by Randall S. Hansen Ph.D.
Are you thinking of joining the millions of other people moonlighting from their full-time employment by starting an entrepreneurial side-gig? Side-gigs also referred to as side-hustles and micro-businesses are attractive options for people who are looking to earn additional income gain a degree of financial independence and follow a career passion.
Side-gigs are also a great way to test your entrepreneurial skills while having the financial safety net from your full-time job.
What should do you do if you’re considering starting a side-gig? To be as successful with your side-gig as possible read these key rules our…
Moonlighting With a Side-Gig Do’s and Don’ts
Do check on your employer’s policy on moonlighting — if they have one. Even though many employers have no loyalty to their employees some expect absolute loyalty from their employees — even outside the workplace and beyond working hours.
Don’t start your side-gig without a plan. While it’s true that some people just fall into a side-gig it’s much better to develop a plan for your micro-business. And do set goals you want to achieve.
Do research your market understand your competition and know how your product or service is better than what’s currently available. And do price your products/services according to the market; don’t undervalue your side-gig.
Don’t use company time or equipment to work on your side-gig. And don’t let your side-gig distract you from performing your job.
Do learn basic business and accounting fundamentals for managing your side-gig. Assuming it is profitable (and can be considered a business and not a hobby by the IRS) you will be able to deduct expenses and equipment/assets.
Don’t have a side-gig that conflicts in any way with what you do in your full-time job.
Do develop a time-management system that works for you. Many side-giggers get up early in the morning work late into the night and often give up part of their days off to focus on their micro-businesses.
Don’t go into your side-gig expecting a massive income or overnight success though if you have a great idea/service/product you may be one of the very few that transform a side-gig into a full-time business.
Do utilize your network of contacts to help spread the word and promote your business. And do be prepared to ask for the business — and referrals.
Don’t go into a side-gig without the support of your family and friends. Once you start a side-gig your free time will be severely limited.
Do follow your passion. Most (if not all) successful side-giggers who are also happy are running a micro-business based on something they are passionate about. If you do not have passion for your side-gig waking up at 5 am to work on it will get very old very quickly.
Don’t waste any time. Learn to maximize and optimize any down time — time spent waiting in lines on hold commuting to work and the like. Do avoid distractions and time-consuming black holes.
Do be flexible and open to new ideas and change. If you’re lucky one or more of your best customers may give you an idea for expanding improving your business.
Don’t get overly discouraged by initial setbacks in starting your side-gig. Be realistic but make a plan for overcoming the obstacles.
Do keep your start-up costs to a minimum. One of the hallmarks of many side-gigs and micro-businesses is that they can be started on a shoestring budget. It’s better to start small and grow with your success than spend money you may not even have for a business that never makes it.
Don’t take on more than you can handle. If you’re fortunate enough to launch a side-gig that is in high demand only accept that orders/work you can deliver.
Final Thoughts on Rules for Starting a Successful Side-Gig
Following these do’s and don’ts for moonlighting with a side-gig should help lead you to develop and run a successful side-gig that will help you achieve your goals.
Need some ideas for a micro-business side-gig? Check out our sidebar Sample Side-Gigs Side-Hustles and Micro-Businesses.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college career and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
Dr. Randall S. Hansen is founder of Quintessential Careers one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web as well CEO of EmpoweringSites.com. He is also founder of MyCollegeSuccessStory.com and EnhanceMyVocabulary.com. He is publisher of Quintessential Careers Press including the Quintessential Careers electronic newsletter QuintZine. Dr. Hansen is also a published author with several books chapters in books and hundreds of articles. He’s often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Finally Dr. Hansen is also an educator having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Visit his personal Website or reach him by email at randall(at)quintcareers.com. Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.