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3 Tips to Make Your Side Hustle Work for You

Woman working from home using computer, phone, and laptop.

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If it seems like almost everyone you know has a side hustle these days, well, you're probably not wrong. Side hustles have become more and more popular at a time when there are so many choices for finding gigs you can do independently. Plus, as life gets increasingly expensive thanks to inflation, earning money on the side can spell the difference between having to dip into savings to pay your bills and managing your living costs without tapping your bank account.

Here are a few tips for making the most of your side job.

1. Schedule those extra working hours

One challenge a lot of people with side gigs face is finding the time to do that extra work. The last thing you want to do is harm your health (physical or mental) in the course of earning additional money. And you also don't want to overcommit to extra work to the point where it negatively impacts your main job.

That's why it's crucial to be vigilant about scheduling. At the start of each week, take a look at your calendar, figure out what personal obligations you have, and see how busy things are at your main job. From there, schedule some hours for your side gig so you know exactly when you're supposed to be plugging away at it. If you attempt to wing it, you may run out of hours and find yourself in a crunch.

2. Network to drum up business

If your side hustle requires you to find customers to sign up for your services (say you have a pet care gig or design websites from home), then networking could be your ticket to a steady flow of income into your bank account. Talk to your friends, neighbors, former colleagues, and anyone else you think might be in a position to promote your services. Then, ask those people to advertise your business on their social media accounts or in other forums that might reach a decent audience.

Many people with side hustles invest a lot of time in drumming up business. But if you spend two hours a week on marketing, that's two hours a week you're not doing the actual work you get paid for. By networking, you might cut down on your marketing time and boost your earnings.

3. Make sure you're being paid fairly

Just as it's important to fight for a fair wage at your main job, so too should you get paid a reasonable amount through your side gig. Now, if that involves driving for a ride-hailing service, you may not get much of a say in what you get paid (though providing great service could result in higher tips). But if your side gig involves copywriting or providing childcare, you can do some research to make sure the rates you're charging are in line with the going wages in your area.

Let's say you babysit for a local family a few evenings a week and earn $15 an hour. Maybe that's a fair rate. But what if most people in your position get paid $20 an hour? If you look at some parent forums on social media or ask around, you may come to learn that you're being underpaid. So adjusting your rate could result in more money that clients may be willing to pay.

If you're going to maintain a side job, it should be financially rewarding as well as manageable. These tips could not only help you boost your income, but also tackle your side job in a way that doesn't wreck your work-life balance.

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