3 Ways Rocking a Side Gig Makes You Better at Your Day Job

Becoming an entrepreneur is more popular than ever. Maintaining a full-time job while pursuing a passion on the side provides freelancers the best of both worlds: the comfort and security of a steady paycheck and benefits, along with the excitement and endless opportunity to do what you love and make a bit of extra money on the side. 

But pursuing a side gig certainly isn’t easy, or without its share of worries. Especially when juggling a 40-hour work week along with other responsibilities.

Many freelancers worry about taking on too much or finding the time to excel at both a full-time job AND a side gig. From a manager’s perspective, your boss may worry that a side gig will cut into work time, leaving you unfocused, stressed out and spread too thin. 

Even still, the benefits of freelancing far outweigh the concerns and working a side gig can actually improve your performance at your full-time job. Here’s how: 

1. Manage time like a pro.

When you have a very limited window of time to work on your side gig, you quickly learn how to laser-focus in on tasks to complete projects.

For example, I do most of my freelance writing on weekdays before heading to my full-time job; I have two hours each morning to make progress on blog posts, articles, e-newsletters and more.

It’s amazing how much can get done in two short hours when you have a plan, a set amount of time to work, deadlines to reach and clients to keep happy.

Use this same method at your full-time job to increase productivity; give yourself a specific amount of time to complete a project and focus on only that task.

You’ll quickly see that what may seem like a daunting project becomes much more manageable when you create self-imposed deadlines and give yourself specific windows of time to get work done. 

2. Bring skills from your side gig to your full-time job.

Think about all the skills you’re picking up and sharpening as you develop your side gig — maybe it’s blogging, SEO, design or social media.

Not only are you honing your professional skills for your own business when you bring these new skills your full-time job, you show your boss and colleagues that you’re committed to constantly educating and bettering yourself  professionally. You also become the go-to person on that specific topic.

On the flip side, a benefit of maintaining a full-time job while working a side hustle is bringing the skills you learn in the office to your own business.

Before I started my full-time job working in public relations and marketing, I knew little about email marketing, but with the skills I picked up at work I’ve created my own e-newsletter for my blog community. 

3. Hone-in on the art of prioritization.

Freelancers often juggle multiple clients and projects at a time. In order to reach deadlines, prioritization is key.

Many freelancers develop systems using Google docs, social media or productivity apps and hacks to help manage workflow, produce their best work and complete projects in a timely manner.

At a full-time job — where your to-do list is a mile long — freelancers who successfully keep multiple balls in the air can use those same strategies at work, showing colleagues and managers that you understand the importance of prioritizing projects to produce results and reach goals.

What are some other ways rocking a side gig can improve your performance at your day job?

The Complete Guide to Landing Long-Term Clients
The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life by Ivanka Trump
About the author: Jessica Lawlor is a public relations professional and freelance writer in the Philadelphia area. She blogs at JessicaLawlor.com about getting gutsy–forcing yourself out of your comfort zone in order to live a life that makes you truly happy. Subscribe to her FREE Get Gutsy newsletter for more ideas, tips and inspiration.

11 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own

  • Jordann June 6, 2013, 8:14 am

    This is a great post! I’ve definitely found that my side gig has given me an edge at my full time job. I’m currently working on turning my company’s outdated website into modern day awesomeness, all thanks to what I learned through my blog.

    • Jessica Lawlor June 7, 2013, 6:30 am

      Thank you, Jordann! That’s amazing to hear…I love being able to bring my new skills to my full-time job and the things I learn at work to my blog. Win-win!

  • Budget & the Beach June 6, 2013, 10:47 am

    I just wrote a post that as a freelancer lately I’ve had a hard time prioritizing what I should be doing with a lot of down time I’m facing lately! I need to look into some of these apps to help me reign in some much needed focus!

    • Jessica Lawlor June 7, 2013, 6:29 am

      Hope some of the apps help you out! I like to keep it pretty simple and just pick ONE THING to focus on for a specific period of team (even as short as a half hour!) I do only that one thing and avoid all other distractions. Has been working pretty well!

  • david June 6, 2013, 10:54 am

    These are awesome reasons especially #3. I am excellent in managing clients/work at my side gig and it makes me a better employee at work because I make time for everything!

    • Jessica Lawlor June 7, 2013, 6:29 am

      Love that! Thanks for sharing, David!

  • Alex Sheehan June 6, 2013, 9:33 pm

    I love the bit about doing two hours of work in the morning before heading to your OTHER work. I’ve recently been getting very busy both at my day job and with my freelancing gig – and I find it hard to juggle everything AND a social life. I’m definitely going to try that!

    • Jessica Lawlor June 7, 2013, 6:28 am

      Hi Alex! Thanks for your comment. Before I started waking up early to get work done, I wondered how I’d juggle everything into my day. Those two hours have been AMAZING for getting things done and starting my day on a positive note. Best of luck! :)

  • Sandra Harriette June 8, 2013, 6:58 am

    I am right in this boat, Jessica. After talking with my parents last night (both of whom are entrepreneurs) and reading this, I feel much more secure in knowing that I’m keeping my passion alive. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Jessica Lawlor June 8, 2013, 9:22 am

      Love it! How awesome that both of your parents are entrepreneurs and support your goals. Keep up the great work :) Thanks for your comment!

      • Sandra Harriette June 8, 2013, 9:32 am

        Yes indeed, I’m very grateful for it because not everyone can say the same. You do the same, Jessica. See you on Twitter :)

Leave a Comment