Tips for Freelancing While Working Full-Time

Nov 5, 2015

“Side hustle.” You hear that term a lot these days, don’t you? In case you’re not familiar (let’s be honest, I mainly need to define it for my mom—hi, mom!), a side hustle is something that brings in some cash outside of your normal 9 to 5.

Your side hustle could be babysitting. Your side hustle could be a seasonal job. And, as was the case with me, your side hustle could be freelancing.

I freelanced while also working full-time for a few months before completely jumping ship from my traditional job. And, while it often felt like a lot to manage, I think it was totally worth it! So, whether you’re freelancing as a designer, developer, writer, or whatever—I hope these couple of tips help you nail the side hustle game while you’re still wrapped up in your full-time gig!



First things first, before ever even accepting any side freelance work, it’s important that you check your current employment contract. It wasn’t the case for me (thank goodness!), but many employers have restrictions against their employees accepting freelance work. You want to make sure you aren’t going to be caught in the middle of any conflict of interest issues. So, be proactive and take a look at your contract—before you’re in too deep!

Perhaps your company doesn’t have any issues with you taking on freelance work, but there are certain competitors within your same industry that they don’t want you working with. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to be informed. After all, respecting your employer’s wishes never hurts!


How did I know when it was time for me to leave my full-time job in favor of the freelance life? Quite simply, I didn’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done. And, while it was nice to have the “stay or go” decision made for me, it certainly didn’t come without it’s fair share of stress.

Think about it—you’ll be spending at least 40 hours per week at your full-time job. If you want to maintain healthy habits, a decent sleep schedule, and a social life, you really aren’t left with that much time for your other projects. So, it’s important that you’re honest with yourself about what you can realistically take on—while still doing a good job with all of it. Balance is essential!


Mapping out a general schedule is a great way to determine how much side work you can realistically take on. Perhaps you only want to build your side business every Monday and Wednesday night from 6PM to 10PM. Or, maybe you’re jumping in full force and intend to work your side hustle every evening and weekend.

Regardless of what your preferences are, sitting down and getting an idea of how much time you actually plan to dedicate to your side projects is important. So, don’t put it off!


With all of that being said, you need to make sure that you’re mentally prepared to work evenings and weekends. It sounds stupid—but this is something I didn’t really think about when I started freelancing on the side.

Just think, when you need to work your traditional full-time job during normal business hours, all that’s really leftover for working your side hustle is nights and weekends (unless you’re a real early bird that can crank stuff out in the morning—that’s definitely not me!). This is going to mean giving up some relaxation time and social gatherings. Don’t let that be a surprise to you!


If I’m being perfectly honest, I wasn’t that forthcoming with my employer when I started freelancing. It’s not that I was hiding it, it’s just not something that comes up that naturally in work conversations.

Looking back, I should’ve been a lot more forthright with my side projects. Not only does it demonstrate to your employer that you’re not trying to pull off anything shady, but (depending on your current job or industry) they can even help spread the word about your side work and help you land some new projects!

Oh, and it’s also important to assure your employer that your freelance work won’t have any hindrance on your performance at your day job. Because, it shouldn’t!


That’s right, you need to keep your side hustle and your full-time job completely separate from each other. As excited as you might be about your freelance projects, or as tempting as it is to just send that one quick client email at 1PM in the afternoon, it’s simply not a good idea.

Your side hustle is called your side hustle for good reason—it shouldn’t even enter into the equation when you’re at your full-time job. So, save your freelance projects for your nights and weekends.

Are you currently freelancing while also working full-time? Or, have you done so in the past? I’d love to hear what tips you have to share!

Until next time!