morning before you go to work, an hour at lunch time or maybe a day at the weekend. Some people are night owls and work best at night, while others are much more focused in the morning, so try out a few different times and days to see which works best for you, and when you’re feeling freshest. But ideally, if you want to see growth fairly quickly, I suggest dedicating an hour or two each day if you can. Just don’t go over the top and start waking up at 3:00 AM, because your mental well-being is also part of the balance.
Make the most of your commute
This point obviously only works depending on your lifestyle. For example, everyday I walk 20 minutes to the station, I then have a 30 minute train to London followed by a short tube journey. There is a lot of “dead time” here and by dead time I mean time when it’s difficult to be productive. Of course, there are always ways round this. This year I’ve really got into Podcasts and do you know when the best time is to listen to Podcasts? During your “dead time” of course! During my commute, I love to listen to personal growth podcasts but you can also use this time to read educational books which will help you and your side hustle or maybe you’re able to work during your commute and have a decent internet connection! When you’re working full time and trying to balance your side hustle, you definitely need to make the most out of your commute, even if you drive to work you can still listen to audio books and podcasts for ideas and inspiration!
Surround yourself with positive / like-minded people
This one can be difficult, as we’re working full-time we don’t exactly have a choice as to who we spend most of our time with. You might be lucky to work with a fantastic group of people who are optimistic, positive and like-minded individuals. Or you might be stuck near a crowd of people who don’t understand why you are doing something for yourself (your side hustle) and mock the idea! I hope you’re not, because you’re amazing and doing something for yourself is incredible!
Surrounding yourself with like-minded people is so powerful and if you don’t have a group of people to support you and your side hustle, then not to worry. There are plenty of other ways you can find and join groups of like minded people who will support you every step of the way. Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it! But honestly, before I started blogging I didn’t know anyone at all who had a blog and I believe this is one of the reasons why I was so scared to start a blog. Then once I started blogging I stumbled upon groups on Facebook of bloggers in every niche, all supporting each other, sharing each others content and freely giving advice to anyone who asks.
I also met lots of like minded girls at a blogging events. Going to an event alone is scary, but it’s never as scary as we think it is. I’ve personally never regretted attending an event as I’ve always come home with new friends.
My favourite blogging groups on Facebook are:
Auto schedule your posts
When you don’t have much time to dedicate to your blog, it’s essential that you set up an auto schedule for your blog posts and social posts. This is exactly what I do! It’s difficult to be everywhere all of the time but when you set up an auto schedule you are able to reach a wider audience quicker and with less work. There are a number of different auto schedules apps and programmes you can download, most of which are free! I use an app called IFTTT (If That Then This), it’s super easy to use and free to download. With IFTTT, you can auto schedule just about anything! Here are some of the schedules I’ve set up:
- Automatically share new blog posts to my Facebook page
- Automatically share new blog posts to Tumblr
- Tweet my Instagram as a photo on Twitter
This app and those similar can save you a huge amount of time and allows you to reach a wider audience on more social platforms. So if you don’t already auto schedule your posts, then I suggest you start today!
Are you currently balancing your side hustle with your full time job? What are some of your tips? Comment below!