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8 Things Every Millennial Should Know About Having Side Gigs

Finances

Side hustlers—you’ve got some strength. We know it’s not easy constantly moving from one job to the next. It takes commitment and dedication. It takes motivation. It takes energy. It often takes compartmentalization. But we believe in you and want you to thrive in whatever you are doing! Whether you have a side hustle to supplement your income or simply because you get bored easily and want to feed your passions—we have 8 tips to successfully living the side hustle life.

1. Set Clear Goals  

When it comes to side hustles—you have to know the why behind what you are doing. If you lose track of the why, you will lose motivation and get burned out. Burn-out in a side hustle can lead to failure in your day job. Ask yourself these questions: Am I doing this to satisfy my passions? Do I need the income to eliminate debt? Did I start this side gig for myself or to help others? Once you have clearly defined the why behind what you are doing you can set goals for what you hope to accomplish. A clear set of identifiable, written-out goals will help you succeed in balancing your job, side hustle, and life in general.

2. Know your priorities

When you start a side hustle you have to remember there is an emphasis on the word side. A side hustle implies that you have another job. In order to be successful in your side hustle you have to knock your full-time job out of the park. Show up, work hard, don’t get distracted by your side hustle while on the clock at your full-time job. Not only is knowing how to prioritize an important skill in balancing your job and side hustle, but it’s an important life skill to have. Being able to identify the most important or time-sensitive task and accomplish that before moving on to the next task is a key ingredient to your success in this world.

3. Don’t Let Your Supplemental Income Mess Up Your Taxes

If you aren’t careful, you can get yourself into trouble with the income you acquire from your side hustle. Like any business, income has to be reported. When you operate your own side hustle, you have to keep a record of your expenses and revenue. Save your receipts, track what you’re spending and where it is going. Track any income you receive. Keep a file of these items along with any bank statements, business records, tax forms, and mileage. Experts recommend putting 20-35% of your income in a savings account so when tax season rolls around you’re not scrambling to pay any taxes you might face.

4. Find a Mentor

In life, there is always someone that has gone before you and walked in your shoes. Within your network of people, ask for connections to people who are experts at what you are trying to accomplish. Finding a mentor could be one of your best decisions. Commit to meeting with them regularly, whether that’s once a week, once a month, or once a quarter—find what works for you. Come with questions, come with receptive ears, come with an eagerness to learn. When it comes to taxes, it may be helpful to find a mentor who is well-versed in this realm. Also remember, you can have more than one mentor and the structure can look different depending on the relationship you have with that mentor.

5. Your Time is Precious – Don’t Waste It

Time is gold. Everyone these days is trying to maximize their time. When it comes to side gigs, don’t let them be your downfall. Know the value of your time and treat it with respect. Don’t commit to things that are a waste of time. Say yes to valuable opportunities. The art of tactfully saying no has been lost—it’s okay to say no. We don’t have to say yes to every opportunity the world throws at us. If you have people assisting you, learn how to delegate. It’s important at times to do the simple steps, but there comes a time when delegating is the better choice. Similar to knowing your priorities, know when you should delegate a task and when you can ask someone to help you.

6. Be Honest with Your Full-Time Boss

If your side hustle is going to interfere with your full-time job in any way, shape or form, you need to be upfront with your boss. Honesty and clarity are key to maintaining a good working relationship. Knowing your priorities and goals is critical as you walk into conversations with your full-time boss to discuss how your side hustle will impact your job. Some employers encourage side hustles and want you to utilize your skills outside of your job. This relationship with your boss can help resolve some of the stress of balancing a full-time job and side hustle. Also if your boss responds well, don't forget that. Remember how they support you and let that shape you - one day you will be somebody's boss too.

7. Know How to Market Yourself

When it comes to side hustles, you often are your own boss and your own advocate. Know how to market yourself. Be honest, don’t oversell yourself or your capacity to get a job done, but know your skills and priorities and be your own biggest cheerleader. Understanding your goals and priorities, as well as your passions is critical here. In order to sell yourself you have to know what you are selling. Be confident, believe in yourself, and give yourself grace when you don’t make the deal. Don’t give up. It takes time to get in a groove. Build connections. Be engaging and respectful. Look people in the eyes. Use people’s names. Smile. Give a firm handshake. Be concise—in the same way your time is valuable, your peer’s time is also valuable, so communicate as eloquently and persuasively as possible.

8. Work-Life Balance is Critical

Like we’ve discussed, your side hustle may be necessary, or it may be to fulfill a passion. Regardless of the reason, it is critical to maintain a healthy work life balance. If you don’t take time for yourself, you will run yourself dry. Set healthy boundaries when it comes to your side hustle. Life is short—don’t waste it by putting your head down and working all hours of the day. Listen to your body, give yourself breaks. Commit to relationships with people. This is where healthy compartmentalization comes into play. Work hard when you’re at work—do it well the first time. When you complete your work, take a breath and don’t spend your time thinking about or discussing work. Enjoy your life while you’re working. Enjoy your life outside of work. Find joy in the details of both.

Side hustles can be a huge lift when it comes to finances, they can also become overwhelming and all-consuming if you don’t set yourself up for success. We hope that these eight tips set you up to thrive in your endeavors. Remember to not lose sight of the why and to find joy in the details!

Good luck and go get ‘em!

Written by:
Madeline Adams

Mattie was born and raised in Austin, Texas and is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. She is an executive assistant and operations manager at The Source. She finds joy in helping women and youth pursue their passions to live a healthy lifestyle. In her free time, Mattie is probably spending time with friends, coaching cheer at the high school she graduated from, taking photos, or playing outside. 

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