How to start an engineering side hustle while working full time

How to start an engineering side hustle while working full time?

Jacintha Verdegaal

Why would you want to start a side hustle if you already have a full time job? Maybe you’re looking for more financial freedom and want to make some extra money. Is an engineering side hustle your way to support your true passion? Or maybe you want to get more experience in a certain area before making a career change. Whatever your reason is, starting a side hustle while you’re also working full time can be challenging. But also very rewarding. If you’re ready to start your engineering side hustle, then these tips will help.

What do you love to do?

You’re about to spend valuable time working on something outside your day job. Time you could spend on your friends, family or anything else that’s important to you. So you better make sure you enjoy it! What is it that you love doing and would love to get paid for?

This doesn’t have to be completely different from your day job. If you’re working as an engineer but would love to work in a different field or work on challenges where you can use your skills, you can do that as your side hustle. Also think about what you’re good at. What are the skills that you’d like to monetize? Finding something that you love and are good at is the first step to success.

In a previous post we shared the best side hustles for engineers to make extra money.

Why do you want an engineering side hustle?

There are many reasons why someone would want to start a side hustle. It doesn’t matter what your reason is as long as you know what it is. Otherwise it’s too easy to give up when things don’t work out immediately as you’d hoped.

A huge benefit of having a side hustle while still working full time is that you can build something for yourself while also having the securities and income that being employed brings. But it’s still work, so you need to be committed and understand what your goals are.

Find one paying customer

If you know what you want to do and why, then the first step is to simply start. It doesn’t sound simple, but it actually is. You just need to start. Don’t spend too much time building your business on paper or creating a website, but test if people are actually willing to pay for what you’re offering.

Many companies fail because they thought they had a great idea, but nobody was looking for it. So don’t make that mistake. Building your network, growing the number of customers and making more money comes next. First, find one person who not only says you have something great to offer, but is also willing to pay for it. And always ask for feedback!

Build your network through freelance platforms

The first paying customer is great! You might find him or her through your personal or professional network. But now you need more customers. Finding customers can be very time consuming and as you’re still working full time, that’s time you don’t have. You want to spend time doing what you love, nothing else.

This is where freelance platforms can help. They make it very easy to find people who are looking for what you have to offer. Check with other freelancers in your field what platform they like using and why. Be critical before signing up and look into what percentage they’ll take from what you’re making. And if you need to bid on projects or negotiate your prices. Also, what are the chances you get to work on what you like doing?

At Tasker we match engineers (many of them with full time jobs) with engineering tasks and short-term projects. You can update your availability any time and work when you’re available. Plus we contact you when there’s a match and we want to introduce you to our client. So no need to bid on projects or constantly check if a new opportunity has been posted.

Understand your availability for a side hustle while working full time

Speaking of availability, this is probably the biggest challenge for starting a side hustle with a full time job. Do you know how much time you can realistically spend on your side gig?

Your side hustle is going to take time away from other things and people in your life. And as long as you’re still employed, it can’t interfere with your responsibilities at work.

So take a close look at your schedule, your activities and responsibilities. How much time can you free up? And how much are you willing to give up? Are you willing to work in evenings and on the weekend? And how much flexibility does your full time job offer? Would your boss be open to more flexible working hours for example?

Find a balance between working on your side hustle and your full time job

Balance is not something you’re going to experience from day one, but it is something you should strive for. Because as much as a side hustle can offer you financial freedom, career opportunities or your first step to becoming your own boss, you don’t want to end up with a burnout or feeling drained all the time. It’s not worth it and it’s not necessary.

There are only so many hours in a day. It’s up to you to prioritize. What is most important to you?

Don’t push yourself too hard and find a way of working that works for you. The flexibility of a side hustle is what makes it attractive, but combined with a full time job, you’re going to need some sort of routine to get everything done. A routine and self-discipline. To work on your side hustle, but also to relax and have fun.

A side hustle can help you to build the life you want, so work hard for it but don’t forget to enjoy it!

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