A few years ago, I was stressed out with bills, overwhelmed with my kids and life in general, and feeling an abject lack of passion in my life. I had no real creative or personal outlet and no career prospects to speak of. I was very much in the throes of being a stay at home mom.
My good friend, Cat Alford, posted on Facebook that she was offering a course called “Get Paid to Write for Blogs”. Cat’s course taught me how to become a paid writer for websites. Now I’m still a stay at home mom, but I’m also a writer. I have a career, enough money to pay the bills, and a creative outlet that definitely helps me to let off some steam.
Until Cat’s course, I had never even heard the term “side hustle”, but now I proclaim the importance of having a side hustle to anyone who will listen.
I’m not going to lie. Carving out time for a side hustle is hard. When I first started out, I had to go through a big learning curve to figure out how and when to make time for myself and my career. With an (at the time) four-year-old and 4-month-old, time was hard to come by. I made it work, though, and so can you.
Think you don’t have enough time for a side hustle? Here are a few ways that you can forcefully carve out time in your busy schedule and make a side hustle a priority.
Wake Up Earlier
Trust me, I know how hard it is not to hit that snooze button. If you’re willing to wake up forty-five minutes to an hour earlier in the morning, you can start out your day by making time for yourself, and your side hustle your first priority. Waking up earlier will extend your day and give you the time you need to focus on some of your work, whether it’s writing, web design, virtual assistant work, or whatever it is that you find you’re able to do as a side hustle.
Stay Up Later
Not an early bird? That’s totally fine! Stay up later to get some work done. Sometimes I find that staying up late is the best time to work on my writing. The kids are asleep, the housework is done, and in the silence of the late evening, I can finally focus. If you too, do your best work at night, make staying up later to work a priority.
Budget Your Time More Efficiently
When I first started writing, I realized that something would have to give. I couldn’t keep living the way I was before I started working and expect to get everything done. By staying off of Facebook, checking my email less often, and not watching Netflix at night, I realized that I had gobs of time to get writing done. Simply by managing my time more efficiently, I was able to carve out several hours per day to get more work done.
Make Time on the Weekends
Especially if you’re working a traditional Monday through Friday, 9-5 job, it can be hard to force yourself to get work done on the weekends. Weekends are family time, time to catch up with housework, and spend time with friends. I get it. But the hard truth is that if you want to be successful with whichever side hustle you choose, you have to make time for it. And if your only free time is on the weekends, you’ll need to make some concessions.
Get Rid of Unimportant Tasks
How much time do you spend each week working on tasks that are time-consuming, unrewarding, and unimportant to you? If the answer is any time at all, then get rid of those tasks. Say no to being on the XYZ committees for the community, your kids’ schools, or your church if those things don’t make you happy. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with time and need to make time to focus on your career, say no to the things that are unimportant. Someone else can head up the PTA and life will go on. You’ll be less stressed, have more time for your side hustle, and you’ll be a better person for it.
Delegate Jobs to Free Up Your Time
Does housework take up hours of your time? If you can make more money by using that time to work on your side hustle, than hire a housekeeper. It doesn’t make sense to spend hours of your time on something if you’d be better off financially by delegating the job to someone else. Instead of washing your car yourself, pay to drive it through a car wash. Instead of baking 3 dozen cookies for the bake sale, buy them. Don’t make life harder on yourself than it has to be, especially if there are easier, more time and money-efficient ways to do things.
Editor’s note: I’m totally a fan of outsourcing too. It has given me back more time to focus on my business instead of other tasks I’m not as proficient at, like accounting. This is also why I started using Freshbooks to make my accounting so much easier!
Make a Side Hustle a Priority
You know what they say, “If it’s important, you’ll make time. Otherwise, you’ll make excuses.” If you want to reap the rewards that a side hustle can bring into your personal life, financial life, and even your career, then you need to decide that you’ll make your side hustle a priority. Once you decide that your side job, your passion project, or whatever it is you want to work on is worth making the time for, you’ll find that you have all the time in the world. As you become more invested in your side hustle, you’ll find that it’s easier and easier to drop the things that don’t matter. If you want to have a side hustle, no matter how busy your schedule is, you’ll be able to make the time.
Do you have a side hustle? How do you prioritize your time? If you don’t have one, are time constraints the reason you haven’t yet pursued a side hustle?