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How to Start a Freelance Side Hustle While Working Full Time

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Do you have a full-time job but want to earn more income? A freelance side hustle is an excellent way to earn money on the side.

Lots of people have a freelance side hustle in addition to their 9-5 job. Some of them eventually turn that side gig into a full-time freelance career, leaving their old full-time career behind.

Other people just need more income and have no intention of leaving their regular full-time career. After all, freelancing full time isn’t for everyone. When you really like your 9-5 job and want to keep it but you also need to earn more money, a freelance side hustle will definitely help you do that.

Whether you want to start a freelance side gig so you can turn it into a full-time job or you just want to freelance on the side while you keep your current full-time job, here’s 11 strategies to start a freelance side hustle while working full time.

Prepare Ahead Of Time

It may appear straightforward, but it is far more difficult to put into practice. Plan to focus on your freelance side job on days when you have vacation time, holidays, or other scheduled time off from your full-time job. To avoid all-nighters, it’s also a good idea to give yourself extra time for any side projects you’re working on.

Examine Your 9-5 Job Contract

Nobody enjoys reading fine text, but it’s the first job you’ll have when you’re getting ready to start freelancing. The reason for this is that some organizations have non-compete clauses in their contracts that may restrict or prohibit you from doing similar work outside of the company or for the same clientele. And, if you’re doing anything that’s not permitted, you could be fired or even sued. So, study those employment agreements well before signing them, and then follow the law.

Maintain a Clear Line of Communication

You’ll generally want to keep your freelance work separate from your full-time work for a variety of reasons, including legal and ethical concerns. Sure, you could work on your lunch break or during calm periods, but I don’t believe the risk is worth it. Focus on your employment during the day and save the freelancing for the evening.

Make the Most of Your Time As A Freelancer

Take advantage of the freelance time you do have so that when you do have to go to work, you’ll be completely present mentally and physically.

You can free up time by getting up early, staying up late on weekends, or exchanging vacation time for time spent on your own tasks.

And you can make the most of each minute by avoiding taking on more than you can handle, carefully arranging your work, staying on time, and focusing entirely on the tasks at hand. All of this will help you earn more money as a freelancer, gain more experience, and establish a reputation that will benefit you now and in the future.

Be Honest About Your Freelance Side Hustle

It’s always advisable to be truthful about both your freelance work and full time work with your clients and boss respectively. Because your freelance clients may inquire as to why you are unavailable during business hours, and you may find it difficult to respond. If this becomes a problem, be open and honest about your employment situation.

Organize Your Life

The last thing you want to do after work is waste an hour attempting to obtain information for your freelance assignments. You will save time and frustration by being organised. Hence, it’s recommended to make an ideal day schedule for every day.

Make Certain You’re Still Giving Your All At Your Full-Time Job

Regardless of how ecstatic you and, hopefully, your boss are about your freelancing, you must remain as committed to your traditional career as you were before—if not more so. Make sure you’re on time for meetings, fulfill deadlines, share your ideas and excitement, and accomplish what’s asked of you.

And don’t forget to arrive at work rested and prepared to work (no staying up all night working on that side project!). Neither during coffee breaks nor during working hours should you discuss your freelance clients with your coworkers.

Maintain A Healthy Work-Life Balance

Make sure that you maintain a healthy work-life balance while doing freelancing and 9-5 jobs. This can be tiresome, interfere with your sleep, and even put you in violation of the contract if it impairs your performance at work.

Fortunately, there are a plethora of tools available to help you better manage your time, such as using one of the many excellent productivity apps made exclusively for freelancers. Also, try to take on projects that you’ll enjoy so that they don’t feel like a chore to do. Just remember not to take on too much at once and to take it slowly at first.

Keep Your Sights Set On Your Objectives

It’s difficult to make a living with just a freelance side hustle. It is, however, feasible to transition that side hustle into a full-time freelance career. Keep your goals in mind and keep pushing, even when things get tough. You’ll get there eventually.

Emphasize The Advantages That Your Side Hustle Gives Your Full-Time Job

Consider demonstrating how your freelance side gig will help your boss, your coworkers, and the entire organization, in addition to gaining the green light. After all, the fact that you’re willing to spend your leisure time doing something other than watching Netflix demonstrates your strong work ethic and motivation—and what employer wouldn’t want that?

However, you can demonstrate how your side projects will motivate you to gain essential skills and experience that will benefit you throughout your career and now, as well as your organization. So, if you pick up some excellent IT talents that you’ll employ as a freelancer, tell your boss about it.

Do Your Freelance Side Gig On Your Own Time And Budget

When it comes to time, this means not conducting freelance work while on the clock. Save your work until after hours, even if it’s a slow day. Stick to your company’s business throughout the day, and you’ll be remembered by your boss as a decent employee who happens to be doing some excellent freelance work on the side.

Also, resist the urge to work on freelancing assignments with your work laptop, phone, or even copy paper and stapler. Despite the fact that they are minor expenses for the corporation, they are nonetheless company property. By maintaining those bounds, you’ll avoid any unpleasant feelings.


Is it possible to work at a full-time 9-5 job and have a freelance side hustle at the same time?

That’s ultimately up to you. Many people do freelancing in addition to their full-time job, whether they admit it or not.

Outside of your full-time employment, a freelance side gig can be a terrific method to bring in extra cash each month and work toward savings goals. It can also be a great way to transition into freelancing full time.

Whatever your purpose in starting a freelance side hustle, successfully integrate it into your full-time job using these 11 tips and you’ll be able to achieve your goal.

Want to leave your job and start freelancing full time? Read my free From 9-5 to Freelancing e-book here.



Cover image by freestocks 

Sakshi Baid

Sakshi Baid works as a Product Associate at - Quotation Form & India's most powerful platform for freelancer growth. She has worked for some renowned companies as a Brand and Digital marketing associate. You can follow on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Hi Sabina, I did this for years before I launched my biz full time. It was hard to find balance as I worked so much. Luckily I did not require a lot of sleep 🙂 It made the transition easier by doing what I was doing for years part-time to full-time. Still scary without a guaranteed paycheck but even those are really not guaranteed! I never looked back and love working on my own time 🙂

    1. Hi Lisa – yes, for sure finding balance is challenging when you’ve got a side hustle in addition to your regular job. Also not having a steady paycheck I’m sure can be scary. I never have had a steady paycheck, though, so I can tell you if that’s all you know, then it’s not a big deal. I’m glad to hear you love working on your own time. So do I!

  2. Hello Sabina & Sakshi,
    I need to be more mindful of giving myself enough time to get things done. I have an issue with wanting things done now, and well with a 9-5 job, blog, kids, husband we all know how that ends.

    I have also discovered that I am horrible at sticking to schedules. I don’t know why. For someone who never misses appointments and believes that if you’re not 10 minutes early, you’re late, you would think I could do better with sticking to my blogging schedule.


    1. Maybe the issue with sticking to a blogging schedule is that blogging is totally optional. Unless you’re earning a full-time or significant part-time income from blogging, it may get pushed to the back burner too easily while you focus on other things. I’m guilty of this myself. Blogging is so fun but it’s also really important to spend enough time and effort on it if you want it to go somewhere. Wanting things done now is totally understandable but it always takes time to make side hustles grow. I’m enjoying the growing process and I hope you are too!

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