Published on October 25, 2021

How to Start a Side Hustle While Keeping Your Full-Time Job

How to Start a Side Hustle While Keeping Your Full-Time Job

Side hustles have been a hot topic for years now. Statista reported that the number of freelancers in the U.S. reached a record 59 million in 2020.[1] Sure, that year was a bit unorthodox, but the steady rise of remote work has made it very unlikely that the number of contractors will decrease any time soon. If you work full-time but you’re thinking of how to start a side hustle, you certainly aren’t alone. However, that doesn’t mean that your side gig will be successful.

If you want your secondary freelance efforts to succeed, you need to approach them with a strategy in place. Here are five tips on how to start a side hustle.

1. Assess Your Interests

The first step in learning how to start a side hustle is considering what you’re interested in. Sure, you may have heard that freelance graphic designers make $150 an hour. Yeah, that report came out a week ago saying a freelance website developer makes six figures while only working 30 hours per week.

The truth is, though, most of these elite success stories take place for two reasons:


  • First, the contractor is doing something that aligns with their established skills.
  • Second, they are excited, invested, and interested in that area of work.

So, begin your side hustle history by asking yourself what you’re interested in. What kind of work is satisfying for you? What are you passionate about?

It’s also worth asking what you’re hoping to get out of a side hustle. If you need to help pay the bills or you want some spending money, you’ll be fine. If you want to be compensated for a hobby, that might work. If you’re planning on getting rich next week, think again.

2. Take Stock

Next up, take stock of your current non-gig-related life. When discussing taking stock of one’s life in his book, Freedom Street: How I Learned to Create a Rich Life, Live My Legacy, and Own the Future as a Financial Advisor, financial advisor Scott Danner says, “we need to take stock now of where we are and how that affects where we could be in the future.”

In other words, don’t just see if you can squeeze freelancing work into the cracks right now and then dive in. Take a serious look at your life at the moment. Are you up to your ears with work at your day job? Do you have enough time to balance your work with family time? How will all of these areas be impacted by consistent side gig work?


This should give you an idea of how much recurring time you can reasonably put toward a side hustle. Take this calculation seriously. If you misjudge your free time and find that you can’t handle the workload, you’re going to spend a lot of time setting things up only to abandon them in the future.

3. Set the Stage

Next, it’s time to tend to some logistics. If you’re feeling antsy spending so much time setting the stage before you even get a paid gig, once again, you may want to check your motivations. Leave the get rich quick mentality at the door.

Taking the time to line up the logistics beforehand can give you a better shot at figuring out how to start a side hustle with confident, sustainable success. In pursuit of this end, ask yourself a couple of practical questions:

  • Where are you going to get work? Will you need to set up a rideshare app? Do you need to find a freelance writing website? Do you have a Fiverr account? Try to track down some leads to help you get started.
  • How will you handle your business finances? Remember, as a contractor, you’ll be the one reporting your income. Are you ready to pay quarterly estimated taxes? Do you need a separate business bank account to keep your finances straight? Does your side hustle require some startup cash? Don’t dive in without considering the financial implications beforehand.

If you want a hustle to last for the long haul, you have to approach it at least somewhat systematically. There will be a time and a place to dive in and thrive off of your passion. Just do your best to set the stage first.


4. Own the Process

Alright. At this point, you’ve assessed your interests. You’ve also taken stock of your current responsibilities at work and at home. From there, you’ve set the stage for freelance success.

The next step in planning how to start a side hustle comes from owning the process. As you begin to dive into the rigmarole of finding gigs and generating income, utilize the following tools to help you stay in control—instead of letting your side hustle control you:

  • Routines and schedules: Having consistent routines can help you maintain momentum even when you feel tired or drained from busy or demanding periods of time.[2] Schedules can also help you keep track of all of your varying responsibilities.
  • Productivity and efficiency: Figuring out how to start a side hustle will feel anything but productive at first. However, as you begin to flex your freelance muscles, look for ways to improve your efficiency and your output.
  • R&R: Rest and relaxation will become more important than ever once you start a side hustle. This is partly because it will be harder to come by. Learning the balance of how to start a side hustle begins with finding ways to embrace and maximize your limited rest time.

These are tools that can make or break your side hustle efforts. Make sure to utilize them right from day one.

5. Embrace the Right Soft Skills

Along with the aforementioned tools, you are going to want to embrace a few critical soft skills. These are important for all professional pursuits in the 21st century. However, they are particularly applicable to the lifestyle of a freelancer. These soft skills include:


  • Adaptability: The freelance life is filled with ups and downs. Make sure you’re always ready to adapt to what is needed to succeed.
  • Flexibility: From different work systems to figuring out communication to varying client expectations, the one constant in the gig economy is change, so remain flexible as you go along.
  • A growth mindset: The ability to always learn and grow is essential to maintaining your edge in the gig economy.[3]

There are plenty of soft skills that you’ll need as you freelance. No matter what field you choose to go into, though, the abilities to adapt, stay flexible, and grow will help you stand out from the competition.

Learning How to Start a Side Hustle

At the end of the day, starting a side hustle isn’t easy. In fact, it requires a blend of patience, resilience, confidence, and passion. You can also rest assured that you’ll feel overwhelmed and discouraged at times—and that’s okay. Very few business owners in history have been able to avoid adversity as they got their ventures off the ground.

Just remember one important fact as you go along: you are a business owner now. You’re an entrepreneur—or, as freelancers lovingly call themselves, a solopreneur. You’re a businessperson with a vision and drive that is making your dream a reality.

This is true if you’re merely looking for a side gig to amplify your income. It’s equally valid if you’re dabbling your toes in the gig economy to see if there’s potential to dive in full-time in the future. In either case, begin by mastering how to start a side hustle in the first place. Once you’ve done that, you can use your accumulated knowledge and experience to take the reins and guide your own future.


More Tips on How to Fulfill Your Dream

Featured photo credit: Fernando Hernandez via


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Kimberly Zhang

Kimberly Zhang is the Chief Editor of Under30CEO and has a passion for educating the next generation of leaders to be successful.

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Last Updated on November 15, 2021

20 Ways to Describe Yourself in a Job Interview

20 Ways to Describe Yourself in a Job Interview

“Please describe yourself in a few words”.

It’s the job interview of your life and you need to come up with something fast. Mental pictures of words are mixing in your head and your tongue tastes like alphabet soup. You mutter words like “deterministic” or “innovativity” and you realize you’re drenched in sweat. You wish you had thought about this. You wish you had read this post before.


    Image Credit: Career Employer

    Here are 20 sentences that you could use when you are asked to describe yourself. Choose the ones that describe you the best.


    “I am someone who…”:

    1. “can adapt to any situation. I thrive in a fluctuating environment and I transform unexpected obstacles into stepping stones for achievements.”
    2. “consistently innovates to create value. I find opportunities where other people see none: I turn ideas into projects, and projects into serial success.”
    3. “has a very creative mind. I always have a unique perspective when approaching an issue due to my broad range of interests and hobbies. Creativity is the source of differentiation and therefore, at the root of competitive advantage.”
    4. “always has an eye on my target. I endeavour to deliver high-quality work on time, every time. Hiring me is the only real guarantee for results.”
    5. “knows this job inside and out. With many years of relevant experience, there is no question whether I will be efficient on the job. I can bring the best practices to the company.”
    6. “has a high level of motivation to work here. I have studied the entire company history and observed its business strategies. Since I am also a long-time customer, I took the opportunity to write this report with some suggestions for how to improve your services.”
    7. “has a pragmatic approach to things. I don’t waste time talking about theory or the latest buzz words of the bullshit bingo. Only one question matters to me: ‘Does it work or not?'”
    8. “takes work ethics very seriously. I do what I am paid for, and I do it well.”
    9. “can make decisions rapidly if needed. Everybody can make good decisions with sufficient time and information. The reality of our domain is different. Even with time pressure and high stakes, we need to move forward by taking charge and being decisive. I can do that.”
    10. “is considered to be ‘fun.’ I believe that we are way more productive when we are working with people with which we enjoy spending time. When the situation gets tough with a customer, a touch of humour can save the day.”
    11. “works as a real team-player. I bring the best out of the people I work with and I always do what I think is best for the company.”
    12. “is completely autonomous. I won’t need to be micromanaged. I won’t need to be trained. I understand high-level targets and I know how to achieve them.”
    13. “leads people. I can unite people around a vision and motivate a team to excellence. I expect no more from the others than what I expect from myself.”
    14. “understands the complexity of advanced project management. It’s not just pushing triangles on a GANTT chart; it’s about getting everyone to sit down together and to agree on the way forward. And that’s a lot more complicated than it sounds.”
    15. “is the absolute expert in the field. Ask anybody in the industry. My name is on their lips because I wrote THE book on the subject.”
    16. “communicates extensively. Good, bad or ugly, I believe that open communication is the most important factor to reach an efficient organization.”
    17. “works enthusiastically. I have enough motivation for myself and my department. I love what I do, and it’s contagious.”
    18. “has an eye for details because details matter the most. How many companies have failed because of just one tiny detail? Hire me and you’ll be sure I’ll find that detail.”
    19. “can see the big picture. Beginners waste time solving minor issues. I understand the purpose of our company, tackle the real subjects and the top management will eventually notice it.”
    20. “is not like anyone you know. I am the candidate you would not expect. You can hire a corporate clone, or you can hire someone who will bring something different to the company. That’s me. “

    Featured photo credit: Tim Gouw via



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