How to Find Time for a Side Hustle

You’ve heard the story. John Doe makes $17,523 per month in seven minutes a day while holding down a full time job.

So some people exaggerate. We’ll call that artistic license. But if you want to dominate your finances, part of that equation is likely to involve finding  time to earn some extra cash.

John doesn’t earn his $17k in seven minutes, and Mary didn’t build a $101k business overnight (I made these examples up). Successful side hustlers – on average – dedicated many hours and much effort to the construction of their particular hustle.

So if we ditch the idea that it’s all quick wins and easy money, where do you find time for a side hustle?

Finding Time For A Side Hustle

How Much Time Exactly?

The answer to all the good questions is always the same: It depends.

But it’s not going to be 3 minutes a day.

You need to break down what you need to do into four steps.

  1. Learn about side hustles and choosing one to try
  2. Study your chosen side hustle so you can avoid a few of the beginner mistakes
  3. Set up your side hustle by creating initial content, ordering initial stock or refining whatever your approach is going to be
  4. Execute your side hustle to earn extra income, refining and improving your process as you go

If your side hustle is delivering for UberEats, then:

  1. 10 minutes
  2. An hour
  3. 30 minutes
  4. The rest of your natural life, because it’s a capped income hustle so once you reach cruising speed you’re trading your time for money and that lasts forever.

Total : Under 2 hours to get started. Low potential earnings.

If your side hustle is building an Amazon FBA business, then :

  1. A few days, you should know what you’re getting into
  2. A couple of intense weeks, if not a full month of watching videos, reading blogs, learning the tools and understanding Amazon rankings, perhaps taking a course
  3. A month to select a few products, research them, decide which one to start with, order it, get it shipped to you or to Amazon, possibly through a freight forwarder
  4. A cycle of repeated lessons and product re-orders as you discover which products work and how best to market them, which suppliers are reliable and which intermediaries you need

Total : A couple of months to get started. Maybe a year of hard work to reach cruising speed. Unlimited potential earnings.

Finding out how much time your hustle will cost you is part of the research you do before you start the hustle itself. Before you start, however, you need to be sure you can spare or find the time, energy and resources to kick off the hustle and see some income, otherwise you’re wasting your time.

Where Can I Find Time?

There’s a lot of wasted time in your day. That’s the subject of a future post, but take a mini-audit for a few days and see where it all goes.

  • Staring at your smartphone
  • Watching TV
  • Commuting

We all have things that we do that are huge time sucks. The average North American spends 292.6 minutes in front of the TV each day. That’s 4 hours and 52 minutes. Every day.

That’s the equivalent of half a working week, every week!

In the USA, the average wake time for non-night-shift workers is around 7:15am. Are you getting up later than that? If you move home to be closer to work, can you use some of the time you save to get things done? If you get up at 5:30am, what can you do with the extra 1 hour and 45 minutes? Does that mean you have to go to bed earlier? What critical tasks are you giving up in the evening to get a more productive morning?

Don’t even get me started on your weekends!

There are blocks of time all over the week which you metaphorically flush down the toilet by filling your head with distractions. When you watch a TV series, you’re paying someone for a product the purpose of which is to take away your time. You’re saying, “please take my time away from me with this distracting stuff, I want to spend some time outside of real life.”

Don’t give up TV or anything, but consider perhaps rationing it? This way you don’t need to find time, you reclaim it from activities that have stolen it from you.

So let’s assume we’ve found a couple of hours here and there: is that it? I just spend a couple of hours doing my hustle and get rich?

How to be Efficient With Your Time

If your approach is to schedule stuff you’re not used to doing at times you’re not used to working, things are going to go sideways fast.

Even if you can find time to work on a side hustle, you won’t get far if that time is not well spent. There’s a process to follow to get the most out of your time. Unless your job is “novelist” or “artist”, you can’t sit in front of a blank piece of paper and expect to get anything productive done.

The basic rule is to separate planning from doing so you can be efficient at both.

In planning mode you’re able to think strategically, apportion your time and consider the big picture. You act like a boss. When you plan, you decide what you’re going to do when you’re in execution mode.

In execution mode you get through tasks your planning alter ego gave you and get as much done as possible. You deliberately avoid thinking about the bigger picture unless it becomes obvious you’re wasting your time. You act like an employee. When you execute, you get stuff done.

Since you are both boss and employee, you need to do both, but the two roles don’t coexist very well in our brains at the same time.

PIcking the Right Time for Each Activity

I find mornings are great for execution, and late afternoon is good for creativity. In the morning I get out of bed and I need to have clear instructions about what I need to be doing, otherwise I find myself staring outside the window with a cup of coffee for half an hour, or spending 45 minutes of quality solo time folding laundry.

Evenings are harder to control, because my brain wants entertainment and decompression. If, however, I can find a creative groove and a bit of time, I can sometimes get some great stuff done.

I schedule my planning mode either for just before I leave work, or just before I go to bed. I have a bullet journal and will use pages in there to keep myself honest and organize my time. Those pages are like the communication medium between my planning, or executive personality and my just-get-it-done personality.

Sometimes they argue.