A Bit on the Side
No, not what you’re thinking, I’m talking about the Side Gig, Side Hustle, Moonlighting, Homers, whatever you want to call it, it can be a very good idea.
Initially I built up my accounts practice on the side of my day job before leaving that job to grow my business full time.
More and more people are moonlighting on the side of their day job – so why is this such a good idea?
Test the waters
If you eventually want your side job to become your full time job, growing it on the side gives you time to test the waters, experiment and learn. It lets you try out different strategies to see what works and allows you to fail, all whilst keeping the financial security of your day job.
Not having to rely on your side gig for income allows you to focus on the long term success rather than short term income.
You’ll no doubt make some money from your side gig to compliment your full time income. Whether you use this extra income to grow the business, save or dig yourself out of debt is up to you but the extra cash will always be nice.
Cash lets you fund your own start up or take a pay cut when you eventually want/need to ditch the full time job and make your side job the full timer.
Money can make you feel that you have options, that you have some backup, that you can afford to fail. In other words it makes you feel safe, and if you feel safe you are more likely to take the small risks necessary to start up.
What to do
You need to establish what your side gig is going to be – what are you good at, what do you know how to do, what would you like to do, what would others pay you to do.
Once you’ve decided what you are going to do you need to work out how you are going to get clients/customers. How are you going to get the word out about what you are doing and what platforms are you going to use to do this.
Keeping it going
Office management – even if your side job is something low tech such as dog walking, don’t think you don’t need to get involved in office management.
A side gig doesn’t have to be about money. It can be for fun, to gain experience or self education. However, if money is the main objective you need to take it seriously. Dealing with administrative tasks, paperwork, income, expenses, taxes and marketing all need to be done. If you are making money you have a legal obligation to declare this for tax which requires some record keeping.
If you’re working 9–5 and then moonlighting on the side, you are going to be busy. You must stay on top of the admin and if you are making money you need to stay on top of the finances. Keep track of all income, expenses, bank and paypal accounts. You may need to develop systems for tracking this, customer/client relationship management and other items relevant to your line of work. These systems can be anything from notebook scribbles or spreadsheets to specialised software. The more you have going on, the more you need to attend to these back office tasks.
Word of warning
If your side gig is something that could tread on the toes of your full time employers business, you should get their permission first as there may be clauses in your employment contract to stop employees setting up in competition against them or stealing their clients.
Photo Credit: Splitshire.com