5 Things Full-Time Employees Should Consider Before Starting a Side Gig

Published on: February 12, 2021

Full-time employees are always at disadvantage. No matter how hard you try, your employer will find a way to pin you down with policies.

Starting a side gig creates a whole new experience for you. You get an opportunity to interact with new people, and in the process, you experience true freedom.

This means you can make your passion, hobby, skill, or experience your job. You can also choose to work when you want, and the amount you want to be paid for it.

In this post, I will show you the five things to consider before starting a side gig.

But first, what is a side gig?

What is a Side Gig?

A side gig is another means of making money that is done alongside your main job or primary source of income. People mostly do side gigs to cushion their finances. Some others that are bent on making their job their joy are doing it for the love of their hobbies, skills, and expertise.

Over the years, side gigs have become increasingly popular, particularly among millennials.

A report by SunTrust Bank shows that millennials make about $10,972 on an average every year through side gigs. They make more than Gen Xers, who make about $8,791, and baby boomers with $5,892.

The report further pointed out that more than 55% of the people surveyed across different age groups and income had a side hustle.

Recent data by Bankrate dug deeper to understand why people cling to side-gigging. It shows that almost 35% of side hustlers need disposable income for spending and 30% need it for paying for their regular living expenses.

How Employed Side Husters Use Their Extra Income

What this translates to is that people engage in side gigs to achieve financial freedom and live their best life ever.

Do you like the idea of having a side gig but are scared to get yourself into it because you're a full-time employee? Or you think you don't have the perfect idea of a service to sell, or that you won't have time to work on side projects?

Not to worry. Starting a side gig as a full-time employee shouldn't be that difficult.

Here are things to consider before doing so.

5 Things Full-Time Employees Should Consider Before Starting a Side Gig

1. Turn your skills to a profitable value

Almost all hobbies and skills are profitable if you carefully identify the value in it and the target clients to sell it to.

First, you need to research your skills from the business point of view. You can start by looking at the skill you already offer your current employer or learn from those that already offer the service.

This step shapes your mind of the value you're bringing to the table, helps you set your unique value proposition, and guides you so you don't waste time on no-guaranteed success.

Then you'll test your new business idea from the client's perspective. 

  1. Do your clients have the ability to pay for that service?
  2. Do they have the willingness to pay for it?

If these responses are yes, then check what it takes to carve out an edge in this space. Do you need extra training, professional certification, or just a portfolio to kick-off your earning?

For instance, a ventriloquist doesn't need a certification to begin entertaining people. You don't need a degree to walk a dog either. But graphics designers, Excel experts, or technical writers might need some certification and a portfolio to begin the hustle.

So that you don't waste the little available time you have as a full-time employee, start by ensuring the profitability of your skills, hobby, or passion.

2. Time and energy needed for the task

You're still working full-time so you need to consider the time and energy you'll expand on with your side gig.

This is perhaps the best time to revisit your employee handbook because you don't want your employer to sue you for letting your side gig overlap with your main job.

Will it require 24 hours of attention or a few hours weekly? And how much effort do you need to put into it?

For instance, a side gig of doing spoken word poetry at a local cafe every Thursday night, blogging, or photography may require little time and energy compared to a side gig in real estate, supply chain, or driving an Uber.

However, this is more about your level of expertise and time management. Though generally, remote side gigs are easy to do if you have these skills. For instance, you could complete a blog post or two after your day job.

And if you work night shifts, you can walk a pet to chill out after paying back your sleep debt during the day.

All you need is to plan your time, understand what works for your body, and identify how you can plug your side gig into it.

3. Balances pay and effort

Most people choose the side gig route to increase their income.

Unless you're side-gigging for the fun of it, you must ensure that the payment you get from your effort is commensurate to the effort you put into the project.

If not at first, there should at least be a potential of earning more than the effort put into the work.

You can later raise your pay by building your credibility and know-how, and even ask your client to refer you to their friends.

Also, you can sell your services in packages and employ the services of other freelancers to get a cut from their pay as a referral fee.

For instance, if you're a content writer, you can sell your skill in a package that includes graphic design, and hire a freelance graphics designer for half what you've charged your client for the service.

As time goes on, you may build a team for your business. By having a team of freelancers do the bulk of the work, you can focus on marketing your services and closing deals with clients.

4. Love the services you render

As a newbie in the side-hustling sphere, it will be difficult to move through that premium fee ladder. And combining it with your full-time job will make it worse.

You'll work hard and put effort into achieving that premium level. While you put in the effort, only one thing will motivate you—that's the love for what you're doing.

Before joining the side-gigging bandwagon, ask yourself if you love the service you're about to render. You'll quickly burn out if you don't love doing the task, particularly if it's a stressful and technical gig.

For instance, though you love business analytics, you wouldn't stay up at night to analyze customer insights data, but you'd keep the coffee by your side to write about it all night.

5. Allow yourself to explore your passion

Another good thing about having a side gig is that it lets you channel your skill to any industry of your passion.

Let's say, as a full-time employee, you provide business analytics services to clients in the manufacturing industry, but your passion is in the fashion space.

You can decide to provide similar services to clients in the fashion industry. That way, you can explore your passion without anyone questioning it.

Before you light your side-gigging torch, ensure that it allows you to explore your passion to the core. Because passion drives enthusiasm. And you can eventually turn that single skill into multiple valuable products that you can continue to profit from even when you decide to retire. 


Side gigs are easy to start when you have a full-time job.

The pressure of paying your bills won't distract you so you can calmly and carefully choose your path, get resources to walk through it, and steadily hit the jackpot, all while still at your full-time job.

And when you attain that steady flow of income from your side gig, you'll be immune to some policies that the HR personnel might present to you. You'll also be free to make some bold decisions about your career.

Starting a side gig while maintaining a full-time job is golden. Learn from the words of Winston Churchill: "Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm."

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Owen McGab Enaohwo

Owen McGab Enaohwo

Career Advice Contributor

Owen McGab Enaohwo is the CEO and Co-Founder of SweetProcess; an easy-to-use and intuitive business process management software founded in 2013. The software makes it possible for company executives and their employees to collaborate together to quickly document standard operating procedures, processes, and policies.

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