From driving for Uber to performing tasks on TaskRabbit to working as a freelance writer, artist, designer, or website developer, Americans are increasingly embracing the gig economy. These “side hustle” options allow many people to pursue their passions in addition to, or in the place of, a full-time or traditional job, but side hustles aren’t always easy.
Gig work often requires hustling and marketing, and you have to be able to balance your work with your other obligations. Invoicing, finding new clients, and managing your time effectively are just a few of the challenges that you’ll face.
While gig work offers many benefits like independence and increased income, it’s possible to burnout and lose your motivation, too. These strategies can help you to stay motivated and make the most of the opportunities that you may find through gig work.
Find a Side Hustle You Enjoy
One key to staying engaged with your side hustle is to, first and foremost, find a hustle that you enjoy and will likely want to continue with long-term. Think about the different talents that you have and the types of work that you enjoy doing.
If you love interacting with people and are highly organized, working as a virtual assistant or a personal assistant might be ideal. If you have an eye for design and are highly creative, then a gig as a freelance graphic designer would allow you to put those skills to use.
There are many, many side hustle ideas that you can put to use. You might choose to buy and sell used items for profit, become a caregiver or babysitter, walk dogs, shovel driveways, and mow lawns in your free time, and none of these gigs require specific talents or resources. If you have a specialized talent, like calligraphy and hand lettering, you can even enjoy a gig that doesn’t have the competition that some of these more generalized options have.
The important thing is to focus on doing something that you enjoy. While your gig will still be work, it’s much easier to focus on doing a great job when you’re talented at and enjoy the work that you’re doing.
Find a Schedule That Works for You
The gig economy has made it easier for many people to work when a full-time job is impractical. Women, in particular, have found an opportunity in the gig economy, as technology allows them to juggle their responsibilities to their families while still pursuing a career or building a business in their free time.
Anyone who’s already employed full-time can still supplement their income or pursue a hobby or career that they’re passionate about through the gig economy.
But juggling gig work with family obligations, a full-time job, and any other commitments can get overwhelming and tiring. Set yourself a schedule for your side hustle, and stick to it. Make sure that you don’t overbook yourself, and if you’re just getting started with your gig, take things slowly until you learn just how well you can balance it with your other commitments. Doing too much too quickly can lead to burnout and leave you feeling unmotivated.
Design your schedule so that it accounts for all of the elements of your gig work. When you’re self-employed, you’re responsible for invoicing your clients and tracking those invoices, which sometimes means chasing down payments, too. This can be time-consuming, so include these administrative tasks in your schedule.
If you have the budget for it, consider looking for a flexible co-working space where you can fully dedicate your time to your side hustle without any distractions. Having a dedicated workspace for a particular hobby is a surefire way to ensure productivity.
Remember the Benefits of Your Side Hustle
You’re far from the only person working a side hustle, and there's a good reason for that. Freelancing is a workplace trend that’s on the rise. An Elance-oDesk 2014 study even found that, at the time, 53 million Americans were working as freelancers. Freelance and side hustle work offers many different benefits, making it an appealing option.
When you’re lacking motivation, remind yourself of the benefits of being an entrepreneur versus an employee. A side hustle gives you flexibility, allows you to do a job that’s different from your full-time job, may help you to meet new people, and allows you to earn more money than a stagnant salary can provide. During times when you’re facing increased expenses, you can do more of your side hustle work to compensate for those expenses.
If you’re working as a freelancer, you’re probably in charge of your whole operation, from finding clients to invoicing and tracking your income for taxes. That can be an empowering experience, and it’s a responsibility and opportunity that you won’t find in many standard full-time jobs.
Create Goals to Drive Motivation
You can also find increased motivation by thinking about what you’d like your side hustle to become. Are you working as a freelance writer with hopes of making it into your ideal career? Or area you refinishing furniture with the goal of turning that hustle into a full-time business one day?
Come up with specific goals to revitalize your side hustle. Setting goals like earning a certain amount of money by the end of each month, converting a certain number of leads into customers, or spending a certain number of hours marketing your side hustle can help to keep you motivated. When you achieve those goals, give yourself a small reward, like a trip to the movies or a dinner out at a restaurant.
Working a side hustle is a great way to build financial stability and perhaps even launch a new career. By incorporating strategies to keep yourself motivated, you can turn that hustle into a long-term option that can help support you.
Indiana Lee is a writer from the Pacific Northwest who enjoys writing about personal finance, social justice, and politics. You can find more of her work at on Contently at indianaleewrites.contently.com.
Josh founded Money Buffalo in 2015 to help people get out of debt and make smart financial decisions. He is currently a full-time personal finance writer with work featured in Forbes Advisor, Fox Business, and Credible.