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Six steps to improve your side hustle

Follow these strategies to increase your staying power in the gig economy

The case for the side hustle seems more important than ever as inflation infiltrates nearly every aspect of our lives. Increasing the number of revenue streams coming into your household can be a good way to make extra money to cover groceries and other daily expenses. Plus, if you aren’t strapped for cash, the funds from a side job can be used to pay down debt more quickly, build an emergency fund or even help cover the cost of a much-needed vacation.

For many, part-time work can lead down a path to a new career – if your current job is on shaky ground – or if you are simply ready for a new challenge. Whether you are seasoned at the side hustle or a newcomer, these tips can help ensure your success in the gig economy.

Follow your passion

This may seem like a no-brainer, but pursuing something you are interested in and proficient at, such as photography, graphic design or education, will help you power through the tough times of getting your side gig off the ground. People with jobs in certain fields often have success doing the same type of work on the side. School teachers often make good tutors. Band directors can supplement their income by offering music lessons. Marketing professionals can use their skills to help people and businesses with social media campaigns.

Keep your day job

A full-time job with benefits is worth more than your take-home pay when it comes to peace of mind and financial security. While millions of Americans are taking part in the gig economy, many do so outside of regular business hours for their full-time employers or they piece together several side jobs to create an income they can live on. If you need time away from your job for your side hustle, take a personal or vacation day, or use your lunch hour, if you can squeeze what you need to get done into that space. Never use work equipment for personal projects.

Respect the rules

Make sure your company doesn’t have a “no moonlighting” policy. If you would prefer not to ask your direct supervisor about this, check in with the human resources department, or read through the employee handbook, or both. You don’t want to get caught breaking the rules and lose your job if the income from your side hustle can’t cover your monthly expenses.

Set realistic goals

There’s a reason it’s called a side hustle. Strivers often succeed in the gig economy because they are motivated to move ahead, and are willing to put in the hours to make it happen. You should be prepared to accept some trade-offs while building your business. You may not be able to make every brunch or other social invitation. Talk to others who have taken similar paths to get an idea of how long it took them to make their side gig worth the effort.

Get enough rest

Whether you work one job or three, it’s vital to make sure you are devoting enough time to sleep every single day. Those who don’t get enough rest won’t perform as well at work or life in general. Multiple studies have shown that sleep deprivation can lead to serious health issues. While not everyone needs the same amount of rest, make sure you are getting what you need to thrive.

Don’t forget to market yourself

Depending on your gig, it can sometimes be difficult to strike a balance between not annoying your friends and family with constant news of your passion project or leaving them completely in the dark about it. If you are selling something, you can use social media to share images and information about your items. If you have an email list, you could send a newsletter. If you are walking dogs or pet sitting, sometimes an old-fashioned flier at your local coffee house can drum up business. You can also politely ask for referrals from satisfied customers. Even in this tech-savvy era, word-of-mouth advertising is still a powerful way to grow your customer base.

Article distributed in partnership with SavvyMoney with reporting by Jean Chatzky and Casandra Andrews

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