Your side hustle could be killing your day job.


13th September, 2019

Why your side hustle is killing your day job

Having an additional stream of income outside nine-to-five job has become a popular concept among people in the entrepreneurial workforce. But if you’re not careful, your extra income can quickly turn from side hustle into a side hassle. Here’s why.

Traditional nine-to-five jobs can be really great. Between the coffee and lunch breaks, annual and sick leave, superannuation payments and performance bonuses, these jobs keep many workers happy.

But for some people, a full-time job just isn’t enough.

It’s becoming increasingly common for people who work full-time jobs to be nurturing a second, smaller job on the side. Entrepreneurs have coined this concept with the term ‘side hustle’.

Key takeaways:

  • A side hustle is a business, and it’s not for everybody
  • To do things right, you need to manage your time
  • Set clear, manageable goals before biting off more than you can chew

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Side hustles aren’t for everyone

While side hustles might have the power to fill emotional or financial gaps in people’s lives, they also have the ability to create more gaps and push people over the edge and into an imbalanced lifestyle.

READ: Key differences between a sole trader and a company

When this happens, not only can it result in the side hustle becoming unsuccessful but can start eating away at the stability of the person’s nine-to-five job as well, causing a vicious cycle of stress and counter-productivity.

Before we get into why your side hustle might be killing your day job, it’s important to set the record straight. Side hustles aren’t for everyone.

Not everyone is cut out to maintain a side hustle while holding down a full-time job.

Such a lifestyle requires tremendous (and almost superhuman) amounts of discipline, stamina and perseverance. These qualities can’t be expected from everyone, and even those who do possess them, need to work exceptionally hard to keep them in check.

If you’re convinced that you have what it takes to manage a side hustle, but it just isn’t working for you in practice — here are three reasons why this might be the case.

1. You’re not managing your time well enough

When someone decides to take on a side hustle, they need to understand that something else in their life will need to give.

People who commit to running a venture outside of their day job and don’t have exemplary time management skills, can very quickly start losing out on all fronts.

They inevitably begin to run out of time to deliver on their side hustle commitments, leading them to dip into their day job time, and subsequently begin underperforming there too.

Entire books have been written about the art of time management and there aren’t any quick fixes for mastering it.

That said, I’ve always found that a great way to effectively utilise and manage time is through setting aside time-blocks in your diary to complete tasks, rather than putting the tasks on a ‘to-do list’.

This method helps the person be present in the moment and stay focused on the task at hand. If you manage to stay true to your diary commitments and utilise the time that you set aside for yourself to work on your side hustle, you’ll find that you can be far more productive, in shorter spaces of time.

2. You’re not enjoying what you’re doing

After all the core responsibilities (family, health, work, and so on) are completed and there is still some time to spare, that time needs to be treated as sacred.

Whatever someone decides to do in their own time can be done at their own discretion, but if that sacred time is spent on things that make the person unhappy, everything else will inevitably suffer.

READ: Hunger, hustle and the keys to success

If you think you’re the type of person who is cut out to keep a side hustle going but can’t seem to keep everything else spinning, it probably means that you’re not happy with how your spare time is being spent.

More often than not, side hustles aren’t passion projects. It’s the extra income that drives the person to keep it going, and the work itself isn’t particularly fulfilling. But just because it isn’t filled with passion, doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyable.

The trick is to run your side hustle in a way that you feel good and comfortable.

Things like working from a place that you enjoy being in, playing good music and wearing comfortable clothing are ways to bring a sense of enjoyment into your side hustle.

3. You’re burning yourself out

No one is immune from burnout.

They say that time is elastic. But, when stretched too thin, even the strongest elastic can break.

Eventually, if you’re overdoing it, burnout will seep its way into your life and throw everything right off track, including your day job, family life, your health and general wellbeing.

It doesn’t matter how much discipline or perseverance you have, pushing the limits and spreading yourself too thin can lead to serious burnout.

Every single person has a maximum capacity, and the more you push the limits of that capacity, the quicker your side hustle can reach the point of overkill.

Having extra income and being extremely busy can certainly have its upsides. But, if it means that it’ll cause you to eventually lose ambition, drive, passion and focus in all areas of life, it probably isn’t worth it.

Work nine-to-five, run a side hustle, be there for your family and look after your physical health, but if you want to be in for the long haul and avoid burnout, make sure to pace yourself.