How to Transition from Working Full-Time to Hustling a Day Job and Freelance Gig

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With the explosion of the gig economy, more and more companies are opting for independent contractors and freelancers instead of hiring full-time employees. This has a big effect on the workplace, causing more workers to leave their 9-to-5 jobs and try their luck at freelancing.

However, you don’t have to leave your day job if you want to be a freelancer. The concept of dropping your primary source of income is scary for most, which is why we will provide tips to balance the two in that article.

But what if your full-time job already seems to be taking too much of your time? How can you get started on another endeavor and still keep your sanity?

Like everything else, starting a side hustle should be done one step at a time. Here’s a guide on how to transition from working a single full-time job to hustling a day job AND a side gig.

Look for a flexible full-time job.

First things first, you need to have a full-time job that affords enough flexibility to squeeze in your side hustle. Most companies nowadays discourage employees from doing overtime work, as this often leads to more expenses. If your employer is one of these, then you have a head start.

If not, then you can start looking for a day job that comes with flexible hours. Can’t find a flexible full-time job? Don’t worry, you can still make do with a traditional 9-to-5 job, but it will require more work on your part in terms of time and energy management. You may need to sacrifice some late nights to work on your gigs, but you can rest knowing that it’s worth it.

Negotiate terms of employment.

Another way to put more time in your hands is to negotiate the schedule on your contract with your employer. If you’re in good standing at work, you can ask to work remotely for some days of the week. This will save a lot of time spent commuting so that you have more time for productive work both on your day job and on your side hustle. You may also ask to start your shift earlier so you can go home earlier.

Of course, a negotiation needs to be beneficial for both sides, so be ready to lose some benefits in exchange for any of these contract changes. You also have to assure your employer that these activities won’t affect your work.

Set up clear schedule and communication guidelines.

When you have a full-time job and a side hustle, time management becomes even more crucial. Yes, you’ll have to sacrifice some weekends and late nights hustling, but that doesn’t mean that work-life balance is impossible.

You need to make a realistic and specific schedule to stay on top of things. For example, you can schedule a break in-between your day-job and freelance work to avoid exhaustion and distractions.

It also helps to be clear with your clients from the get-go on how you’ll communicate with each other. You can set weekly or monthly meetings and set boundaries when your client can all you so your full-time and freelance work does not affect each other.

If you have the extra bucks, you can also invest in project management tools to automate your workflow.

Set clear freelancing contracts.

When you start accepting freelance jobs, it may be tempting to say yes to every potential client you meet just to gain momentum. But if you want to stay in this for a while, this is not the way to go.

Learn to firmly say “no” when you know you can’t deliver and accept only the projects where you’re absolutely sure you can give your 100%. This will give you control over the scope and limitations of your projects and come up with quality work that could potentially make clients hire you again.

Check out this article for more tips when you can’t meet a deadline.

Market yourself.

Without marketing, even the best product in the world is no use. The same is true for freelancers. But how do you go start gaining clients?

Word of mouth definitely helps, but since you don’t have the luxury of time to go out and meet potential clients yet, you can start by creating an online portfolio that showcases your best work.

For example, you can set up a profile in Behance if you dab on design or GitHub if you’re looking for coding jobs.

Printing calling cards and giving them away during social events remains to be one of the best ways to get clients.


Balancing your day job and side hustle requires a combination of a lot of things: a passion for work, an ambition to do better, and a whole lot of careful planning. Just as important as time management is managing your reputation to both your boss and your clients.

It’s important that you don’t let your day job fall off the wagon just to build your freelance work. The key is taking small, carefully planned steps so that you gradually gain traction in your side hustle while maintaining your focus on your day job. If you can nail this, then you’re good to go.

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