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How to balance freelance work while working full-time

We started to hear the word side gig with freelance lifestyle gaining popularity among more people. A side gig or a side job is an additional job that you perform along with your main job. The motivation to take up side gig jobs is different for each and every one of us, at the end of the day people take gigs to earn extra money on the side, save money or to pay debts.

What is a side gig?

Making extra money is not the only benefit of having a side gig. You may be a graduate fresh out of college, you may be working at a position with relatively few responsibilities or you might be a professional whose skills are easily transferable to side gig ideas in 2022.

The truth is, there is neither a single way of how to start a side gig nor a single type of person choosing to have side gigs while working full-time jobs. In addition to the financial perks, some other advantages of a side job are;

  • A resume with more items
  • Having several business connections
  • Building up new skills

We know that it sounds tempting to perform an additional activity and make extra money- and it really is! But one thing to take into consideration is how to balance your side gig while you are working full-time. Things all of us need to evaluate before taking side gig jobs are our motivations, legal and personal limitations, priorities and expectations.

Check your contract

Let’s call a spade a spade, none of us enjoy digging into the delicacies of a wordy employment contract, but checking your contract should come first before you start looking for side gigs in order to avoid legal complications with your employer down the road.

Are there clauses that prohibit you from working in direct competition?

Checking your contract should be a must on the grounds that some employment contracts contain non-compete clauses that may restrain you from working in the same field at another workplace or for somebody else. In case your contract has such a clause you probably wouldn’t want to risk facing unpleasant situations at your full-time job.

Are there obligations that prohibit you from working for a side job?

Regardless of the amount of side gigs you plan on taking up, you will experience an increase in the total amount of time you’ll spend working. Occasionally, companies and employers add provisions to employment contracts that prevent their employees from taking side jobs. Leave no stones unturned and see if that’s the case for you. Imaginably, staying on the right side of regulations is what most people would do under such circumstances.

Know your limits

These days it’s so much easier to spend endless hours in front of a computer without even realizing. Be aware of the amount of time you spend working in both your side job and your full-time job combined.

Do not take on more than you can handle

Being conscious of your capacity to work and your necessity to rest and take some time off is the key to stay healthy and avoid a burnout both in body and in mind. Setting some principles such as not accepting side gigs at certain days or hours is helpful. Make sure that you exercise and eat healthy.

Turn work down if you can’t fit it into your schedule

As enthusiastic as you are about your side job, keep in mind that your full-time job is still paying for most of your expenses. Therefore, it is wise to turn some of the possible projects down. Don’t hesitate to refuse some of the offers on the horizon if they don’t fit into your schedule or make you neglect your full-time job.

Remember the meaning of a side gig: it is an extra job that you take in order to improve your financial situation, soft skills and network. If you feel like a project does not meet your expectations it may be better not to take it.

Make sure your efforts will pay

Having a side job often means working with clients abroad and being bound by international financial operations such as overseas payments when it’s time to get paid. It is important to be informed about some basic tax regulations and corporate formalities like costs to decide whether the amount that you are paid makes sense to keep going or not.

Check the tax system

No matter how globalized today’s world is, taxation is still an issue that is pretty much determined by where you are based. Check the tax system of the country or state you are based at to see if there are side gig taxes that you need to pay. Consult a professional if you can’t figure it out on your own. At the end of the fiscal year it is better to be safe than sorry!

Consider extra or hidden costs

If you are new in the freelance business it may not grab your attention at first glance that the freelance projects may come with some extra costs. This is especially true if you try setting up a business in traditional ways.

Thanks to the services provided by Ruul, freelancers can issue invoices without setting up a company, take up projects and secure them with contracts, make sure their payments are made properly and abide locally applicable regulations.

Know your worth

One thing that you will realize quickly is that there is a large payscale for similar, or sometimes even identical, jobs in the side gig business. You’ll see people working for more money or less money than you do. Don’t let the wide range of prices confuse you and make you think that you are over or undercharging your clients.

Manage your time in a way that suits you

Now that we talked about the essentials of starting a side job, we can get to more practical points and focus on some tips that can improve the quality of your life and work. We believe that things will be much easier for you once you start regulating your side gigs by these tips.

Be efficient

Having a side job in addition to a full-time job can be overwhelming. Accustom yourself to work efficiently in an organized and productive manner in case you decide to have both jobs concurrently. Don’t leave things to chance, make a good plan and keep track of your tasks. Having your side gig life in free fall will probably not produce good results.

Learn to say no

Like we said above, it is perfectly normal to set your priorities and say no when it’s necessary. Some projects are simply impossible because of external reasons such as time limitations, technical hardships or client expectations. Saying no to a project doesn’t mean that you’ll lose your client or have a bad relationship with them.

Utilize off-work times

Not everyone who works a full-time job has the same schedule. You can make time for your freelancing activities early in the mornings before work or in the afternoons. Plan thoroughly, examine your schedule and stick to it. Utilizing off-work times doesn’t only mean to work on your side gig whenever you have a bit of free time left. Make sure you rest and socialize to recharge your batteries.

Never leave things for the last minute

If you are a procrastinator, leave the habit as soon as you can. We know that it is easier said than done but trust us, leaving a side gig for the last day may cause you bigger problems than you wish to have. Missing a deadline is just one of the multiple risks that can jeopardize your side job let alone losing prestige and being considered unreliable.

Try to choose side gigs that can improve you as a professional

Working a side job isn’t only about making more money. Even though the financial advantages of working a side job are high on almost everyone’s list, having a resume which is rich in content, developing an efficient network and boosting your professional skills are equally important. Think of it as a long term investment and try choosing side gigs that come with advantages other than money.

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Arno Yeramyan
Arno Yeramyan is a polyglot who’s a fan of constantly learning new languages.

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