4 Mistakes I’ve Made Juggling My Side Hustle and Day Job

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I’ve officially been running my side hustle as a career coach for a year now and I’ve learned that having a side hustle is about mastering two thing –  JUGGLING and CREATING BALANCE. Managing your day job, responsibilities at home and ensuring your side business grows is tough business! It can be  is tiring, but it’s also incredibly rewarding when you see that you’re building a business here! A business that’s actually bring in income.

I love reading about other people’s side business and get motivated by their growth. But I find that very few are willing to share their failures as well.

Everyone shares their success, but nobody tells you that:

  • They struggled to get their business off the ground
  • They lost motivation and gave up for a while
  • Their first, second or fifth side business failed miserably
  • They’ve had inconsistent progress in their business

You only hear success stories. The reality is that most entrepreneurs struggle at the beginning and if you’re prepared for a struggle, you’ll keep going. I’ve learned more from mistakes than from successes in my life, so to celebrate one year in the side hustle world, I’m sharing mistakes I’ve made instead.

1) Not treating it like a business from the start

My day job, as a Recruiter,  is complimentary to my side hustle as a Career Coach and Resume Writer. In fact, I’d already started my side hustle without even knowing it. I’ve always had a tendency to coach my candidates through job interviews, re-write their resumes, give them tips on how to make a career transition or create growth in their current careers. In fact, I’ve been known to ‘baby my candidates’, which is discretely frowned upon in the recruitment world.

Before I knew it, I’d have friends and family of some of my candidates call me to ask if I can help them review or write their resumes or cover letters. And for years, I did it for free. It was a valuable service, but I didn’t see it as such. It wasn’t until someone asked me for my rates that it occurred to me that I should be charging for this (I only charge non-candidates).

I have unofficially had a side hustle for 5 years, but didn’t make it official until last year. Thinking about the wasted income frustrates me.

2) Losing focus or getting distracted

Everyone’s excited about starting a business. If you’re anything like me, you can’t write the ideas down fast enough. You have fantastic ideas about how to grow your business, how to get more clients, how to increase efficiency, but can’t seem to implement these wonderful ideas because you keep getting distracted by other things that need your attention.

This is the point where most people give up and lose motivation. You start second guessing yourself because you’re not seeing results.

In the beginning, I’d have a month of extreme focus and then lose that momentum the next month, which would ruin my motivation. It took me a while to realize it’s because I didn’t have a system. I have to think about marketing my business, managing clients and actually doing the service I’m selling. But I wasn’t allocating time to each.

I needed a routine and these days I spend a certain amount of time a week strictly on marketing, managing relationships with my existing clients and the rest on doing the actual work.

I need to write it down to stay focused and that has worked for me so far.

3) Procrastination

I’ve struggled with procrastination my whole life. Although this is common sense, I didn’t realize until half way through last year that I spend more time feeling guilty about not doing something than just doing it! One of my problems is that I believed I had to be in the right place or I had to get an entire task done in one sitting and if I didn’t think I had enough time to get the whole task done, I would just push further down my todo list.

For instance, if it takes me 3 hours to write a resume and I only have an hour, I’d move that task to the next day. Using that one hour to just get started not only makes the task easier for me the next day, but makes me feel accomplished. These days, I have a few projects on the go at the same time and it works very well for me.

4) Not Setting the tone early in the day

Do you ever find yourself fail the first task of the day and just have a slow day altogether? How you start your day or week often dictates how productive the rest of it will be.  Accomplishing something in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. When you feel good about getting the first thing done that day, it motivates you to keep going.

Like everyone else, I start my day checking email – a task I’ve allocated 30 minutes to. Depending on action I have to take on those emails, I sometimes find myself spending 2 hours on email and my whole morning is thrown off. So I spent the day playing catch up, which means that my day job ‘bleeds’ into time in the evening when I should be focusing on my side hustle.

These days, I literally time my morning email check.

You’ll be hearing more about my side hustle’s progress over the next few months.

Have you thought about starting a side hustle? If you have one, what mistakes have you made

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle July 2, 2013 at 10:09 pm

I’ve definitely made mistakes, but I do think that my mistakes have also helped me. I have more things to talk about on my blog since I have made mistakes haha


Elle @ For Her By Her July 3, 2013 at 5:10 pm

I agree! Sometimes I think it would be great to go back and NOT make those mistakes, but the truth is that I’ve learned so much from every mistake I’ve made. Plus, it’s better to have made those early on. I’m sure I’ll look at this time a few years from now and identify more mistakes… it’s the beauty of life :)


Marissa @ Thirtysixmonths July 3, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Like Michelle, I’ve made tons of mistakes too! Especially since my sites started to grow.


Elle @ For Her By Her July 3, 2013 at 5:07 pm

I’ve learned that without mistakes, there is no growth… or minimal growth. Congrats on the growth of your sites!


Jaclyn A. July 6, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Hi! I found you through MakingSenseOfCents – funny, I’m a recruiter for my day job too, I’m also the company’s trainer. I am literally JUST starting my own blog in hopes of earning extra income – Debt Free Dreaming. Thanks for sharing your mistakes with all of us. I can see myself doing the same thing, maybe now I can avoid it!


Elle @ For Her By Her July 6, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Thank you for reading Jaclyn. I’m so glad you found my mistakes helpful, I wish I’d seen my mistakes earlier, but I certainly learned a lot from them.

It sounds like we have a lot in common!! I love reading personal finance blogs, so I’m looking forward to reading yours :)


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