Nearly 6.8 million Americans work at least two jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The advice to moonlight or start a side gig may point to a struggling economy, job losses or a way to simply bolster your earning potential and learn new skills.
Regardless of why you want to launch a side business, there are issues to consider. Protecting your day job and ensuring high productivity can lead to burnout without the right processes and tools in place.
Know the Rules at Your Job.
Before you dive into your side business, brush up on the rules of your day job. Not all companies allow moonlighting and could have grounds to dismiss you. Other companies may not have an official policy, but might frown on your divided attention and interests. Be as discreet as possible about your side business and don’t let it affect your day-to-day work. Don’t work on your business on company time or tap their vendors or clients to bolster your own gig. Protect your career by choosing a side business that enhances your skills and interests, but doesn’t directly compete with your job.
Outsource What You Can.
Taking on a side gig can suck away any free time you have left after working your day job. Save yourself time and scale your business faster by outsourcing whatever you can. Hire a virtual assistant on a site like Elance or Odesk to handle communications with calendars, set up appointments and prep your final service or product.
Look at outsourcing your social media management and promotions and the writing for your business proposals. You may even want to consider having someone run your domestic errands or clean your home so you have more time for your gig. While you will be sacrificing some money upfront in the short term, the long-term benefits are more time for your personal life and to grow your budding business.
Use the Right Tools.
Using the right tools can make or break your small business. Automate your systems and processes with project management tools like Asana to assign tasks to your contractors and keep in touch with clients on projects. Buffer and Hootsuite can help with social media management and Hipchat can act as a central platform for group discussions. Tackle accounting and bookkeeping needs with Sage One. With this tool, you can create a customized quote for your clients, make and send invoices, prepare financial statements and generate reports.
Stay on Top of Your Game.
Don’t give your boss a reason to resent your side business. Red flags can alert an employer that you’re disengaged from your job and ready to move on. Do more than the bare minimum, don’t be secretive and cooperate on extra tasks. Remember it’s not your employer’s responsibility to make room for your side job. He or she hired you to do a service and expects your time, attention and productivity.
Building a side business can be a thrilling adventure, but it also can be stressful. Focus on the benefits of keeping your day job, such as paying off debt, saving more money and refining your skills. If your side gig eventually takes off, you could have a glowing reference from your boss and word-of-mouth referrals from co-workers.