The Side Hustle

The economy is finally taking a turn for the better. Still, having multiple streams of income is a smart route to financial stability. Many people turn to entrepreneurship to help supplement their income, but before launching that side hustle ask yourself these questions:

What does your boss think about employee side gigs?

Perhaps the most important step before starting your own business while still holding down your full-time job is to understand where your company and your boss stands on employee side gigs. Some companies have formal policies outlining their position. Some companies have less formal, unwritten rules. Keep in mind: just because a co-worker has successfully launched a side hustle does not mean your boss is okay with it.

Can you do both well?

No boss is going to support your entrepreneurial dreams over getting the job done that you’ve been hired to do. And no patron of your new business is going to accept subpar service or products just because you have a day job. You owe it to yourself and your professional reputation to assess your ability to excel at both – at the same time. Figure out the amount of time, money, and additional support (at home, at work, and on the side) you need to conquer both.

What resources can you – and only you – provide?

This one is simple. Make sure you’re able to invest in the things necessary to run your business. Think about technology (devices, wifi, phone service, email, etc), transportation, office supplies, shipping, printing, copies, faxes, scans, and production materials. You may have access to all of these at your full-time job, but using them for your side gig may land you in hot water. Keeping your resources separate also helps prevent embarrassing and costly mishaps like leaving a fax for your business on your day job’s fax machine or sending an email regarding your business to someone at your full-time job by mistake.

Are there any conflicts of interest?

Before tapping your employer’s client base or your co-workers to support your business, consider any paperwork you may have signed upon being hired by your employer – there may be legal penalties for such actions. In some cases, even if you leave your day job, you may have to wait a designated period of time before providing your talent to another firm – even if it’s your own.

Finally, ask yourself the tough questions: Why are you launching a business? Why are you keeping your day job? Do you ever see yourself leaving and committing 100% to your side hustle? Do you want to be an entrepreneur or just bring in some extra income? Launching a business can be costly – in more ways than one – to you and your loved ones. It can also be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. So get real honest and clear about your goals and what success looks like to you. Then do the math, make a timeline, and set your plan into action.