How to successfully have a side hustle

Most people I know have a side hustle alongside their day job. It usually relates to one of their passions and allows them to have some creative freedom to do whatever they want!

If you don’t know, I work full-time in Marketing at a publishers in Cambridge. Yet, alongside my job I:

  • Run this blog (thanks for reading pal)
  • Freelance writer
  • Influencer
  • I’m working on two book proposals
  • I’m working on a feature film with a charity

Whilst I don’t have kids, I do have a social life (less so in lockdown) so don’t ever work 24/7. I also don’t wake up at 5:30am or not sleep for 8 hours as this girl has gotta have her sleep.

But I do manage to make time to have side hustles. I want to clarify that by successfully having a side hustle I mean that I am able to keep it up alongside everything else in my life.

I’m not referring to shiny success that a side hustle might also bring you = money, connections, experience, titles. That’s additional. Having a side hustle in itself is an achievement and a success – so remember that!

I’m often asked how I do it and I joke and say I’m always tired and I don’t know how! Truth is, I’m beginning to learn the best ways for me to upkeep a side hustle alongside my day to day life and it really does take a lot of time, effort and dedication.

So here’s my top tips for having a side hustle:

Don’t do everything everyday

This took me a long time to learn, but I don’t do everything I want to do everyday. For instance, I don’t work on my book proposal, write my script, blog, wfh, write an article on the same day as it’s simply impossible. I’d combust!

I also find it overwhelming if I have a ridiculously long to do list for one day and as a result I usually achieve even less than if I’d set myself one or two tasks. Accept that you aren’t superwoman and spread the work out over the week.

Make a routine & a plan

Creating a routine and a plan is the essence of successfully doing anything in my opinion. In April I created a plan for my blog content for the month ahead and while I rearranged some of the subject matter, I stuck to the routine religiously. I’m now four months into that plan and I find it really satisfying to look back on what I’ve done as well as plan ahead.

It’s been a great way to plan out my content so I know what I’m doing ahead of time to make sure I have appropriate imagery and that I am consistently creating useful content.

Overall my week tends to look like this:

Monday – Wfh & Create my weekly newsletter

Tuesday – Wfh & write 1-2 blog posts / write 1 blog and 1 article

Wednesday – Wfh & Write/draft my script, write/edit my book proposal

Thursday – Wfh & Write 1-2 blog posts (usually one is an interview)

Friday – Wfh, Write/edit an interview, Write/Edit my book proposal

I usually do some kind of influencer work everyday, whether that’s posting on social media, engaging on other people’s posts, pitching or replying to brands, creating pins etc. I’ve found that with social media you can only grow your accounts if you use them everyday.

Try new methods of working

If you don’t try new things then you won’t know what doesn’t (and more importantly) what does work for you. Some people work best in hour chunks, others in 25-30 minutes.

You need to try out different methods of working and try them at different times of the day to discover the optimum method and time for you to work productively.

Power hours are magic

I plan out my day by hours so each hour has a specific task. Early into working from home, I discovered that this was really great technique for keeping my focus on one task as I usually work on several projects at the same time at work. So I decided to take the same approach with my side hustles too.

This technique has also made more efficient writer, as I can usually write a blog in an hour now. Then I come back later or the next day and edit it again before posting.

Consistency is key

Once you’ve figured out the best method, planned out your week, then you need to stick to it. I would say the key ingredient for a successful side hustle is to be consistent.

I do believe that the more you put into things, the more you generally get out of them. Being consistent means that you show up regardless of how you’re feeling and do the work.

Also it’s ok if you’re consistency changes during different periods of your life. Previously, I blogged once or twice a month, now it’s three times a week.

But I’ve found the more structure you add to a side hustle, the easier it is to be consistent e.g. I know that on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday I upload a blog post, so it has to be ready!

Educate yourself

The other main reason that I can successfully run a side hustle is that I am always doing research and always learning about what I do.

I joined Grow & Glow in March to learn more about growing a personal brand (SEO, socials, email marketing) and I’ve done countless short courses on SEO, email marketing, social media and copywriting. I’ve also just completed a short course on screenwriting and become a qualified script reader.

The more you can learn about your chosen side hustle, or even how to upkeep a side hustle the better.

Prioritise your down time

I struggle to avoid working on the weekend to some capacity at the moment, but I am incorporating more downtime into my week to avoid a burnout.

Another secret of a successful side hustle is to take time away from it. Then you can forget that it exists entirely and be immersed in other things, which usually leads to more creative ideas later!

It’s not healthy to work all the time so don’t aspire to!

What are your top tips for having a successful side hustle?

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  • laurenhollie says:

    This is really helpful thank you for sharing! I’m still working out how to balance my side hustle!

  • As I’ve been recently made redundant and shielding too, I’ve thrown myself into my side hustles but I’m starting to realise I need to create and form some sort of consistent routine. Moreover, as I’m currently recentering my niche and blog as well as working freelance for others I sometimes fall down into the rabbit hole of trying to do everything at once. For me, I’m trying to keep off social media as much and my phone in hopes of finding some sort of routine than prevents me from being distracted and endless scrolling. Great post!

    • Jess Bacon says:

      That’s such a good idea! It helps with productivity to focus on a task without distraction. I hope it all goes well! Sounds very exciting for you!

  • Hannah says:

    I am definitely guilty of spending WAY too much time on social media and ‘wasting’ my time. I think a good way to have a side hustle is to restrict your social media use and how much you consume per day and instead try to use that time on your side hustle. I think a lot of people would be surprised at how productive they can be when they stop mindlessly scrolling through social media! Great post as always. xx

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