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Having it All: 5 Tips to Balance Your 9-5 and Side Hustle

Jun 21, 2017
(updated: Feb 14, 2023)
Max 5 min read

A corporate job is a sweet gig. Consistent work, guaranteed pay, insurance, PTO – all awesome. But you have skills and passions outside your day to day work. Or worse, you’re not getting paid enough for your talents. You don’t want to give up your day job, but you’re thinking about freelancing on the side to supplement your resume, your income, your life, etc.

So you download the indy app (it’s free and totally easy). It immediately connects you to tons of local opportunities, and soon you’re collaborating instantly with local businesses who need your expertise. You got the skills, now you have the demand. But you’re worried if you have the time.

Spoiler alert: you do, but only if you prepare yourself. indy proudly presents 5 tisps to make it happen:

Be Realistic

With clients, and with yourself. Work with your clients to set realistic deadlines and expectations. This includes knowing when to say no. If you’re not right for the project or genuinely don’t have the time, let the client know. When the fit is realistic, be honest about what they can expect for a certain time frame and price. With true transparency, no one gets disappointed or overwhelmed, and your clients will appreciate your candor and professionalism.


Participate in the action of planning, and use a real planner. There’s no way you have magical memory where you can store everything you need to do. Especially if you have multiple clients, you’re going to need to set a game plan. While most people prefer the convenience of an electronic calendar, sometimes a good old-fashioned paper planner can help you better visualize a timeline. Break down your projects into pieces and add those pieces to your daily to-do lists. Getting a little done each day can help keep you from falling behind. Time blocking is another great strategy to help you prioritize and get things done.


Now that you’re rocking the planner, it's imperative that you prioritize everything in it. Most of the time, your full-time job will have to come first and that’s okay, just make sure you don’t leave your clients out in the cold. Do not do freelance work while at your nine to five. During your lunch break is fine, but otherwise you risk losing your full-time gig. Instead, stick to designated times and organize tasks in order of importance and timeliness.

Early Bird

It’s hard to work for 8 hours and then come home and work some more. Try getting up an hour or so earlier and cranking out some work before you clock in. This can reduce or even eliminate after-work work.

Take care of yourself

When you start freelancing, it’s easy to get excited. People want your skills and they want to pay for them. When the work comes flooding in, it can feel flattering – but working 80 hours a week can take its toll. Freelancing allows you to choose the work you want. And with the security of a day job, you can be extra selective. Go back to that planner and make sure you block off time for you. Maybe you take Sundays off or don’t do any work after 8 PM. If you’re stretched too thin, you can’t deliver your best work to your boss or your clients.

It’s going to be hard, and you’re going to sacrifice a few nights and weekends. But you can have it all. Adding freelancing can make the most of your daily grind. Create your own opportunities, be your own boss, and get that paper. And who knows, maybe one day you won’t need a day job!

Get started today!

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