Why I Follow These Three Rules For Side Hustling

Richard Fang

What I learned from my side hustling adventures over the years

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Fernando Hernandez / Unsplash

Side hustling has become a significant phenomenon in recent years. COVID-19 put millions worldwide out of work, and many realized the importance of having an additional source of income. 

With the power of working remotely, we also saved more time commuting, which we could put back into other activities. For me personally, this time was spent more on my side hustles, especially during 2020. 

But as someone who has worked on various side hustle projects over the years, I realized the importance of creating a set of rules I follow to manage my time. After all, time is finite, and you want to make sure you maximize every minute of it. 

1. Don’t just focus on one project — diversify!

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Alex Perez / Unsplash

This is the biggest lesson I’ve learned over the years. 

In my early year of hustling, I spent and dedicated my entire weekends and weeknights to a startup. 

It was a project I thought I could eventually raise money for and focus on as a full-time job (naive, right?) after dedicating all my ‘side’ time on. But after a year, one of our key team members left, and we were left to pick up the scraps. This ultimately resorted to us shutting down the operations, and although I learned a lot, it also felt kind of unfulfilling. 

Not only did I spend more hours working on it than my peers (which is a big mistake first founders make), I felt like I wasted a lot of time versus if I had just split my time evenly on other projects. 

Of course, there are great stories out there of first-time founders going all in a project and achieving greatness, but 90% of the stories that aren’t told are ones that didn’t work out. 

This is why even though I am working on my second startup now, I always leave time to work on my personal projects as a backup. Like trading, diversification is critical, and you risk putting all your eggs in one basket if you simply stick to one major hustle. 

This is especially important if you’re looking to make money from just one hustle. It’s also why those who do take their side hustle full-time always have more than one source of income to diversify against each other. 

2. Always set an achievable goal

This is the most important rule I apply to any side hustle I do. Side hustles should always have an achievable goal attached and simply going “I want to make a million or billion dollars” isn’t a realistic objective. 

The majority of side hustles out there earn less than $500 a month, so keeping it realistic initially is essential. 

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Sidehustlenation

For me personally, for example, Youtube was a channel I wanted to crack and monetize on. To set a goal to reach a million subscribers would be highly unrealistic, so instead, I gave myself an achievable goal of monetizing my channel (1000 subscribers and 4000 watch hours) and learning video editing in the process. 

I ended up achieving this in half a year because I set an achievable goal which meant I would reduce the likelihood of being burnt out. Even with a startup, you should always set out to achieve something like ten customers before shooting for the moon with a thousand. 

Burning out is a common side effect of side hustles, so it’s important to make sure you manage yourself correctly and efficiently. This is especially important if you’re working on multiple projects at once. 

3. Figure out your intent and how much time you want to dedicate to each side hustle

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Sidehustlenation

It’s important to plan this ahead. 

Going in without an understanding of how much time you want to allocate on each project or hustle will end up actually wasting your own time. Everyone has a certain amount of time they’re willing to allocate, so figure this out early. 

For example, as a marketer who commonly works with freelancers and agencies, I realized very early on that once I did a few freelance gigs myself, this was not something I could do full-time. 

Even though I do take on a few freelance jobs here and there, my objective is simple here, to make a few hundred dollars. I do not want to build out a 50 person agency nor spend years racking up clients, so I only commit myself to a few jobs every month, spending a maximum of a few hours each week. 

It also means you mix and match your hustles up

I personally know people who decided to take the deep dive into becoming a full-time freelancer only to come back to full-time work. 

They incorrectly assumed that they wanted to dedicate a tonne of time into one hustle only to be burned out. It’s also a reason why I diversify and work on multiple hustles so I can move around and work on different projects. 

This ensures I don’t become disinterested in what I am doing because I can simply move onto a different piece of work when one gets boring. 

Final Note

Hopefully, these three rules help you define your side hustling goals. For me personally, I always believe in diversification (after all, that’s how I trade with my money) on any type of project to minimize risk. 

In my opinion, this can be equally applied to your side hustle adventures to maximize your future returns. 

Overall, though, having multiple side hustles gives you better flexibility with your time over fixating over one. 

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Editor at CornerTech and Marketing @richardfliu on Twitter

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