How to Balance a Freelance Side Hustle With Your Full-Time Job

Looking to venture into running a business of your own? Starting a freelance side hustle alongside your full-time job is a great place to start.

There are many reasons to start a side hustle while maintaining your 9-5. Maybe you want extra income. Maybe you want to hone in on your passion. Or, maybe you just want to try out freelancing on the side before taking the leap into full-time entrepreneurship. 

No matter your reason, there are several steps you need to take in order to maintain your 9-5 while growing your freelance business.

Here’s how to successfully balance a freelance side hustle with your full-time job.

Set boundaries

Let’s be real: Balancing a side hustle with your full-time job is no easy feat. You’re essentially choosing to take on additional work outside of your 9-5, which means you’re most likely sacrificing something else from your day-to-day routine. Working this much can potentially lead to burnout if you don’t have systems or, more importantly, boundaries in place. In order for your freelance side hustle to succeed, you need to set boundaries around your workload, time, and communication.

First, it’s important to be realistic about how much freelance work you can take on outside of the responsibilities of your full-time job. Once you know what your desired workload is, you can limit the number of projects or new clients you can work with each month or quarter.

Next, be mindful of your time. Your full-time job should remain your priority during the hours of 9-5 until you’re ready to take your side hustle full-time. This means you need to work around those hours to fit in time to work on your side hustle. Depending on how you work best, this could look like waking up earlier to squeeze in client work before you clock in or it could look like working on freelance projects after dinner instead of catching up on shows.

Finally, when it comes to setting boundaries, communication is key. Let your clients know that you have a 9-5. If they want to contact you or set up a meeting, let them know what your availability is and how and when they can expect to hear back from you.

Create systems

Running a freelance side hustle means running a business. And to successfully run a business alongside your full-time job, there need to be clear and reliable systems in place that help you stay organized, efficient, and on track to meet your goals. 

Use tools that help you plan your day, manage project and client details, and keep the administrative side of your freelance business running seamlessly. 

When you’re balancing a side hustle with your full-time job, time is money — and you don’t have time to waste creating proposals from scratch or putting together individual invoices at the end of the month. But with an all-in-one tool like Wethos, you can close business faster by creating scope of work templates for your projects and turning them into invoices when the project is complete.

Lean into your skills and interests

While you may love your 9-5, there are bound to be some aspects of the job that you could live without. When it comes to your side hustle, leave those dreaded tasks for your 9-5 and focus instead on your favorite skills and interests. 

If you’re a full-time creative director for a major company, for example, maybe you love the creative strategy part of your job but wish you didn’t have to deal with all of the bureaucracy that comes with big business. You could choose to offer creative strategy and campaign direction to small businesses and entrepreneurs as your side hustle.

Here are a few other freelance project ideas to fuel your side hustle:

The best part about your side hustle is that it’s all yours — what you do, how you do it, and who you do it for is entirely up to you. Lean into what you love most and build your business around those values.

Ready to start your side hustle?