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How To Excel in Your Side Hustle When You Have a Full-Time Job

Updated: Jul 26, 2019

by Khaleila Hisham. |


I know that some of us who have a 9-5 job are itching to start their own side hustle or just want to find other means to earn an extra income. It will get tough but that's when you know you're doing something right. Because you're no longer in your comfort zone and you're challenging yourself.


Here are some simple ways that could help you excel not only in your full-time job but also your side hustle:


1. Be organised

When you leave the doors of Job #1, you should leave most of it behind. So, when you enter Job #2, it’s like as if that is your full-time job.


This confidence is simply from knowing that everything in your #Job 1 is settled, or will be, tomorrow.



So, let’s get organised! Get your to-do list at Job #1 in order.

Start by writing down the things you need to get done and how. For example, if you work as a full-time writer at work, then, set deadlines for each task.

It could start out looking pretty rough like this:

  1. Job 1: Write This Article by Friday:

  • Research

  • First Draft

  • Edit

  • Take Pictures

  • Submit

2. Job 2: Score a meeting with a potential partner

  • Complete presentation deck

  • Send emails to potential partner

  • Schedule for meeting with client

To keep yourself from being overwhelmed, list the things you need to do for each day so that they are more manageable. For example:

Once it’s on paper or on your phone, the idea is to let go most of your worries and switch to Mode: Job #2. You no longer have to worry about forgetting anything since you have it penned down. You want to switch the anxious mindset of “Oh, I’ve got a million things to do and no time!” to a more organised and calm mindset. You don’t want to keep your worries from Job #1 from bringing you down when you’re at Job #2. It’s unnecessary stress for you be to be lugging around because you can’t tackle the problem anyway while you’re at Job #2.


Once you’ve arrived at Job #2 with a clear mind, you must be asking yourself, “Where do I begin?” Oh that’s right. You’ve got that manageable to-do list just for Job #2 to refer to! Smash that out and at the end of the day, write a new one for tomorrow if anything new crops up, so when you get home, you can let it all go for the fullest rest at home.



2. Rest Creatively, Don't Burn Out!

Sometimes, at work, you spend a lot of adrenaline on an important presentation, or an unexpectedly stressful day. If you find yourself suddenly exhausted after a heated meeting,

go get some rest like taking a short walk outside your office or grab a cup of coffee. It does not only have to require actual sleep.



I had a colleague who would take half an hour of his lunch break to simply sit down with his eyes closed. The trick, he said, is to slow your mind down. This helps your brain take a breather from the marathon, which also physically relaxes you. It will feel like you had a 3 hour nap! Meditate or listen to a song that calms your nerves.


The aim is to cut the negative energy by lunchtime, regroup for a smoother rest of the day at Job #1. That particularly triggering meeting is over, there’s no need to keep it alive in yourself all day.


You’d want to find the opportunity to stay zen as much as possible so that at the end of the day it doesn’t feel like you’re out of fuel. I know, it’s easier said than done but your mind is really powerful. You can trick your body into feeling and doing anything as long as you can control your mind.


If you don’t have the luxury of some alone time at lunch, then consider doing it during your commute to Job #2, if you're not driving (or both!).



3. Keep a positive mindset

Have you noticed that some days, you’re in a good mood and things just flow your way? Because when it rains, it pours. The little things don’t bother you as much and people seem to be nicer.


So what exactly is the exercise here? Recovering from a bad mood.


If you find yourself in a traffic jam, don’t jump into a bad mood and stress about being late. There’s nothing you can do about the traffic so go on and take advantage of this time to briefly plan your schedule be it for #Job 2 or #Job 1 or sing along to your favourite karaoke songs. The more you practise recovering into a good mood, the easier it gets.


People also prefer being around you when you are in a good mood. This makes the job so much easier to walk into whether it’s your first or second job. Your boss is also going to respect you more if you're in a good mood.


I wish I could simply give you a formula that will work every time but it all depends on the people, the work and the situation. If I just got out of a heated argument with someone, my routine is to get coffee at another building for some fresh air. A cheeky cake. And when I return, I would apologise for losing my temper. For some reason, it releases the tension in my body and after that I simply recover even if the colleague still resists. It took me many situations and many colleagues to really find a formula for myself though. Find out what works for you, it’ll be worth it!


Being in a good mood at Job #2 could also make for an easier work day or even better! When I was working as a barista, I had a colleague who was always in a good mood. People loved him! And when I say people, I don’t just mean the bosses but the customers too! A returning customer who loved his energy had introduced him to a better paying job which he otherwise would never have been exposed to.


Remember, only people help people. If they like being around you they are more likely to help you! Which brings me to my next point:



4. Be willing to accept help

Work Smart, Not Hard, goes the saying. Successful people always talk about how much hard work was involved in their journey to success but a lot of us mistake hard work for a-lot-of-work. I’ve made that mistake for sure, saying yes to anything thrown at me and when offered help, I stick to the script, “Don’t worry, I’m fine”. Even when I knew, I could have really used the help.



At Job #1,

Accept help if a colleague offers. He/she wouldn’t have offered it if they didn't intend to. It absolutely does not mean you’re weak. If anything, it’ll strengthen your relationship with your colleagues, provided you’re returning the favour, even if it’s a cup of coffee or bubble tea.


Don’t downplay the amount of work you have. You may have heard the saying “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it”. If it seems like you’re getting most of the load compared to another colleague, it’s because you’re doing it well and your boss trusts you. But once it’s all getting too much, and you feel the stress creeping in, be honest to your boss about your priorities. He/she is in a position to delegate.


At Job #2,

Whether it’s your own business you’d like to progress or just a second job, help is your best friend.


If it’s your own business, free brotherly labour is great. But also think long term. If someone is offering their knowledge on Excel or how to time all social media posts, this is also help, take some notes! Wisdom is precious. You don’t necessarily have to apply it if you don’t agree with it but if it works, it will definitely be helpful to you in the long run.


If it’s just another job, consider what sort of help is being offered. In the words of Marie Kondo, “Does it spark joy?”. You might be tempted to accept help that simply encourages you to be lazy. This is not joy, I’m afraid. For example, back to my barista days, I would get so tired of dealing with customers but one day, my boss once asked me if I wanted to help her sort some things out on the computer, and she could cover me (I’m sure she too was sick of the computer). This literally made me jump for joy. What else makes me jump for joy? When some offers to buy me dinner from that restaurant that’s too far away. I can keep going but I’m sure you get the gist of it.


Now go kick ass!


You may find out more about Khaleila from her Instagram too.

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