How do you balance a freelance side hustle and a full-time job?

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Photo by Nandhu Kumar on


If you’re considering switching the full-time life for the freelance life, it’s a good idea to get a taster and build your experience, reputation, and client base through a freelance side hustle. But doing more work after a full day in an employed job can take its toll on your personal time. So, let’s see how to balance a 9-5 with a side hustle.

How much time do you have?

Before you start side hustling, it’s worth figuring out how much spare time you actually have. Start by assessing your current situation:

  • How many hours do you work in your employed job?
  • How much time do you spend getting ready for your job in the morning?
  • What about commuting to and from work?
  • Are you expected to work overtime or do more than your contracted hours?
  • Do you regularly take work home?

If all of these add up to a lot, then your freelance hustle needs to start small, so it doesn’t eat up all of your free time. Or you can find ways to reduce your time getting ready, commuting, or doing additional work.

What other responsibilities do you have?

To ensure that you balance your work life—both full-time and freelance—with your personal life, you need to factor in your other commitments. That might be family, such as children or caring responsibilities. It may be a sports team, a busy social life, or volunteering. Either way, you need to work out which of these are vital and which you can possibly reduce. Make sure your family understand the situation and are happy with you working more.

Finding a balance

Choosing the right hours for your hustle also depends on your body clock. If you’re an early bird, you might be able to fit in some freelance work before your full-time job. If you’re a night owl, you might find it easier to do a few hours’ work in the evening. If neither of those work for you, then working at the weekend is an option.

Look after yourself

Side hustling can be a tiring pursuit, and while it’s often worth it in the long run, it’s important to look after yourself. Ensure you leave enough time for exercise, relaxation, healthy eating, and socialising. To manage a side hustle without burning out, you have to be disciplined and organised, and that involves setting aside enough time for self-care.

Set a time limit

Balancing two jobs isn’t something that I’d recommend doing long term, because it can be exhausting and mean sacrificing things in your personal life. I freelanced alongside a full-time job for a few years to build my editing experience, working evenings and weekends. What made it bearable was knowing it wasn’t forever and would only be until I reached my goal.


What works for you

Importantly, the best way to balance a side hustle is personal to you. It depends on your individual circumstances, preferred way of working, goals, and lifestyle. So, figure out what works for you, even if it involves trying, failing, resetting, then trying something else. Find a balance that works for you.

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For more freelance tips, stay tuned every week on A Freelance Life…

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