If you have been following this blog for a while you know that I’m a big fan of starting your location-independent life while still working in your everyday full-time job. This is the safest way to slowly transfer into the digital nomad lifestyle.
But maybe you don’t even plan on becoming a digital nomad but “only” want to start a side hustle to make a bit of extra income or to work towards your own business?
Either way, it can be super hard to make time for your side job while still working in your full-time job. To help you get started, I have collected all the little tips and tricks that I found super helpful when I started out. Have a look and see what could work for you, too.
Table of Contents
1. Set goals
Goal setting is one of the most important steps if you want your business, side hustle or remote job, to be successful.
Before you start anything else, sit down and think of everything you want to achieve in the next couple of weeks, months and years.
- What kind of business do you want to start?
- How do you want to earn your money?
- How much money do you want to make until when?
- How much time do you want to spend on it every week?
- How much are you willing to sacrifice?
This will help you get a clear picture of what you have to do in order to achieve your dream. It will also help you measure your achievements along the way so you can adjust if you are not hitting your goals.
If you want to learn more about how to efficiently set your goals, check out the linked post.
2. Get the right mindset
Get the right mindset and you are halfway there. Seriously.
If you are serious about starting a side hustle, make it a priority. Don’t treat it like a hobby. Make sure you want it bad enough because there will be times when it’s not going to be easy. You’ll wish you only had your normal job and no additional work to worry about.
If you are not 100% in it, chances are you will give up and fail sooner than you think.
3. Stay motivated
As you probably have guessed, there will be times when you could need that extra portion of motivation. Make sure you have plenty of little incitements to help you through the day.
For instance, you could place motivational quotes everywhere in your daily life, like your screensaver on your laptop or phone, or a magnet on your fridge, maybe a bracelet with a special quote.
If you listen to a lot of music, put together a playlist with motivational songs. A quick search on Google got me this list, just to give you an idea.
4. Set up a schedule
If you want to be serious about your side hustle or future business, you need to set up times when you are going to work on it. Since you have a full-time job, this is even more important.
Let’s say you use every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday night. And, of course, every weekend. During these times you will be completely focused on your work.
Treat those time slots with the same priority as you would treat a business meeting. No postponing because you are too tired or because you’d rather go to the beach. Stick to your schedule!
5. Work on weekends
I bet some of you just got a slight heart attack when I wrote that you need to sacrifice your weekends. I know that your weekends are your holy days when you calm down and relax from your busy day job.
But if you want to make this side hustle thing work, you have to be willing to put in quite a bit of effort. And if you work Monday to Friday, that means you have two entire days off to spend time on your business. You can get so much done in those 48 hours. Use that time!
6. Make it a habit
If you stick to your schedule and repeat it every week again, it will soon become a habit. Once it is a habit, it will become easier to stick to it.
That’s why it is important to create consistency. Don’t just work on it here and there a bit or whenever you feel like it. That will make it much harder to achieve your goals.
If you want to learn more about how you can eliminate bad habits from your life and replace them with better ones, I can highly recommend the book “The Power of Habit” by
7. Be productive
Ok, now you have a schedule for when you are going to work on your side hustle and you stick to it. The only thing you have to improve now is to make the most out of that time.
When you have a full-time job, you won’t have too much time left for something else. So don’t just sit around and waste that precious time slots.
A great way of improving your productivity is by using the Pomodoro technique. This method suggests that you work fully focused for 25 minutes. Then you take a break for 5 minutes and repeat everything. The idea is that you will get more done during those 25 minutes’ sprints than you would if you worked 2 hours straight.
For more genius productivity hacks when working from home check out the linked article.
8. Avoid distractions
This one goes along with being more productive. Most of you will do your side hustle from home. And there are so many potential distractions! Your tv, the couch, social media, kids, the fridge, the laundry…
Become aware of what is distracting you and consciously avoid doing these things! Make a list of things that you are not allowed to do while you are working. Again, this is no hobby, this is business.
9. Prepare your week
Juggling a full-time job, a side hustle, a social life, and a household are not always easy. Make sure to sit down once a week (most people use Sunday evening) and schedule all of your tasks and appointments for the upcoming week.
On top of that, check your calendar for the next day every evening to get an overview of what you have to do the following day. This will help you stay organized and not forget anything important. In case you won’t be able to complete a planned task, reschedule it for another day.
10. Make food plans
Sounds too simple? Well, food is a big part of our lives, obviously. Many people spend quite a bit of time thinking of what they can eat for lunch the next day or what they will have for dinner tonight. That also results in additional trips to the supermarket.
Avoid that time waster and plan your meals ahead. This will not only save you time but also money. And it can even be healthier since you avoid spontaneous frozen pizza or trips to fast food restaurants because you don’t know what else to eat.
11. Cut down on daily commutes
Since we are talking about saving time: You can also try to reduce your daily commute times. This will not work for everyone but maybe there is a chance you can start working earlier and leave earlier to avoid traffic jams during peak hours? That would give you some more time for your side hustle in the evening.
Or maybe start later and finish later? That way you could get stuff done in the mornings. Check for your own situation and ask your boss.
12. Extend your workday
You finally leave the office after a long day, come home, and what happens? You end up on your couch, have a snack, and are way too unmotivated to get up again and work on your business.
Avoid that trap by extending your workday. Means: After your normal job, head straight to a coworking space, coffee shop, your home office, or wherever you usually work from, and don’t make that break where you shut down entirely.
Use the motivation and energy you (hopefully) still have from your job and continue with your side hustle.
13. Get up early
I know many of you will hate me for this tip but get up early to get more stuff done in the mornings. Many of the most successful people in the world use this trick, too. They get up about 2 to 3 hours before they head to their normal job to do things like exercise, answering emails, or read the latest industry news.
This also goes for weekends. Trust me, I love sleeping in, too. But if you get up early, you can work without distractions like phone calls or kids because everyone else is still asleep. You will get so much done before it’s even noon!
14. Find the right sleeping hours
Another tip that sounds super simple but is so important.
The old advice that you should sleep for 7 to 8 hours every night definitely doesn’t work for everyone. If I sleep for 7 to 8 hours, I feel miserable the next day. I feel most awake after sleeping about 6 to 6, 5 hours. For the very rare days that I sleep in, I need at least 9 hours. Everything in between doesn’t work for me at all.
Make sure you know when you feel best and stick to those hours. It can have a huge impact on your productivity and ability to concentrate.
15. Stay healthy
Another no-brainer. To manage a full-time job and a side job you need to give your all. And you can only do so if your body and mind are healthy. Sleep is only one of the aspects.
You also need to make sure you eat healthily, drink plenty of water and exercise regularly. Meditation is another great idea. This will help you be more awake during the day and get better sleep. Your productivity will profit a lot from it.
16. Use lost time
Throughout the day we lose so much time just sitting around waiting. Just think about your daily commute to work on the train, traffic jams, or waiting at a doctor’s office.
Start using these times for your side hustle! Either bring your laptop or work on your phone. You will be surprised what you can get done during those waiting times.
Even if you only use the queue in the grocery shop to brainstorm some ideas. The different environment does wonder to your creativity.
17. Bring a notebook
It doesn’t matter if you bring a notebook or use your phone as one. Make sure you always have something with you to write down ideas.
If you are about to start a business, you will have hundreds of things going through your head every day. Things you have to look up, things you have to improve, new business strategies, risks, or opportunities.
If you are like me, you will very likely forget those great ideas after 30 minutes. So make it a habit to write them down straight away!
18. Work smarter
Luckily, there are many tools out there that help us simplify our life.
Or if you want to work as a translator, use software that suggests translations for often-used phrases to save you work.
Whatever your side hustle or business is going to be, do some research and see if there are any apps or tools that will make your life easier.
Who says you need to do it all by yourself? Especially, when you start a new business there will be plenty of things that you don’t know how to do (let alone have the time to figure out). So don’t be afraid to get some help.
For example, if you need a website for your new part-time job but don’t know how to build one, head over to freelance platforms like Upwork or Fiverr and get someone to do it for you. Or maybe you are terrible at writing copy. Why not get a professional copywriter?
If you don’t have a big budget for these types of expenses, you need to evaluate what’s more important to you: The money or the time you spend doing it yourself.
20. Stop being a perfectionist
This is one thing that I have been struggling with for a long time. I always wanted every single detail of my work to be perfect. So it took me forever to finish something.
Take this website for example. I can’t even count how many hours I spent on the font style, size or colors. I’ve changed it over and over again and tested every single version. I wasted so much time on it.
There is still sooo much room for improvement. But you know what? It’s ok. It’s far from being perfect but it works for now. I rather take my time and energy and invest it in something more important.
To finish something today that looks ok is still so much better than to finish something next year when it’s perfect.
21. Kill time wasters
Be honest: How much time do you spend every day scrolling through Instagram pics, your Facebook feed or checking the profile of random people?
By the way, you can track how much time you spend a day on certain apps. It’s quite shocking! Use apps like Rescue Time to do so.
Or how many hours do you watch TV or Netflix a day? Stop it! I haven’t watched TV in about 7 years and I’ don’t have a Netflix account. It’s such a time waster!
Check your daily routine and identify things that you do but that don’t contribute to your overall goal (set up a successful side hustle or online business). Eliminate them!
22. Learn to say no
The struggle of being too nice. I’m terrible at saying no to someone. Even though I have absolutely zero time to do what they ask me for, either a favor or just hanging out on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I still agree. Often that means that I won’t be able to get my planned work done.
I’m not saying you should forget everything around you, ignore your friends, not helping out when someone is in need and only care about yourself.
But do yourself favor and learn to say no to be able to focus on your own business.
23. Get industry information
No matter what kind of side hustle or business you want to start, there is always something new to learn. Make sure you get all the information you need.
When you have a full-time job you might not have all the time in the world to sit down a couple of hours every day, searching the web. Luckily, there are a few ways how you can get industry information along the way.
You could join Facebook groups or follow industry leaders on Instagram. You use those apps every day anyway, so why not looking at something that is actually helpful?
You could also replace your Spotify list with a motivational podcast and learn something new while you exercise or on your way to work. That makes it so easy to stay up-to-date and motivated.
For the best podcasts for entrepreneurs and freelancers, check out the linked post.
24. Connect with like-minded people
If you live in a big city, chances are good there are some Meet Up groups near you with like-minded people. If not, you can still connect online, using Facebook groups or maybe industry forums.
It can help a lot to exchange ideas and problems with people who are on the same path. You can support each other and maybe even create synergies. You never know what happens.
25. Take a break
I know, I have just told you to use every spare minute to work on your business. However, you should always make sure you take breaks, too. It doesn’t help if you suffer from burnout and can’t do anything anymore. As said before, your mental health is important for your success.
So every once in a while, take a day off or even a weekend off to get your head free. It also allows you to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Once you get back to work, you might be able to come up with new ideas or see things from a new viewpoint.
You will be surprised how much energy you can get from that break.
Start a Side Hustle as a Full-Time Employee
As you can see, there are plenty of things you can do to make time for your side hustle or future business. A full-time job is no excuse.
But you are right: It’s not going to be easy. You have to invest a lot of time and discipline. When other people hang out and relax after a full day of work, you will still be sitting in front of your laptop, working for your second career.
However, it is absolutely worth it! Once you start making money with it, you will know that it was the right decision and your hard work finally pays off. So don’t give up and continue working for your dreams!