12 Expert Strategies to Fire Up Your Side Gig Without Burning Out

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A side hustle isn’t for the faint of heart or weak of will. It takes hard work and diligence to keep showing up and putting in the hours to earn that extra income.

But when you’re working a side gig on top of a day job, burnout is almost inevitable. If you know how to work smarter — not harder — you can watch for sign of burnout and avoid hitting a wall of emotional exhaustion.

We asked entrepreneurs and side hustlers about the smartest strategies they use to combat and prevent side job burnout. Here’s their advice to you.

1. Passion prevents burnout

Choose a side hustle that aligns with your passions and talents. “Like any other career or job, avoiding fatigue while side hustling necessitates a certain passion for what you’re doing,” says Sarah Al-Khayyal, whose side gigs include fashion blogging and running an Etsy shop.

Chasing after odd jobs or performing menial tasks will quickly lead to burnout, Al-Khayyal says. “You’re better off investing in projects that you actually enjoy, which will not only be a more sustainable commitment but also likely more profitable.”

2. Avoid overlap between jobs

On top of being enjoyable, a sustainable side hustle should have little overlap with your main gig.  Look for something that uses different types of skills, energy, and brainpower than your day job.

“Choose something that’s different and exciting enough to keep life interesting,” says Mike McRitchie, a career and small business strategist. “That helps reduce both boredom and burnout.”

If you have a sedentary desk job by day, maybe a physically active side gig like personal training is for you. For a day job that requires you to work in solitude, you might enjoy a more social side hustle like bartending or driving for a ridesharing service.

3. Choose a scalable business model

“As there are only 24 hours in a day, a flat ‘time equals money’ equation will soon yield a maximum income,” says Evan Harris, co-founder of real estate finance company SD Equity Partners.

He adds, “The scalability test is essentially this: Can you figure out a way to use your increased time spent in a way that yields a higher rate of return per hour worked?”

For instance, selling digital products requires much less work and overhead than handcrafted goods, Al-Khayyal points out.

“[Digital items] primarily require inputs on the front end before becoming evergreen products that can continue to make you money for months (or years) to come after you launch it,” she says.

4. Start small and ramp up slowly

When you’re excited about a new side gig, you’ll want to dump all your time, money, and energy into the project. But beware of this initial enthusiasm: “You are sure to either burnout or waste money,” says Dawn Roberts, a business consultant and owner of Dawn Roberts Consulting.

To avoid flaming out before you really get going, start small and use the early stages to test different ideas.

“Start only with the essentials, especially if it costs money,” Roberts suggests. “Build one block at a time, spending enough time on each block so that it is effective, not hurrying through each step to just get going.”

5. Keep side hustle commitments manageable

When you’re your own boss, the work never ends. There will always be some task to work on for your side hustle — but you can’t let it take over your life.

“I’ve made the mistake repeatedly of trying to dedicate three hours a day to side hustles, but it ends up being too much with my standard working hours,” says Joe Robison, an SEO consultant and founder of Green Flag Digital.

Instead, “Set aside something small, like 20 minutes a day or 3 hours on a Saturday,” Robison suggests. Even with a time limit, “You’ll often find yourself going beyond this time once you start doing the work.”

6. Enlist a business partner

Going it alone has its perks, but working with someone else can be invaluable.

“Bring in a friend on the project and alternate responsibilities,” Harris advises. Working with a partner provides a second mind to strategize and find solutions, holds you accountable, and allows you to switch off on tedious tasks.

Choose a side hustle partner who is qualified, hard-working, and trustworthy. “Expanding with a friend or partner is much better than finding a random person to trust your side hustle with!” Harris adds.

7. Build a support network

Expanding your network and connecting with other side hustlers can provide stress-busting social support. “Join a group of others who are pursuing their own side hustles,” Robison says.

You can find these folks in an industry forum, mastermind group, MeetUp event, or through another side-hustling friend. “By keeping the conversation flowing with like-minded individuals, you can keep motivated and punch through the tough periods,” Robison adds.

8. Watch for signs of job burnout

With a side hustle, you are your most important asset. Make sure you’re checking in with yourself and catching signs of burnout early.

“One of the biggest signs of side hustle fatigue is an apathetic attitude to your work,” Harris says. If you feel worn down, tired, frantic, or like you’re always scrambling, those are other common warning signs of burnout.

9. Take time to rest and recharge

“Nothing leads to burnout faster than an endless treadmill of work on a regular schedule,” says Lyn Alden, founder of Lyn Alden Investment Strategy. “It ends up always feeling like you have something to do, and that you always have an imminent deadline, whether it’s external or self-imposed.”

To avoid this, alternate times of intense work with rest and relaxation, and consistently make time for self-care. “Don’t neglect recharging yourself with rest and fun, as this is important to keeping your creativity running high!” Roberts adds.

10. Prioritize with the 80/20 rule

Another important principle is doing the most important things first. “You won’t have much time to spare, so you need to use it all very wisely,” Roberts says. “Keep running priority lists for your side hustle, and do the highest-value activities primarily, leaving the lower-value ones for later.”

Al-Khayyal says she uses the 80/20 principle, which “suggests that 80% of your results come from 20% of your work.”

Once you’ve identified which tasks are most profitable, “concentrate your time and energy on those specific things,” she suggests. “Shed the unnecessary layers and make sure that everything you’re doing serves a purpose.”

11. Automate and outsource what you can

“Entrepreneurs tend to have this superhero complex where they try to do everything themselves (myself included), and it actually causes you to be the bottleneck of your side hustle,” says Sterling Graham, owner of men’s health blog Chains to Gains.

“Find a part of your side hustle that you find the most time-consuming [or] that you actually dislike doing, and see about outsourcing this one specific thing,” he suggests.

If it’s not something you can outsource, look for other solutions. “Develop tools or systems to eliminate routine parts of the job,” Alden suggests.

For instance, she created templates for important graphs, so that she can simply plug in new data to get a new result. If there are tools that would automate or simplify a task, consider investing in them.

12. Know when to cut your losses

When you get side job burnout, it might be time to consider this a sign of bigger problems.

“Due to the ‘quitters never win’ mentality in society, most side hustlers spend too long on one project that is not working,” says Jason Lavis, managing director of online marketing agency Out of the Box Innovations.

“Sometimes the venture becomes a depressing test of rejection endurance. Later on, it becomes obvious that the project was never going to work anyway,” he adds.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you quite outright, but you should stay aware of your efforts and results and recognize when to switch gears. “It is better to see side hustles as a series of experiments, with fixed budgets, time periods, and exit points,” Lavis says.

Are you interested in starting a new side hustle? Get ideas for flexible side jobs here.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 8 lenders of 2019!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.

Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.45% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.99% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.89% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of November 21, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.

Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.

The information provided on this page is updated as of 11/21/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at hello@earnest.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.

© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.


2 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 3.46% APR (with AutoPay) to 7.61% APR (without AutoPay). Variable rates currently from 2.31% APR (with AutoPay) to 7.61% (without AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.31% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 2.31% plus 0.75% margin minus 0.25% for AutoPay. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your credit history and the term of the loan and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

3 Important Disclosures for Figure.

Figure Disclosures

Figure’s Student Refinance Loan is a private loan. If you refinance federal loans, you forfeit certain flexible repayment options associated with those loans. If you expect to incur financial hardship that would impact your ability to repay, you should consider federal consolidation alternatives.


4 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Mortgage lending is not offered in Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.

ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE (“APR”)
This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.

FEE INFORMATION

There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties associated with the loan. Lender may assess a late fee if any part of a payment is not received within 15 days of the payment due date. Any late fee assessed shall not exceed 5% of the late payment or $28, whichever is less. A borrower may be charged $20 for any payment (including a check or an electronic payment) that is returned unpaid due to non-sufficient funds (NSF) or a closed account.

LOAN AMOUNT

For bachelor’s degrees and higher, up to 100% of outstanding private and federal student loans (minimum $5,000) are eligible for refinancing. If you are refinancing greater than $300,000 in student loan debt, Lender may refinance the loans into 2 or more new loans.
For eligible Associates degrees in the healthcare field (see Eligibility & Eligible Loans section below), Lender will refinance up to $50,000 in loans for non-ParentPlus refinance loans. Note, parents who are refinancing loans taken out on behalf of a child who has obtained an associates degrees in an eligible healthcare field are not subject to the $50,000 loan maximum, refer to https://www.laurelroad.com/refinance-student-loans/refinance-parent-plus-loans/ for more information about refinancing ParentPlus loans.

ELIGIBILITY & ELIGIBLE LOANS

Borrower, and Co-signer if applicable, must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident with a valid I-551 card (which must show a minimum of 10 years between “Resident Since” date and “Card Expires” date or has no expiration date); state that they are of at least borrowing age in the state of residence at the time of application; and meet Lender underwriting criteria (including, for example, employment, debt-to-income, disposable income, and credit history requirements).

Graduates may refinance any unsubsidized or subsidized Federal or private student loan that was used exclusively for qualified higher education expenses (as defined in 26 USC Section 221) at an accredited U.S. undergraduate or graduate school. Any federal loans refinanced with Lender are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment.

All loans must be in grace or repayment status and cannot be in default. Borrower must have graduated or be enrolled in good standing in the final term preceding graduation from an accredited Title IV U.S. school and must be employed, or have an eligible offer of employment. Parents looking to refinance loans taken out on behalf of a child should refer to https://www.laurelroad.com/refinance-student-loans/refinance-parent-plus-loans/ for applicable terms and conditions.

For Associates Degrees: Only associates degrees earned in one of the following are eligible for refinancing: Cardiovascular Technologist (CVT); Dental Hygiene; Diagnostic Medical Sonography; EMT/Paramedics; Nuclear Technician; Nursing; Occupational Therapy Assistant; Pharmacy Technician; Physical Therapy Assistant; Radiation Therapy; Radiologic/MRI Technologist; Respiratory Therapy; or Surgical Technologist. To refinance an Associates degree, a borrower must also either be currently enrolled and in the final term of an associate degree program at a Title IV eligible school with an offer of employment in the same field in which they will receive an eligible associate degree OR have graduated from a school that is Title IV eligible with an eligible associate and have been employed, for a minimum of 12 months, in the same field of study of the associate degree earned.

INTEREST RATES

The interest rate you are offered will depend on your credit profile, income, and total debt payments as well as your choice of fixed or variable and choice of term. For applicants who are currently medical or dental residents, your rate offer may also vary depending on whether you have secured employment for after residency.

DISBURSEMENT OPTIONS

The repayment of any refinanced student loan will commence (1) immediately after disbursement by us, or (2) after any grace or in-school deferment period, existing prior to refinancing and/or consolidation with us, has expired.

POSTPONING OR REDUCING PAYMENTS

After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship.

We may agree under certain circumstances to allow a borrower to make $100/month payments for a period of time immediately after loan disbursement if the borrower is employed full-time as an intern, resident, or similar postgraduate trainee at the time of loan disbursement. These payments may not be enough to cover all of the interest that accrues on the loan. Unpaid accrued interest will be added to your loan and monthly payments of principal and interest will begin when the post-graduate training program ends.

We may agree under certain circumstances to allow postponement (deferral) of monthly payments of principal and interest for a period of time immediately following loan disbursement (not to exceed 6 months after the borrower’s graduation with an eligible degree), if the borrower is an eligible student in the borrower’s final term at the time of loan disbursement or graduated less than 6 months before loan disbursement, and has accepted an offer of (or has already begun) full-time employment.

If Lender agrees (in its sole discretion) to postpone or reduce any monthly payment(s) for a period of time, interest on the loan will continue to accrue for each day principal is owed. Although the borrower might not be required to make payments during such a period, the borrower may continue to make payments during such a period. Making payments, or paying some of the interest, will reduce the total amount that will be required to be paid over the life of the loan. Interest not paid during any period when Lender has agreed to postpone or reduce any monthly payment will be added to the principal balance through capitalization (compounding) at the end of such a period, one month before the borrower is required to resume making regular monthly payments.

KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

This information is current as of November 8, 2019 and is subject to change.


5 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.

Splash Financial Disclosures

Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers.


6 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 1.76% effective November 10, 2019.


7 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

LendKey Disclosures

Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it  endorse,  any educational institution.

Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of  5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.

As of 11/07/2019 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.90% to 8.65% Variable APR with AutoPay and 3.49% to 7.75% Fixed APR with AutoPay.

 


8 Important Disclosures for College Ave.

College Ave Disclosures

College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.

1College Ave Refi Education loans are not currently available to residents of Maine.

2All rates shown include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.

3$5,000 is the minimum requirement to refinance. The maximum loan amount is $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary doctorate degrees, and $150,000 for all other undergraduate or graduate degrees.

4This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

Information advertised valid as of 12/1/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.

1.99% – 6.89%1Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Earnest

2.31% – 7.36%2Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

2.21% – 6.21%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Figure

1.99% – 6.65%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Laurel Road

2.43% – 7.60%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

1.85% – 6.13%6Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit CommonBond

1.90% – 8.65%7Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Lendkey

2.37% – 5.87%8Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit College Ave

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

Published in Career & Jobs, Make More Money, Side Hustles

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