It could be that you’re looking to make your business idea something you can flourish into a full-time career. Maybe you’re testing the waters to see what sticks before you dive in. Perhaps you’re content in your corporate career but are looking to pursue a passion outside of your job. Or, it could be that you’re looking to just make a little bit of extra cash to supplement your 9-5.
Whatever the case, if you are still working a full-time job, you and I both know that that job always comes first. So the question becomes, how can you still gain recognition, impress leadership, and advance in your career, while you build your side hustle? How can you use the skills you are building in growing a business to your advantage in the workplace?
Over the last two and a half years since starting Lipstick & Ink, I’ve learned the power that comes with having a side hustle and how it not only gives me a sense of purpose but also has helped to raise my profile in the workplace. I’ve been able to not only build my brand but I’ve also been able to excel and grow as a professional in the tech industry. That has included changing roles and departments, as well as landing two promotions. I’ve also learned how to balance both my job and L&I, which you can read about in this post.
If you’re interested in how having a side hustle can actually supercharge your day job and help you stand out in the workplace, read on below!
You Acquire New Skills
Regardless of what your side hustle is, one thing is for certain – you are likely accruing a few new skills to put in your tool box. And guess what? Many of the times, these skills can be applied in your day job.
Whether you’re growing a blog and working on brand partnerships (website, writing, and pitching skills), creating an Etsy shop (designing and product marketing skills), or doing consulting/coaching work (people skills), it’s important to think about what you’re learning and how it can be transferable and applicable to your current job and career. As you grow more confident in your skillset, don’t be afraid to speak up at work and ask for opportunities to utilize your unique skill set. And don’t forget to add these skills to your resume and LinkedIn!
You Boost Your Exposure
Don’t be afraid to share your gifts with the world! The more you open up about what you’re working on and what you offer, the more exposure you get. The exposure and name recognition you can gain will be extremely valuable, especially to companies that may be interested in hiring you.
Make sure you prioritize your digital presence and stay consistent with your content. Focus on developing your thought leadership and expertise so people begin associating you with your work. One of the best ways to do this is through LinkedIn – find out how to use the often-overlooked social platform to your advantage here. By taking these small steps, you’ll ultimately see your network start to grow too, which can mean more exposure and opportunities. Which leads me to my next point…
You Scale Your Network
My network has absolutely exploded since starting L&I. My professional network was tied solely to the advertising industry before, but now it includes fellow side hustlers, bloggers, entrepreneurs, and female powerhouses. As I put myself out there and established my online presence, I was able to form many quality connections virtually, especially via Instagram and LinkedIn, which are two social networks I prioritize to nurture those relationships.
I have also been able to scale my network through prioritizing events that interested me and where I knew I could meet people with the same interests and mindset. At the events I attend (both in-person and virtual), I make an effort to introduce myself and develop genuine relationships. There have even been countless times where contacts I’ve met ended up either becoming good friends of mine or close business contacts to help me get my writing and thought leadership out there!
Push through the uncomfortable and uneasiness that can often accompany with putting yourself out there. It gets easier and will ultimately help you continually meet more people. The exciting part is that you never know who you are going to meet and who may just open a door for you professionally!
You Increase Your Confidence
As you’re gaining new skills, boosting your exposure, and growing your network, your confidence naturally starts to soar. And it will only increase with the positive feedback you receive. That confidence can follow through into the workplace. It may lead you to things like voicing your opinion more with your team, sharing your wins with your manager, and owning your skills in client meetings.
For me, I get anxiety over public speaking and used to get so nervous before client meetings where I was expected to present. Because of hosting L&I events and taking on more speaking opportunities in the last two years, I’ve been able to develop more confidence in myself and my abilities. With those speaking engagements under my belt, I am not nearly as anxious anymore when those meetings come up.
You Become a Better Advocate for Yourself
As your confidence grows, you become a better advocate for yourself in the workplace. When you go to ask for a raise, you’ll go in with the experience of effectively selling yourself as a result of having your side hustle. For example, when I was pitching brands for event sponsorships, I found my confidence growing in how I pitched and presented myself and the L&I brand that I ultimately grew more confident to promote myself in the workplace which has led me to get promoted and also hired onto a new team at my company.
If you feel overwhelmed with your workload at your job, you’ll know when to push back and when to say something to your manager because you’ve learned to set boundaries and manage your work with your side hustle. This year, I found myself working on several global accounts, which meant I was working with both co-workers and clients in Europe. This led to meetings being put on my calendar in the 7am hour range, which was not aligned to my working hours. I told my manager about it and she gave me permission to politely decline those meeting invites and remind my co-workers of my hours. You’re likely looking out for yourself and setting boundaries when it comes to your side hustle – so don’t forget to do the same at your day job!
You Become More Efficient with Your Time
When you have a side hustle, you have to get real selective with how you utilize your time outside of your job. You understand what your time is worth and say no to the things that no longer serve you. Time blocking and batch working become critical to maximizing the little free time you do have. This allows you to work smarter, not harder. Becoming more efficient with your time not only benefits your side hustle but also your day to day at your job. For example, I used to take so long to create Powerpoint decks for client meetings (I’m the epitome of a perfectionist) but I’ve learned that done is better than perfect and that my time can be better spent at work than making minute detail changes to a Powerpoint.
You Bridge the Gap Between Your Professional & Personal Brand
Your professional brand is what matters to an employer, networking contact, or anyone who can help you find a job or grow your career, whereas your personal brand reflects more of who you are as a person. But more and more, companies want to know job candidates and their employees beyond surface level to ensure they can fit in, thrive, and excel in their culture. This is why it’s so important nowadays to show your personality in professional settings.
A side hustle is usually something you take on because you’re extremely interested or passionate about it. And in that regard, your personality and personal brand are infused into your side hustle. Your side hustle also plays with your professional brand too, because you’re developing business skills, confidence, and influence, which provides an opportunity to bring those aspects into the workplace.
One way to bridge the gap between your professional and personal brand is by including your side hustle on your resume and LinkedIn. You can also talk about your side hustle in your elevator pitch to others when discussing your career and experience. By doing this, you begin merging your professional and personal brands and showcasing your well-roundedness. Ultimately, this makes yourself a more enticing job candidate and employee that your company will want to hang on to.
Kelly Nash is a Chicago-based writer, career coach, speaker and founder of Lipstick & Ink®. She also works full-time in technology as a Role Strategy and Employee Engagement Manager at Salesforce and has over 12 years of digital marketing experience. Kelly has been featured in Thrive Global, Chicago Tribune, International Association of Women, General Assembly, Salesforce, and SheFactor. She’s fueled by black coffee, sunshine, a good ink pen, and a bold lip.