Four in 10 people in Britain now run at least one business alongside their primary job, a new study has found.
According to research conducted at Henley Business School, the number of Brits launching additional careers – dubbed “side hustles” – is set to increase to include half the population by 2030.
So, aside from the obvious financial perks, what benefits can a side hustle offer and how easy is it to strike a work/life balance when your career is multifaceted?
When it comes to having your finger in multiple professional pies, few rival the expertise of self-proclaimed multi-hyphenate herself, Emma Gannon, who has literally written the book on career versatility.
In The Multi-Hyphen Method, Gannon, explains how social media and the rise of digital tech has enabled millennials to add more professional strings to their bow.
Today, it’s never been easier to build up your personal brand thanks to platforms such as Twitter and Instagram which, in addition to posting holiday snaps, can be used for launching and promoting a side hustle, whether it be a podcast, a newsletter or a clothing brand.
We spoke to some of the UK’s top side-hustlers to learn how to start and sustain one today while maintaining a semblance of sanity.
Set aside dedicated side hustle time and stick to it
When you’re spending eight hours a day in an office – as most full time workers are – the idea of doing anything else that’s work-related on top of that can seem incredibly daunting.
For Natasha Lunn, who runs the popular Conversations on Love newsletter alongside her full time role as features editor at Red magazine, it’s crucial to carve out specific, regular slots during the week and weekend to solely focus on your side hustle.
“Instead of always working on Conversations on Love in the evenings, which I knew would feel like a chore, I decided to get up at 6am three days a week (which is easy for me as my boyfriend is a primary school teacher so I just get up at the same time as him!),” she tells The Independent.
“That gives me an extra four and a half hours a week to work on the newsletter if I need to.
“And then I also try to save two hours on a Sunday morning for long-term thinking – plotting out future ambitions for Conversations on Love, where I want to take it next and what I want it to be in a year’s time. I think a Sunday morning is a good time for dreaming.”
It can be helpful to have a deadline to work towards, advises The Independent‘s UK lifestyle editor, Harriet Hall, who wrote She: A Celebration of 100 Renegade Women alongside a full-time journalism job:
“I didn’t think I could have fit writing a book into my sacred spare time, I barely managed to fit myself into it, but when a publisher contacts you to do something like that, you say yes and figure it out later!
“I really did have to make time to write it, so I set myself strict dedicated hours and deadlines. Then towards the end I ran out of time towards the end and wrote wherever I could including standing up on the train, waiting to meet friends. I did become a bit boring and miss some hen parties and leave birthdays early to get enough sleep to work the next day, but your friends will always forgive you.
“I think if it was less time-pressured I’d have found more of a balance but I don’t know if the drive would have been there as much.”
Find ways to keep yourself accountable
The difficulty with going out on your own with a side hustle, away from the watchful eyes of a senior line manager, is that you only have yourself to keep you on track.
To avoid procrastinating, find someone who can hold you accountable, advises Sam Reardon – fashion recruitment consultant who recently launched a sustainable streetwear label Cariki.
It could be as simple as calling on a relative or a close friend and asking them to keep checking in on you to see how you’re progressing on a particular task.
If your side hustle involves running additional social media accounts, Lunn advises planning your content ahead of time.
“I’ve found that, with Instagram, the best thing to do is plot your content for the week on a Sunday,” she says.
“I jot down the posts I want to share in the week and save them all on my phone so I can just do it on the way into work without having to think too much about it.”
Schedule free time too
If every waking hour of your day is taken up by a main hustle or a side hustle, that leaves little time for the other joys that life has to offer that help keep us sane, such as food, exercise and a social life.
Remember that you’re only human and it’s imperative you incorporate some “doing nothing” time into your life, suggests CEO Natalie Campbell, who balances five side hustles including co-hosting the Badass Women’s Hour radio show.
“Eat well, get outside, move your body to keep your mind fresh and your body full of the fuel it needs to deal with the pace,” she tells The Independent.
“My advice, if you’re going 100 miles at work try reformer or yoga instead of an adrenaline fuelled spin-class. Spent the day at a desk, get your butt to spin or a HIIT class.”
Put your primary job first, until you don’t have to anymore
“I think it’s also important to prioritise your job,” says Lunn.
“Until your side hustle is paying the bills, you need to know when to put it on the back burner and put your day job first. It’s easy to be distracted by something shiny and new, particularly when it is bringing you attention, but don’t forget to respect your employer and all the opportunities they give you.
“For example, if I was asked to do a last minute interview for work and needed to spend all
Sunday prepping for it, I would just skip writing the newsletter that week. Ultimately, my job always comes first.”
Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons
A side hustle is all about channelling your passions into something profitable, but if financial gain is your prime motivator, it might be time to rethink your priorities, says Lunn, who suggests not taking it too seriously in the early stages.
“I think it’s important, when having conversations about side hustles, to acknowledge that it shouldn’t be about working days and nights and juggling so many balls that you don’t have any time left for the people you love.
“A side hustle, to me, is about finding joy in a new place, a space of your own. There’s no point in working so hard at it that you forget why you fell in love with doing it in the first place.”
This article was Originally published on The Independent