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How to Work a Side Hustle Without Working 24/7

January 11, 2023


Having some extra cash coming in is always a good thing. And in many cases, picking up a side hustle is a great way to make extra money. 

The problem is, working a standard job and a side hustle can quickly spiral into taking up all of your time. Nobody wants to feel like they’re working 24/7… so how do you get ahead with a side hustle, without compromising your work/life balance? 

Side Hustle Basics

A side hustle is an income-producing activity, small business, or second job that is usually performed in addition to a primary job. Examples include driving for Lyft, walking dogs for Rover, shopping for Instacart, or freelance writing for Fiverr. 

Side hustles are usually performed on a casual or contract basis. This means that they’re not typically a “job” in the traditional sense — they’re more likely to be treated as a business activity. This means that they are often more flexible, and the side hustler has more autonomy to set their hours, find customers, and even set their own prices or wages. Many side hustles offer flexible hours, which can make them easier to fit into a busy schedule.

Types of Side Hustles 

Gig economy apps

  • Rideshare driving for Uber or Lyft
  • Delivering for Doordash or UberEats
  • Shopping for Instacart

Freelance/contract work

  • Freelance writing or graphic design
  • Contract consulting
  • Freelance social media marketing

Odd jobs/local gigs

  • Lawn care
  • Dog walking
  • Handyman work

Small businesses

  • Selling on eBay or Amazon
  • Local service-based businesses (auto detailing, pet sitting, etc.)
  • Operating a franchise business

How to Find Work/Life Balance with a Side Hustle

Side hustles are more accessible than ever before. In just a few minutes, you can download an app and start earning money. While it’s great to have extra income, it can also lead to a pressured feeling to always be working — particularly if you’re struggling financially. Fortunately, with a few healthy shifts in mindset, you can find work/life balance with a side hustle. 

Involve Your Passions

If you can find a side hustle that involves your interests and passions, it won’t feel as much like work. For instance, maybe you absolutely love animals. In this case, pet sitting or dog walking might be a win-win for your heart and your wallet. 

With that said, some people find that trying to make money off their hobbies takes the joy out of them. It’s important to test things out and see how they go. For instance, maybe you love crafting. You could start an Etsy shop and start selling your crafts for a month or two. Then, gauge your response. Do you still genuinely enjoy your hobby, or does it feel more like a chore or a second job? 

Find Flexible Opportunities

Some weeks are just crazy busy. And some nights, the last thing you want to do after a long day of work is to feel forced into working on your side gig.

For this reason, flexible opportunities are a great option. Gig economy apps are hugely helpful in this regard, as many allow you to simply tell the app when you’re ready to work.

For instance, driving for a ridesharing company is ultra flexible. You can simply mark in the app that you’re ready to accept rides, and the app will start matching you with riders right away. You don’t have to sign up for a schedule ahead of time or coordinate anything with clients. 

Pursue Passive Income Opportunities

Passive income is income that doesn’t require much (or any) direct labor in order to earn. Examples include money you earn from interest in your bank account or profit from investments. 

For instance, investing in the stock market can produce passive income. Buying dividend stocks (companies that pay a high dividend, or interest) or real estate investment trusts (REITs) can produce consistent income with minimal effort. Investing isn’t exactly a side hustle, but it’s a valuable way to diversify your income streams. 

Some side hustle opportunities can provide passive or semi-passive income. In many cases, this involves putting in a lot of effort upfront, with minimal ongoing effort required. 

For example, starting a blog or YouTube channel involves a lot of upfront effort. You need to create the content, find an audience, and set up revenue sources like advertising. But once things are rolling, profits can start rolling in even if you don’t have as much time to actively work on the project. You’ll still need to put in some time on an ongoing basis in order to maintain profitability, but you’ll have set yourself up for an easier workload by building up a solid foundation.

Know When to Take a Break

It’s important to be kind to yourself in the moment if you simply need a break. Maybe you had a rough day at work and can’t stomach the idea of writing another article tonight. Or perhaps your family wants to do something fun together, and it conflicts with your plan to work for a few hours. 

In any case, being flexible and compassionate to yourself will allow you to recharge when it’s needed, which can help you be more productive (and happier) in the long run. 

Schedule Time Off

It’s important to take time off from your side hustle, just like it’s important to take a vacation from your main job. It’s up to you whether you take a break from both at the same time, or alternate between the two. 

To maximize the benefits of time off, it’s helpful to plan ahead. Look ahead at the next few months, and proactively schedule time off for yourself. 

Find Your Financial Peace

Side hustles are a great way to bring in some extra cash, but it’s always important to think about your work/life balance. After all, money can’t buy happiness, and it’s important to bring balance to all aspects of your life.