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How to start a side hustle while working a full-time job

Have you been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug? Don’t quit your day job just yet! Before you dive into entrepreneurship, try out a side hustle. A side hustle is a part-time job or freelance business that you can start growing in your spare time to either replace your full-time job or create a nice stream of income. You can build your skills, test out a new business idea without taking a huge risk and grow a stream of income.

Here’s how.

Pick your side hustle

Finding a side hustle is similar to switching careers, but with a few major differences. You need to find something that you love and that you’re good at, but you’ll also need to get very clear on your target market. With less time to market and promote your business, you need to laser-focused on who you want to attract. By narrowing your focus as tight as possible, while still remaining profitable, you can grow your business when you’re not at your 9 to 5.

Keep your expectations in check

Your new stream of income won’t grow as fast as a full-time business, so don’t get discouraged if it takes time for your business to grow. Since you’re putting in less time than you would be if you were working at it full time, the growth is going to be slower. It might be frustrating, but there is an upside: you can still take advantage of your full-time income while taking a chance on something you’re passionate about. And once you reach new income goals, you can ditch your full-time job and launch out on your own.

Set your schedule and avoid burnout

How much time are you going to spend on your side hustle? Plan out your schedule so that you’re putting in as much time as you can, without burning out. Err on the side of caution and schedule more time than you’ll think you’ll need. For example, if you could technically put 15 hours into your side business, schedule yourself for 10 to create a buffer of time. You’ll find that you’ll probably be able to get more done in that time than you thought, and you’ll avoid burning yourself out.

Think about the bigger picture

Your side hustle could be the stepping stone to a brand new business—and the creation of your larger body of work. In her latest book “Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together”, entrepreneurial thought leader Pam Slim shares inspiration and advice for entrepreneurs who want to develop something deeper.

“No one is looking out for your career anymore,” she writes, “You must find meaning, locate opportunities, and plan for failure. You must develop a set of skills that makes you able to earn an income in as many ways as possible.”

She explains that a body of work—rather than a career or business or single stream of income—is what we need to be shooting for. A side hustle can be the start of something amazing, that you can be proud of. Your body of work can take many forms—from products to digital resources to less tangible things like community and connection. It’s about finding the thread that ties everything that you do together so you can develop your skills, add value and create more meaning in your work life and life in general.

Your entrepreneurial dreams can take flight while you’re still employed. By staying focused, keeping your expectations in check and thinking about your long-term body of work, you can launch a side hustle that works for you.

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