Side hustling has entered the mainstream in 2018. In the USA, 44 million workers top up their ordinary income with a side business. People are drawn to side hustles for a number of reasons. Some simply want a bit more cash. Others think it’s the first step towards quitting their 9-5 and becoming self-reliant.

The problem is, a lot of these people are wasting their time. Or at the very least, they aren’t making the best use of it. Most side hustles bring in about $100 of extra monthly income. That’s great if it’s an extra windfall to fund a hobby. It’s hardly life changing money though.

So should you just give up? I’d never be that negative! I want to share with you some practical advice to make the most of your time. That way, your side hustle can operate as a viable business, and you won’t burn out from lack of sleep.

Know Your Worth

Let’s go back to the $100 extra dollars a month figure. If you were carrying out this work for someone else, how many billable hours would that translate to? Probably not much more than about three. Obviously, in a fledgling business, you obviously have to take account of potential future earnings too. Still, if you’re slaving away for an extra ten hours a week and not seeing the rewards, it may be time to reevaluate.

I like to think about it like this. My free time is worth a lot more to me than my working time. That means that if something eats into my personal time, I expect better compensation. This is a good way of looking at side hustling if you want to avoid wasting your time.

Of course, I’m simplifying. Many side hustles are a labor of love. What’s a good use of your time depends on you and the nature of your business. However, I want to make you reflect on this and decide what’s best for you.


You’re going to think this sounds ambitious, but hear me out. I’m not suggesting you should open a factory in the developing world. Rather, there are certain time consuming tasks which you probably didn’t have in mind when you started your side hustle.

Maybe you wanted to sell your jewellery online, but now you’re finding yourself spending more time improving your SEO with your company blog. You can probably find someone else to do this for you cheaply. They’ll probably do a better job too. Outsourcing your content marketing is an easy way to make your side hustle more profitable.

Similarly, if your side hustle reaches a certain level of success, you’re going to need to start thinking about how this affects your tax situation. Hiring an accountant isn’t as expensive as people think. It’ll save you a lot of time and hassle too.


This one follows the same logic. The difference is you outsource repetitive tasks to technology. The obvious benefit is that this is even cheaper than getting a person to do these tasks. What you can automate depends on the nature of your business.

Many side hustlers already know that they can automate their social media marketing. However, automating more traditional admin tasks is less common. For example, invoice automation tools still seem to be under-utilized.

This is crucial to making your side hustle a good use of your time, as it cuts out unnecessary man hours. That way, hourly rate you’re effectively paying yourself will increase.

Avoid Hidden Costs

Many side hustlers fall into the trap of hidden expenses. This is because the line between hobby and business is often a little blurry. That means the line between personal and business expenses gets blurred too.

This leads many side hustlers to not track their expenses at all. This can have disastrous consequences. Indeed, if you don’t keep proper accounts, you might not even know whether or not your side hustle is profitable.

Since most side businesses are fairly simple operations, this isn’t hard to rectify. You’re unlikely to have any employees, or a massive number of expenses. A simple spreadsheet to keep track of your incomings and outgoings will do. Then you’ll know for sure if you’re wasting your time.

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Make a Schedule

For many of us, the appeal of a side hustle is being your own boss. While this is great, it does have certain drawbacks. A little time thinking about what makes a great boss will highlight some of these. An effective manager can motivate their employees to carry out their tasks quickly and with high quality.

Many new side hustlers struggle when the boss is taken out of the equation. This is because self-management is an acquired skill. When left to our own devices, it’s normal to struggle to find the motivation to work. This, in turn, leads to time being wasted twiddling our thumbs.

I’m unaware of a service which provides someone to stand over you with a carrot and a stick. In my view, the next best thing is creating a firm schedule and then sticking to it. It’s much easier to actually get on with your side hustle if you’ve mentally blocked off time to do it.

This let’s you avoid the trap of fooling yourself into thinking you’re working.

Final Thoughts

Side hustling is definitely a worthwhile pursuit. We can tell this by looking at some of the successful businesses which started life as side gigs. Even if you don’t want to turn your side hustle into a full-venture, it can be a great way to earn some extra cash in the lead-up to a big life event.

Whatever your goal, what I’ve tried to do today is make you aware of some of the things which might prevent you from achieving it. These mainly relate to how you use your time and resources.

I’d also like to reiterate the value of your free time. Many side hustles fail because of burn-out. The key here is to avoid letting a business take over your whole life. It’s not just the business which suffers when this happens, but also your personal life.

The real value of good time management is having more time to do the things you enjoy.