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7 steps to make your side hustle more successful

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Stop negating your larger achievements as flukes or downplaying them to others to make them feel better about your success. 

If you’ve attempted doing anything in addition to your “day” job you know it always feels like you’re being pulled in a million different directions and there aren’t enough hours in a day.

So, you’ve taken on side projects building websites or baking more cupcakes evenings/weekends, or paid say Sh20,000 to become part of the next big multi-level marketing business that you want to grow to bring in more income to make it worth the time and energy you’ve been pouring into it.

Or maybe you’re nearing retirement and reality has set in that you don’t have nearly as much as you thought you did to retire comfortably.  Whatever your reason, you’ve decided you’re going to do it, the question becomes, how do you do “IT” and not lose your mind while still taking care of everything else on your plate?

Here are few tips to help you stay financially, mentally and emotionally healthy while trying to start and grow a side hustle:

Get Clear

Congratulations you’ve jumped and your hustle is in full effect!  Soooooo, where do you want to go with your business?  How much money are you looking to make a month?  A year?  How will you know you’re side hustle is successful?  If some or all of these questions bring a bewildered look to your face then it’s time to stop, think for a moment and figure out the answers to these very basic business questions.

What is the mission of your business?  What goals do you want to achieve from doing your business?  What objectives will you set to help you achieve your goals and drive your mission?  Determine what your prize will be and don’t get so entrenched into doing your side hustle before you make clear what you want to gain from doing it.  Taking time to plan in the beginning can dissolve angst and help you map out a clear course of action for the future of your side hustle.

Create a Schedule and Delegate

Working full time, you already have a lot on your plate.  Couple that with family and/or pet obligations and things can quickly feel out of control.   Melody Wilding of Inc.com suggests you look for ways to limit decision fatigue by automating parts of your life. What that looks like will depend on your ability to hand over the reins in some areas of your life to gain COMPLETE control of your life.

In other words, it’s time to take your hands OFF the wheel.  Your need to tend to every facet of your life could be and most likely is the very thing holding you back from true success.  If you’ve never heard it before, creating systems to automate as much of your life and business is a must to be successful and scale up.

READ ALSO: Three strategic decisions that can rescue a failing business

You could create a set of go-to clothing items that you buy multiples of so you don’t have to worry about making a decision on what to wear every day.  I know this will be a tough one for you fashionistas but truly consider pairing down your wardrobe and not trying to stay on trend.  Steve Jobs did it with his signature black turtleneck, Levi’s and NB gym shoes.

Former president Obama does it, picking only between solid Navy or charcoal suits on those occasions he needs one.  You could outsource laundry and dry cleaning duties or get a subscription for meal prep kits to take the angst out of meal planning. Most city centers offer several options for grocery delivery service and with Google and Alexa putting lists together and ordering online has never been easier.

Now that you’ve freed up precious time by automating key areas of your life, build time for your side hustle into your schedule, put it on the calendar and commit yourself to doing only what’s on the schedule.  If that means going to bed later or waking up a few hours earlier for a month or reading emails after the kids go to bed do it.  Find what compliments your flow best and determine when you’re most productive to create a schedule that works best for you.

Boundaries, Boundaries, Boundaries

While making the decision to take on something on the side may be half the battle, making the time to build the side hustle when others are used to having your time however may prove more difficult to execute.  When creating the space to get your side hustle off the ground it’s important to let those closest to you know what you’re doing and what your interaction with them will look like as you build. You’ve got to develop the communication skills necessary to voice what you need, when you need it.

Family and friends can’t read your mind and let’s face it, most people think in terms of what they need from you so don’t be afraid to claim your time so there won’t be a need to reclaim it later and don’t be afraid to say no.

Open communication is key and it may help ease tensions when you’ve made expectations and needs clear.

If you’re going to be working from home, boundaries become all the more significant. Melody makes it clear to “be sure to implement rules on when it’s OK or not OK to interrupt you”. If you have the room, carve out a designated workspace that’ll allow you to fully focus on your side hustle. Commit to stop working at a certain hour to transition to downtime.

Cool It with the Comparisons

You may have taken on your side hustle because you felt you weren’t where you thought you would be financially for your age compared to what you perceive others around you are doing.  While clearly this has been a driver to move you to action, be aware that consistently doing this could be dangerous for your mental health.  If the deep comparisons are constant and what others around are doing is keeping you checking Instagram or Facebook, stop it!  Maybe you’ve realized you want more for your life and feel you’re starting later than everyone else, well guess what?  You’re doing something about it!

Let that be the lesson and know that where you are is exactly where you’re supposed to be which is doing something different for yourself to get to a different place by starting and growing your side hustle.  Eliminate comparing yourself to others who are on a very different journey than you.  Don’t get caught up in the cycle of compare-and-despair, just NO.  Don’t go down that rabbit hole.

SEE ALSO: NTV’s news anchor finds a very peculiar side-hustle

Limit your social media consumption and remember people only show what they want you to see and that’s usually through a filtered lens.  Let go of checking every ones page to see what they’re doing, instead put the blinders on, jump into some industry specific learning and focus on pursuing client work, passion projects, networking events, and conferences that are aligned with your values, personal and business goals.

Plan for Self-Care

Side hustle burnout is a real, especially if you’re skipping sleep, exercise, and sacrificing self-care to get your venture off the ground. In fact, nearly three-quarters of business owners have concerns about their mental health. Almost half have struggled with depression or anxiety.

Your well-being is your best business asset. Just as you schedule time for work, restorative activities related to your physical, emotional and mental health need to be on your calendar as well.  Maybe you make the commitment to a meditative/prayer practice upon rising in the morning.  If getting those 10,000 steps in every day is important add it to your calendar and mark the time as busy so nothing else can be scheduled.  You’ve got to take moments to unpack your stuff so you can add more to the bag to build the side hustle you want the way you want.

Celebrate the Small Stuff

No one undertakes anything on their own to fail and everyone seeks that out of the park grand slam winning run that brings everyone home.  The reality is those are few and far in between when first starting so learn to take the time to celebrate the base hits while still aiming for achieving the home runs.  Break down those large dreamy goals into baby goal buckets that are reasonable, easily measured and attainable, this can be achieved when setting your objectives.

Did you make your quota of making 25 cold calls every morning?  Did you attend those three industry specific networking events the last two weeks?  Have you met your schedule goal of writing for your blog an hour every day?  Well CONGRATULATIONS, you’re winning!  Each objective you successfully complete brings you closer to success.  These are measurable items that can be tracked over time to potentially show growth or progress in your business.

READ ALSO: Kenya’s most successful hustler buys a city hotel

Why is this important?  On those days and there will be days where you feel you and your business are going absolutely nowhere and you’re going to want to give up, you’ll have something tangible to look at to remind yourself of the progress you’ve made and effectively kill the doubt monster that inevitably creeps in trying to kill your dream.  When you pull out your metrics, see your movement and slay that beast, celebrate it!

Own Your Achievements

Before you can celebrate your small and large victories you first must allow yourself to own them fully and eventually share those achievements with others.  Many times business owners, especially those with a side hustle, won’t openly admit or measure the number of hours they’ve committed to honing their craft and building their business.

Sometimes because the larger successes can feel like an eternity to achieve and owners quietly go about building their businesses without bringing much attention to themselves with family and friends until they’ve had some form of communicable success they don’t get the recognition or support they need or desire to fuel the rest of their journey.  Don’t forget what celebrating the small stuff is all about, it’s about you showing YOU that you’re actually doing it, you’re accomplishing your dreams.

READ: The most popular side-hustle among Kenyan youth

You’re working hard to build so it’s time to change the outward and inner talk.  Small positive steps forward is winning and when those steps add up you see the big wins.  Stop negating your larger achievements as flukes or downplaying them to others to make them feel better about your success.  You had the vision, you’re taking action by putting in the work, own what you’re achieving.  You’re doing that thing!

Want to give up the feeling of being overwhelmed, see a clear road to achieving your goals and drive your side hustle to success?  Trying some of these suggestions could free up the time and brain power you’ve been craving to focus more on building your business and serve as the building blocks to a successful side hustle and life. (Source: Black Entrepreneur )

Are there other things you’ve learned as you’ve started building your side hustle?  Have you burned out while trying to build your side hustle?  What things have worked for you as you’ve been building your side hustle? Scroll down to leave a comment.


Business Today is the leading independent online business website in Kenya. Started in 2012 by a veteran business journalist, it has a huge following both in Kenya and abroad. It covers various business and related issues. Email editor at: [email protected]

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