There are ways to start a business on the side of your full-time job that don’t involve getting up earlier.

By Stephanie Vozza

Having a side hustle can be a great way to pursue a passion and make some extra money, but if you’re already short on time it can feel like an overwhelming proposition. Luckily it doesn’t take a lot of time to launch and run a side business. In fact, Chris Guillebeau, author of Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days, says it takes less than a month to get going.

“I’m not promising that people are going to make six figures in 27 days or create a huge business, but I do believe that you can get the basics of your project up and running, and begin to get payments, customers, and clients in a pretty brief period of time,” he says.

To find time to dedicate to the extra workload, Guillebeau doesn’t suggest getting up earlier every day to work on the project. “That’s not sustainable, especially for busy people who are already over-committed and sleep-deprived,” he says.

Instead, use your limited time well. “If you know exactly what you need to do next, then you can actually put 30 minutes of time to good use,” says Guillebeau. “If you have no idea what to do, you’ll sit down for your 30 minutes and just kind of start swimming around trying different things, registering for 12 different social media accounts, you’re not going to be successful.”

START BY GETTING CLEAR ON GOALS

The first step is getting clear on your intention, says Guillebeau. “Some people just want to make extra money; they want to pay off some debt or they want to save for a vacation or some other goal,” he says. “Other people actually want to create a really significant second income, or potentially replace their full-time (job), or at least accompany it.”

Understanding your goal will help you connect to the process. “The ultimate motivation is seeing your own success because you’ll want to have more time,” says Guillebeau. “It’s just so empowering for employees who only had a paycheck from their employer to get that first PayPal or payment notification. I hear over and over from people saying that they felt totally different about their life after that happened. You’ll want to find time.”

MAXIMIZE EXISTING SKILLS

Another way to find time is starting with the skills you already have, says Guillebeau. “Don’t go out and take time to acquire new skills,” he says. “The more valuable skills are the ones that you already have from your life experience, from your education, from what you do at your job, and from what you’re good at. When you’re focused on those things, then you’re going to get up to launch much quicker.”

PROTECT YOUR TIME

Once you launch your side hustle, manage your time by keeping things in check. “Once it starts working well, people can say, ‘Well, I want to make sure that I don’t get burned out on this. I’m only going to take X number of clients a month, or, ‘I’m only going to focus on one strategy for growth so it doesn’t get out of hand. Then, I can keep doing what I need to be doing for my day job as well.’”

It helps to set a schedule. “Some people really have a strict division of time, in terms of, ‘I’m going to work 20 minutes in the morning or late at night,’” says Guillebeau “Or ‘I’m going to spend an hour and a half every Saturday.’ I hear from a lot of people who say that their side hustle actually allows them to be more productive at work, to be a good employee, to be loyal and still contribute well to the company, but also have something to look forward to on their own.”

Anyone who’s worried about what their employer will think of their side hustle should remember that the company doesn’t own them, adds Guillebeau. “Some of your time is your own,” he says. “You should protect that. You should be willing to put a barrier around that because your time is important and you have the ability to follow your own dream.”

Guillebeau encourages people to take a long-term perspective. “If you think, ‘Do I have time for this?’ Well, nobody has time for anything these days,” he says. “We’re all busy, but somehow we’re still able to watch our favorite TV show.”

The goal of a side hustle is to increase your options and give you more security so that you have a backup plan. “You have more possibility in your life, and you can do more of what’s important to you,” says Guillebeau. “Why wouldn’t you want to invest some amount of time in that?”

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