5 Tips for Starting a Side Hustle without Losing Your Day Job


Social Media Week

Are you thinking about starting a side hustle, but you’re not ready to give up your day job? Here are five tips to help you strengthen your relationship with your employer while growing your own business.

20 days until SMW Chicago. Watch live or on-demand. Activate free trial now!

To keep up with the rising cost of living, many millennials are turning to part-time entrepreneurial endeavors – or side hustles – to make ends meet. If you have dreams of starting your own business, you don’t have to make the full leap right away. Starting part-time gives you the freedom to figure out the direction for your business while keeping up with your bills.

While it seems ideal to start with that day job safety net, it’s certainly not easy. If you’re not careful, you can alienate your boss or your coworkers. Even worse, you can find yourself without a job.

If you’re thinking about starting a side hustle, keep these tips in mind for maintaining a positive relationship with your current employer.

1. Know the Rules

I’ll be honest, not every company is going to be okay with you working part-time while under their employ. To avoid a potential disaster, check your employee handbook. Is there a section for outside employment? Do you have a non-compete? Would your business idea violate either of these parameters? If so, the side hustle option may not work with this company.

2. Be Honest

If your employer allows outside employment, you can go ahead and have the conversation with the appropriate manager. Be straightforward with what you are doing, and when you’ll be working on your side hustle.

Is your goal to eventually be running the business full-time, tell them. Will it change your availability to work on special projects on your days off? You need to let them know.

You may not want to show your hand right off the bat, but your integrity is going to speak volumes to your employer.

3. Be Consistent

Your full-time employer has invested quite a bit into you. As a prospective entrepreneur, if you don’t know this know – you will soon. Employees are expensive, both in time and money.

You need to honor the commitment you made to that employer before any other opportunity.

Stick to the schedule you set with your employer. If that schedule needs to change, communicate that well in advance of the situation.

4. Be Present At Work

Be present when you are working with your employer. Avoid the temptation to bring your side hustle work with you to the office – even on your break. You’ll maintain the trust with your employer and they’ll be more likely to keep you on board until you’re ready to go full-time with your business.

5. Know When It’s Time to Say Goodbye

It can be terrifying to take that leap into full-time entrepreneurship. However, if you find yourself feeling constantly burned out week after week, you may need to choose one or the other. You aren’t doing yourself, your employer, or your clients any favors by stretching yourself too thin.

Take an objective inventory of what you need to make from your side hustle to make it your full-time “job”. When you reach that level, start thinking about phasing out from your day job.

When you’re ready to make that transition, give your employer more than the standard two weeks’ notice. Have a plan to train other team members to make the shift easier on your employer. Make yourself available for additional hours if necessary during that time period. You want to leave that connection on a positive note.

Remember: If your employer allows you to build your business on the side, they’re putting some aspect of their own business on the line to help you get there. Be respectful of that relationship, you never know how that connection will benefit you both down the road.

Learn the latest trends, insights and best practices from the brightest minds in media and technology. Sign up for SMW Insider to watch full-length sessions from official Social Media Week conferences live and on-demand.



Erika Heeren

President & Creative Director, Heeren Content & Strategy

@Erika_Heeren

Erika Heeren is the President & Creative Director at Heeren Content & Strategy, a boutique digital marketing firm. A 14-year marketing and public relations veteran, Erika has a professional focus on integrated media spanning 16 different industries. She works with small businesses and non-profit organizations to provide affordable, professional-quality content development and outreach services. She also provides corporate training and consulting services for large businesses looking to improve upon their inbound marketing practice. Her clients include local small business owners, marketing agencies, public universities, media outlets, Huffington Post-published authors, IT firms, and non-profit organizations. Erika is also an outspoken advocate for veteran and military spouse employment, education, and entrepreneurship. She works to connect qualified military affiliated professionals with small businesses in need of support. For more information about Erika or Heeren Content & Strategy, please visit www.heerencontentstrategy.com.



Want to write for Social Media Week?

We're looking for individuals around the globe to contribute articles on marketing, media, technology, and more.







Comments