Tuesday 29 September, 2020

Career Corner: Managing your side hustle…and your job

A side hustle (or a side gig as its sometimes called), are jobs/ small businesses that persons engage in along with their main jobs. There are several benefits to having a side hustle- persons can monetize their skills and interests, and in some instances can turn their side hustles into full time lucrative businesses. Side hustles are increasingly attractive ventures for several persons. I support employees having a side hustle- being able to monetize a skill and generate an additional source of income is always a good thing, but if you want to have a side hustle while still maintaining your full time (day) job, there are a few things that you should consider:

Your company policy: although having a side hustle will likely not be an issue, some organizations have policies regarding secondary employment. If you are unsure about your organizations policies, review your employment contract and/or your employee handbook. Even if there are no immediate issues with your side hustle, there could potentially be conflicts in the future. It may serve you well to also liaise with HR to ensure there are no policies being violated and your full-time job will not be jeopardized.

Declare your side hustle: depending on your company’s policy, you may be required to declare that you have a side business. This is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, if your side hustle can complement your day job, your employer may be inclined to support the development of your business. Even if this is not so, if your employment contract stipulates that you should declare any other business that you’re engaged in, then it is prudent to do so.

Maintain boundaries: it can be tempting to work on your side hustle while you’re at work- particularly when you have an increase in clients and your business is growing…but remember that your job and your side hustle are two separate businesses. Respect your employers time. Don’t work on your side hustle while at your main job. Importantly, respect your employers’ resources…don’t use the company’s materials and supplies for your personal business. Your side hustle and your day job should remain separate.

Don’t compete with your employer: it’s never encouraged to engage in the same kind of business as your employer. Your side hustle should not result in you competing for clients with your company or using company secrets and intellectual property to grow your personal business. Competing with your employer will not be well received and can have legal implications.

Maintain commitment to your job: it can be quite easy to get distracted from the duties associated with your main job while trying to grow your business- but it is important to maintain commitment to your employer. It is also critical that you maintain excellent performance and continue to meet your goals and deadlines. As successful as your side hustle is (or will become) you are still expected to perform your day to day duties and to meet your day-to-day tasks while you remain employed.

Having a side hustle can be exciting - especially as your business grows and you become successful. Eventually, some employees opt to resign from their main jobs to pursue their side hustle on a full-time basis. Until then however- ensure that you are managing your side hustle and your work commitments equally…the benefits of doing both are rewarding.


Malaika T. Edwards, PhD is an academic and a Human Resources consultant, and provides advisory services to individuals and business clients. You can contact her at malaika.edwards@yahoo.com, or on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/malaika-edwards

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