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How to Start a Side Hustle When You ‘Don’t Have the Time'
How to Start a Side Hustle When You ‘Don’t Have the Time'
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Money Management

How to Start a Side Hustle When You ‘Don’t Have the Time'

Doris Kendi
November 2, 2021

Are you even human if the idea of financial freedom doesn’t entice you? How about ‘being your own boss?’ We all want that! Even the mention of either of those two makes our hearts race. 

But for many people, it is not realistic to leave the comfort and stability that comes with formal employment. At least not yet. For example, you might have a young family or dependents at home waiting for their daily bread, and the luxury of ‘trying it out in business’ is not a very smart move right now. 

But what if I told you that it is possible to build your dream business while still employed? It is achievable. 

Like the saying goes, ‘If you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything.’ People are doing it, so why can’t you?

Have you ever wondered why some people achieve more than others while we all have the same 24 hours a day? Well, it is the minor changes that make a difference. This article will give tips on better managing time so you can start a side hustle even with an already busy schedule. 

Figure Out What Business to Start

Before you even think about how to run a business amidst your already busy schedule, you first need to know what business you want to start. Obviously! 

There are many options out there. However, it is advisable to pick a hustle that resonates with your passion and interests. Although the income from a side hustle is undoubtedly a key consideration, your interests and passion for the business will by far determine how well you do on the side hustle. 

For example, suppose you do not derive any pleasure from content creation. In that case, it will feel like a punishment to spend hours of your free time researching, putting together ideas, shooting and editing materials for your YouTube channel. 

So pick something that matches your passion and interests, and it will be a fun ride. 

Wake Up an Hour Earlier

I know, this might sound cliché. However, with the 8-5 full-time job and the Nairobi traffic, many people do not have the time to rest and recoup for another day, let alone start another energy-sucking hustle. But progress doesn’t come without a few sacrifices. 

If you want to build a side income while still holding on to the safety and security of a regular job, you will need to make a few sacrifices. A good start is to sacrifice an hour of your sleep every day to build your business. 

This can be either in the evening or most preferably in the morning before leaving for work. Because you are already exhausted in the evening, it will be easier to concentrate on a business milestone in the morning while the mind is fresh and ready for another day on the grind. 

Systematically Eliminate Time Wasters

We all have 24 hours in a day. No more, no less. But some people are always late for important appointments while others work like they have 30 hours a day. Why is that so? Time management. 

How do you manage your time? For example, do you know how much time is spent online liking and commenting on social media posts of that celebrity who ‘is dating the 3rd guy this month?’  Or following the trending tweets of the Nigerians vs. Kenyans of Twitter? 

Well, I am not saying social media is bad, or you shouldn’t keep up with what is happening. But without better time management, you are not likely to build a successful side business while still working your full-time job. 

So, to successfully do so, you need to intentionally find the time-wasters in your life and systematically eliminate them. 

Make Detailed Plans: Set a Weekly Work Schedule 

Do not leave anything to chance. Waking up without a plan is like starting a journey in the jungle without a map. It might be a struggle to stick to a schedule with a full-time job, but that is the only way you will commit and make something out of it. So set a schedule, and stick to it. 

The first step is to define your end goal. What do you want to achieve in five years? Do you want to grow the side hustle and leave your current job? What is the milestone that will mark the success?

After establishing your end goal, break it down into yearly, monthly, weekly, and then daily goals. How many customers should your business acquire weekly? How many pieces of a product should you be able to sell every day to meet your goal? Do you need to get to 100K subscribers on YouTube to mark this milestone? 

Have the goal clear in writing - this is your roadmap. Now set a clear work schedule around this. 

Focus On Achieving One Milestone a Day

Now, with your detailed plan in hand, plan your days. Avoid trying to do many things at once. This will only lead to confusion and, in return, delay your progress.

So, set aside days for product development, testing, developing a marketing strategy, implementing the marketing strategy. Research, reading motivational books, etc. Doing all this at once doesn’t make you efficient. Be strategic. 

Ensure each task is thoroughly completed without any distractions - even if it takes a couple of early mornings.  

Focus More on the Weekends

If you are one of those people who cannot put in much during the week, set aside a specific time during the weekend to work on your business. 

For example, instead of sleeping in on a Saturday morning, plan on waking up early and put in 5 hours of intensive work into your business. This leaves you with the afternoon free to spend time with family and friends. 

Even if you put in some work during the week, it is still vital to do some deep work during the weekend. This way, you will meet your milestones faster and progress to your goal a lot more quickly. 

Conduct a Weekly Milestone Review

Just like there are milestones on the sides of the road to show how far you have gone, reviewing your milestones is an excellent way to check if you are making any progress towards your goal. 

Now, from your weekly work schedules, set aside an hour or so before starting a new week to review the progress made during the week. Ideally, you should do this before you draft the schedule for the following week. 

Take stock of what was completed, and if there is still something pending, do not beat yourself over it. Slot it in the following week and ensure to follow through with it. 

Realize That There Are No Short-Cuts

‘Rome was not built in a day.’ It takes a lot of time and energy to create great things. When it comes to creating a successful side business while you are still busy with your day job, it takes a lot of patience, agility, and hard work. There are no shortcuts, but you have to trust the process. 

If you are one of those who thrive on instant success and quickly get bored if success is not coming soon enough, this endeavor might not be for you. 

For example, building a successful accounting consultancy might take months, if not years, to acquire a single client. 

A YouTube channel will take months to build up the content and get enough subscribers to qualify for monetization. But with resilience, it is doable.


More than anything, your commitment to your hustle will determine if the hustle is successful or not. Every motivational piece out there will tell you to wake up early, commit an hour or two to the business daily, cut off social media, etc. 

But without an intentional personal decision to grow that hustle, all this remains just available information online. Now, the ball is on your court. 

Doris is a finance professional, freelance writer and SEO expert. She has experience helping businesses of all sizes create content that helps improve their site quality and increase their online traffic. She is a personal finance and wealth creation enthusiast and a frequent contributor to Money254. Visit Doris' personal website to learn more about her work.

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