Wealth Management

Successful side hustlers share their best secrets for keeping all the balls in the air

You’re ready to make bank.

Maybe your goal is financial independence, an early retirement, more travel cash or more time to devote to a passion project. And you’ve chosen a side business as the fastest way to get there.

But that little matter of your full-time job seems like a huge roadblock standing between you and your side hustle dreams.

If you are wondering about the best ways to meet the incoming demands, ask the experts.

Some, such as Nick Loper, do side hustles for a living. Founder of Side Hustle Nation, Loper continually tries different side jobs — from self-publishing on Amazon to online sales to affiliate marketing. He eventually was able to leave his full-time job.

Consider the early morning hours as a time to fit in some extra work, Loper says.

Ben Stein, founder and host of side hustle podcast “Purpose Up, ” said he started the effort as a side project in 2015 when he was working in advertising.

Stein thinks it’s critical to get enough rest. Even if there’s a cultural message that says not getting enough sleep is a badge of honor, he calls it counterproductive. “My cognition starts to slip when I’m not well rested enough,” he said. “We all know when we’re too tired.”

He recommends a steady routine, eating a healthy diet and meditation.

These strategies from side hustle pros can get you started.

No pressure

Make your side hustle easy, says Jessica Byrne, 26, a software engineer in Portland, Oregon.

Jessica Byrne, 26, recommends keeping your side hustle expectations realistic.

Source: Emily Byrne

When she’s not at her 9-to-5 job, Byrne picks up extra cash from a few dog walks each week, courtesy of apps such as Rover and Wag.

She also has a financial blog, where she shares tips on investing, finance and travel.

Byrne sets a flexible schedule and doesn’t kick herself if she doesn’t fully meet her goals. “Take a nap and recharge,” Byrne said. Working seven days a week means she needs to keep it easy. She turns down dog walks that are too far from her home and tries to pick up the ones that can be paired with an errand.

Do something you love

Some days, Annette Whitehead, 38, doesn’t get much sleep. Between her full-time job in marketing and what she calls a permanent part-time job as an usher at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, she logs about 50 hours a week.

Despite the hours, Whitehead says it’s win-win. “I love baseball,” she said. “And I’ve figured out a way to get to games and watch them … and get paid for it.”

As Loper says, “The last thing you need is a second job you hate.”

While a side hustle doesn’t have to involve an undying passion, “it should be something you can at least be interested in and excited about working on,” Loper said. That will help you to stay motivated.

Whitehead has a second side hustle with an event staffing company. “I’ve worked security at concerts and some college events,” she said. “The best part is, I get to pick and choose the events.”

Don’t reach for the stars …

Time management tips

Make your side hustle a priority, Loper says. “Block off time and [find ways to] make progress daily.”

Time has a funny way of never materializing for the things you don’t prioritize. “If you can commit 15 to 60 minutes a day to be proactive about building your business, you’ll be in far better shape than someone who promises to do it as time allows,” he said.

Take advantage of small pockets of time. “Even in 10 minutes, you can get something done, and those can add up,” said Stein.

Stein also recommends understanding your own body’s rhythm. If you’re more creative in the morning, leave your email and other rote tasks for the afternoons and save the precious morning hours for more challenging projects.

Keep it positive

Be good to yourself, Stein says. “A great skill to cultivate: I encourage folks to actively choose compassion for internal monologues and be your own best cheerleader and own best source of encouragement,” Stein said.

Whether you write them down or say them out loud, make positive statements to yourself: “You’re taking a lot on, and you’re doing great.”

“The type of people who side hustle, who are really motivated, are Type A,” Stein said.

If that describes you, don’t beat yourself up when you don’t meet expectations.

Check out Don’t worry about getting a perfect credit score—This score is all you need via Grow with Acorns+CNBC.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.

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