The following is a guest post by Sunil from .
Working part time on the side is becoming an increasing trend in today’s economy. Without getting into the reasons behind the “why”, I will focus on the “how” part of striking a balance between work, life and your side business or business-es.
If you are already in this situation, you know how difficult it can be to juggle the multiple responsibilities and obligations on your plate. If you are contemplating getting into this situation, I hope this post provides some value in preparing you to handle what’s to come.
Your personal situation and circumstances mostly dictate how much free time you have for a side gig. For example, a single individual likely has more free time compared to someone who is married with children. A senior manager in a public accounting firm likely is busier and spending more hours working than a new associate. Similarly, where you stand in life compared to your neighbor will dictate how much capacity you have to delve into extra-curricular activities.
Assuming that you have the time, how do you maintain a healthy balance given the existing priorities that are constantly competing for your limited time? I hope the following can help:
- Passion in your side gig – it is often said that having passion in what you do is the single most critical component of success. Passion however is also a critical component of satisfaction and integration between your personal life and your side business. So while your side gig has to make sense from a financial perspective, pick a subject you are interested in so work doesn’t feel like work.
- Pick a side gig to revolve around your life – I’ve said it repeatedly, but always worth reiterating that the American culture has this the other way around. In America, we chase jobs and opportunities. In many other countries, people choose where they will be happiest, typically near family and friends, and then build a business, big or small, around where they are. Starting a side gig gives you the opportunity to shape it exactly the way you want it on your own terms. Make sure the business revolves around your life, not the other way around.
- Give your all at work – you might be tempted to work on your side gig at work, after all you are likely more passionate about it than your job. But do not make this mistake. There are significant risks involved and you don’t want to lose your steady pay check, especially if it’s a job you like or don’t mind. Sophisticated information technology tools can detect all kinds of activity on your work computer and network. Besides, it’s just the right thing to do. Only work on your side gig during non-work hours.
- Set clear priorities and establish boundaries around them – pre determine the number of hours and specific times that you will be working on your business and stick to this commitment. It is easy to neglect your health and family when you catch the entrepreneurial bug. Be clear on your priorities and dedicate time to each. Because it is your side business, you don’t have to grow it overnight. Take your time and enjoy the journey, and share it with ones nearest and dearest to you.
- Set financial limits – similar to neglecting other priorities in life, it is easy to get carried away with spending to grow your side gig. Pre determine what your spending limit is, and share it with your significant other or anyone else who has a vested interest in your finances. Keep an eye on your spend and stay within the limit.
- Develop a support system – things may get overwhelming at some point, and even if they don’t, it’s good to have a go to sounding board to voice your ideas, opinions, troubles and frustrations. A strong support system can help you get through challenging times, even if it is just in form of an independent third party advice or opinion.
These tips are not a comprehensive list by any means by which you can achieve better balance in life. However, from personal experience, these tips have helped me maintain a good balance between never ending priorities and obligations that seem to stretch me in different directions on an ongoing basis.
You might be nodding your head right now if you can relate to this. But take comfort in the fact that with the appropriate discipline, it is possible to have a wonderful career, a successful business on the side, and a great life too with loving and caring family and friends around you.