In one of my previous jobs, I remember once on a Monday morning, my boss ran into an employee trying to sell clothes to another employee. His response in Yoruba was 'Ko da oh', literally meaning "it's not fair oh". The reality is in today's world most people often juggle more than one ball professionally i.e. they have a side hustle, which either currently brings in income (or it is hoped that it will) or just as a passion. Plus, as someone aptly put it, "Why be one thing when you can be many". Why be just a Lawyer when you can be a Lawyer and a Photographer. Why be just a doctor, when you can be a doctor, a blogger, a model and a blog planner creator.
The reality however is that if you are financially dependent on your day job, then you must tread with caution - lest your day job suffers and then, boom you're fired! These tips should help in trying to juggle both and avoid being fired:
1. Effective Time Management:
I bet if my colleague was trying to sell the clothes at lunch time or after office hours or at the very worst on Friday morning or a slow day at work, the boss may not have raised an eyebrow. It's important to ensure that the time you spend on your side hustle doesn't not conflict with your day job. This will inevitably depend on what you do. Weekends are obviously a great time to fit in other projects. And if you become a morning person, you might be able to get some work done before you head out to work. Personally, I also find my commute time to be very useful., as I often type my blog posts on my phone while on the train. Using part of your lunch break, say 30 mins out of the 1 hour may also be a good time to respond to emails/comments/ orders or put out some content on social media.
2. Office Resources:
This will invariably depend on the policies of the organisation you work for. Some offices are strictly against the use of office resources and supplies for the purposes of any private projects. So if you've been a given an official car and a driver, it may not be in your best interest to decide to use the car for your UBER side hustle. Similarly, the use of office computers, phones and something as little as printing may be frowned upon and could be a sure way of being subject to disciplinary proceedings at work. In pursuing your side hustle, please ensure you don't violate company policies in this respect.
3. Separate Business Cards:
As it is necessary to separate the two, a good idea is to have separate business cards. You don't want someone ringing the Engineering company you work for asking for you, the Makeup Artist.
4. Disclosure and Non-Compete:
If your side hustle is very similar to your day job, you probably need to check your employment contract to ensure that there is no non-compete clause which prevents your from pursuing a similar business, even after you leave the organisation. If this is the case, an early disclosure to the management may be necessary.
There's good news! Having a day job can definitely enhance your side hustle. In these ways:
- Larger Network of People:
Again in the case of the employee above, her colleagues served as potential customers. Likewise, and depending on what you do (and subject to office policies) you could always pitch your side hustle to clients. After a business meeting and over casual conversation, it doesn't seem like there's anything stopping you from letting clients know that you're also a photographer or food &fitness coach, in case they ever need any of those services. Use the network of people you come across to your advantage.
- Useful Opportunities and Skills:
It's important to also consider how the skills you acquire in your day job can enhance your side hustle. I love Law and I love writing/ blogging as a passion So I'm able to imbibe some of the training and dealings at work into my blog. I may not have been able to write these if I didn't have a day job. I wrote a piece related to Africa's Energy Law here and a bit of Intellectual Property Law here. I know of someone who is a pharmacist and also a Makeup artist, having realised that a lot of colleagues didn't quite get the hang of 'office appropriate makeup' decide to organise a special class on this to a broad range of people.
- Learning the small stuff:
I know, I know. It gets really annoying when you have to certain seemingly small tasks like proofread 300 page of document or appeasing an angry customer. And at such time, your probably thinking of how you can't wait to start break free of your 9-5 and then get rid of these admin tasks for ever. Sorry to burst your bubble, but chances are you're more likely to get sucked into admin stuff as a business owner. It's your business so you'll make want to make sure your pitches are perfect and without typos. You will also deal with more crazy humans and you have to act calm. So, use that annoying co-worker to practice your patience and calm!
Finally, some people simply pursue a passion on the side - with no intention of quitting their day job. Others however hope to someday be financially dependent on their passion. To this latter group of people, you have to give it time and only quit your day job after careful analysis, building a satisfactory brand and a whole lot of certainty. The last thing you want to do is be out of a job and broke. At that point, you may even begin to detest your passion.
Got any more tips to add? Do you have a side hustle - for money or just for passion? How do you juggle with your day job? Have you quit your job to pursue your side hustle fully? Well, let us know what you do, as we may be in need of your services!