One of the keys to reaching Financial Independence faster is making more money. When you increase your income, especially with money not intended for bills or other obligations, it can be a straight boost for your savings rate.
We have heard that a side hustle can be a secret weapon for increasing your income. But how do you find the time? Life can be busy, but here are some ideas on how to find some time you may have missed.
The question of “How to make more money on the side?” is often behind “How can I squeeze in one more thing into my day?” And both have do-able answers.
- Have a plan for your time.
- Invite, include, and involve the significant others in your life.
- Be realistic: Work Regulations, Burn-out, Balance.
Plan Your Time
It's almost cliche. But when you have a plan, a purpose, and a focus… you spend your time more wisely.
How many of us sit down to watch one episode of the new favorite show, only to realize three episodes later, dinner is late and everyone is starving?
When we set some boundaries for ourselves, we actually set ourselves up for opportunities and success, not restrictions and limits. For example, set the timer for the length of one show. Then break the spell by getting up and doing something productive for 15 minutes. Speed clean the room, do some physical stretches or a one on one conversation with a loved one.
This exercise in monitoring your time allows you to have the downtime that might be needed, but not get sucked into hypnosis of binge watching.
This can be applied to anything; to allowing yourself 15 minutes on social media with a timer set, to knowing which nights it's going to be easier to have a crock pot meal ready for when you get home. Even letting friends and family know that you will answer all the various texts, messages, and emails throughout the day during limited hours.
It takes some decluttering, self-analysis, and communication with your loved ones. But it brings about extra time. It moves us away from frantic and wondering where the time went, to having things together and able to roll with life as it comes.
Time: Chunks Or Snippets
It's easy to say “I'll get up early.” or “I'll burn the midnight oil.” in order to think we have more time, but sacrificing sleep or time with loved ones, may not have the best result in the long run.
However, for some, it is those particular times of the day when they are most productive. So how can that be used to your advantage? If you are a morning person, can you make arrangements to shorten your “beauty routine” to give yourself an extra half hour of time?
If the evening hours are when you get hit with creativity, make a focused evening once a week for a chunk of time, instead of bits through the week. For example, one night a week, with focused energy from 7 pm to midnight, would likely yield better results than one hour a night for 5 nights. (After all, the setup and clean up of any project, including side hustles, is wasted time.)
When you know what kind of side hustle you want, you'll be able to determine if snippets of time through the day will help you obtain your goals. Some snippets that regularly show up are the most useful, for there predictability of length and time of day. But look for opportunities wherever and whenever they arise.
- Commute time (as a passenger)
- Kid's sport practices
- Waiting in the kid pick-up line (parked)
Include Your Spouse And Family
The time for a side hustle is a sacrifice. Often it can be for the greater good and goal of Financial Independence. But when it has a higher cost of relationships, it may not yield the results you were hoping for. When your side hustle can be seen as a benefit to those you love, and it can incorporate more time together, then it's an even bigger win-win.
With the support of your spouse, then that one night when you are focused on the side hustle and all the cleanup and kid's bedtime is left to the other, it's do-able. It has a purpose other than building resentment for “your escape into hobby land”.
Some family-friendly ideas are pet sitting, traveling and blogging about the family experience such as The Bucket List family, creating and selling products. One example of this is John's Crazy Socks. John's Dad supports John's love of fun socks and they create socks to sell.
Side hustles are amazing at bringing in extra income. It is important to keep a realistic viewpoint of the time and energy sacrificed to make it successful and only you know what you want out of it. Perhaps it is just a short time idea, to add extra punch to get out of debt. Maybe it is a life goal and purpose that is to become your sole source of income.
Keeping the communication open and on the table for adjustments and improvements will result in long term financial gains, as well as strengthened relationships.
Plus, a side benefit is teaching your children about Financial Independence in an up close and personal way. Can you imagine a generation not tied to 9 to 5?!
Regular Employment Obstacles
Be aware of your current employment regulations.
Make sure your company has no rules against moonlighting or side hustles. In some cases, companies have policies that state you can’t work outside of your employment with the company. If your company has one of these policies, side hustling during your lunch break isn’t a good idea and could even get you fired.
You’ll also want to read through your company policies carefully. Look to see what happens with anything you create while employed by your employer. Some companies get to claim patents or other creations you make while employed by your employer.
If they do, working on your side hustle during work hours could result in a nasty legal battle on whether you or your company owns what you’ve built with your side hustle. Sadly, this may even be true if you work on your side hustle after hours.
Fantasy Vs. Burnout
If your side hustle is getting serious, it may be worth considering using a week of paid time off to work on your side hustle. This is especially true if you’re getting to the point where you’re thinking about taking your side hustle full-time.
Taking a day or a week and working on your side hustle full-time can give you an idea of what it’d be like to shift from being an employee to being a full-time business owner. If you’re going to do this, make sure you have a plan for focusing solely on your side hustle and what you’ll do each day.
Keep in mind, working for a day or week on your side hustle will probably be more exciting in the beginning because it is new. However, after months of working on your side hustle full-time, it can begin to feel like any other job.
Make sure you’re objectively evaluating whether your side hustle is something you want to take full-time during these days off from your main job.
The magic of Financial Independence is freedom. You are no longer tied to restrictions on your time and energy. You have the choice in how to spend your money and your time for your passion or life purpose.
Don't wait until you are completely financially set before practicing this way of living. Practice making active choices about how to spend your time and money now. Question what activities will bring you closer to the goals you have set. If there is a greater pull in one area of life, is it temporary or habitual? What could be changed to achieve greater balance? When the overall balance of your life feels in harmony with your relationships and financial goals, that's when there is true magic.
Finding the time for a side hustle is worth it. The pay-offs can be so much more than just financial. Take a look around, include your loved ones for ideas and support, and get busy with your side hustle idea!
- 6 Types Of Side Hustles You Can Start Today
- Podcast Episode: Finding Your Side Hustle Idea With Nick Loper