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The Art of the Side Hustle: How to start your own marketing business while you hold down the day job

Taking the leap from a 9-to-5  — with the health insurance, 401K and actual, reliable paycheck — to start your own marketing business can feel daunting, at best. But maybe you don’t have to leap … maybe you can just shimmy. Starting up your own small business on the side while maintaining that full-time safety net is a great way to pursue your dreams without compromising your financial security.

The best way to get started? Be realistic and intentional.

The side hustle is all the rage right now, but that doesn’t mean you should plan to work two jobs indefinitely. No one can hustle forever! Start with a plan to make that side hustle the main hustle within a certain time frame, whether it’s 6 months or a year or a little longer. (Original iMarketer Samantha side-hustled it for four years before she fully leapt.) Then, figure out the details, such as how many clients you need to land or how much income you need to earn in order to make that plan a reality. Consider this your exit plan to avoid full-on burnout central.

If you’re in a significant relationship, keep the lines of communication wide open as you make this transition. You’ll need that emotional support behind you. It’s important to set up clear and fair expectations of boundaries and how much time you’ll devote to the hustle game. Good communication up front cuts back on the all-around frustration level as thing get busy.

Because, let’s be real: you’re already busy, aren’t you? You’re already working during the day, checking messages at night, shuttling the kids to soccer and ballet, running all-the-errands, doing all-the-things, and now you’re gonna hustle even more?? No, something’s going to have to give.

Maybe you give up that volunteer board position, you start having your groceries delivered or you hire that cleaning lady you’ve always pined after. Do what you can to create some breathing room in your life so you don’t start to feel suffocated by the added work.

When all else fails, ask. for. help. Honestly, we could all be better at that, right? Sometimes we forget that it takes a village, but it does. And your village — your friends, your family, your neighbors — would be happy to step up and help you pursue your dream. Share your excitement with your loved ones and don’t be afraid to ask for specifics: Your mom can babysit once a week, your hubby can manage the monthly Costco excursion  and your best friend can drop off a gallon of milk when you realize it’s been a bit too long since you saw the inside of a grocery store.

As long as we’re hitting on the need to be honest with your village, remember to also be honest with yourself — and your current employer. Believe us, we know how tempting it is to sneak in a coffee meeting with a potential client during the work day or use your office computer to respond to a quick email. Resist the temptation. Don’t let the lines between your main job and your iMarketer side hustle start to blur. Protect your integrity and employer’s time and resources by carving time out of your personal schedule for the new business.  

If you’re looking for a little extra inspiration, pick up a copy of Jon Acuff’s “Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, and Do Work That Matters.” Of course, there’s also the iMarketer Blueprint (now only $10!), which has all the guidance you need to start hustlin’.

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