Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

5 Tips for Building your Business on the Side


A Side Hustler is someone who has a full-time job, while also running a business on the side. It's not just a trend—it's a growing community. Truthfully, people want a purpose-filled life, and often they can't get that from their day job. So, what do they do? They seek and create their own opportunities to create the life that they want.

That side hustler can be anyone — in fact, it could even be your colleague you're close to at work. Some are transparent about their side projects, and some tend to keep that information on the down low for obvious reasons. I know this, because I too am a side hustler — the truth is out.

I have a full time job where I work as a UI/UX designer for a mobile company, and work part-time on my business as a brand strategist — I help creative entrepreneurs build a brand that reflects who they are, and their mission.

I've been keeping my so-called secret on the down low for a while, and I've decided to shake things up. I want to let people know that they are not alone, and that it is possible to run a side business while having a full-time job. I understand the importance of keeping a full-time job and that it's not easy. Hell — sometimes I wonder why I got myself into this when I could have easily picked the easier route. Sometimes I feel like giving up, because there's so much to do and there's not enough time in the day.

But I refuse to give up and follow the norm of what society tells us to do: wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, commute to work, sit in your cube from 9 to 5, drive home in traffic, make dinner, clean up, watch TV and repeat. I won't even mention what it's like to have kids. You're on autopilot, it's mindless and leaves you feeling like shit. Yeah, I get it.

I also know this: having a purpose-based project leaves you feeling like you've done something good for the world, and more importantly, for yourself. It feels good, and you want to do more of it. Also, you're taking the time to learn, which is key in keeping your life active, and more enjoyable. It's a project to your exit route — which in my mind, is one of the smartest things you can do to set your business up for success.

In addition, you are responsible for paying the bills like rent, food, entertainment — things that are needed in life. It's not like you can drop everything to pursue your passion. While that may work for others — let's be realistic, you need a backup plan to your Plan A, Plan C to your Plan B, Plan D to Plan C. (Tweet this)

Also, don't be fooled by the media. You may see people who are focusing on their purpose-based business while their significant others work at a full-time job — and you might wonder, "Why doesn't this happen to me?" I used to wonder until I investigated and asked the right questions, and here's what I've gathered happens in those situations:

  • Significant other makes enough money, and it's okay for one of them to work from home. While this may be a dreamy option, life is not a fairytale and you gotta bust your ass to make shit happen.

  • Obvious reasons such as having a family and having it make sense to take charge at home.


The whole point is not to make any assumptions until you know the truth. Besides, this shouldn't even matter and should be the least of your concerns. Focus on your side of the grass, and keep it green.

Moving on...

How do you side-hustle while having a full-time job? Or more like, how the hell do I do it? I don't know the answer — I'm still learning and I don't think I'll ever know the "right" answer. Here's what I've learned:

1. Work/Life balance is a myth but taking care of yourself is not. The reason why we side-hustle is to create the life that we want — to break free from the 9 to 5 and take care of what's important: you. To side-hustle and work full-time without taking care of yourself is a recipe for failure. Taking care of business starts with taking care of yourself.

Do this: Prioritize a self-care regimen in your everyday activities such as a workout, cooking up a storm, going for a walk, or taking a break from your phone. An hour self-care ritual will create huge returns in your favour. (Tweet This)


2. You'll feel the urge to give up everyday. And when you do, always revisit your why.

Do this: Purchase my all-time favourite book, "Start with Why" by Simon Sinek or, if you don't have the time, watch his video. It'll help you be inspired to bring your idea to life.


3. You can do anything, but you can't do everything. You're not a machine who works around the clock 24/7 — don't be afraid to ask for help and outsource "things" that drive you insane. For example: I love writing, but I hate editing, so I hand that over to someone who can do this for me. It's game-changing and makes my life easier. My next goal is to hire my dream virtual assistant who can take care of other things. The whole point is to do more of what makes you excited, and the things that don't excite you? Ask for help, and outsource them to someone else who will do a better job than you.

Do this: Grab a notepad and write down all the things that you are doing in your business. Then, circle the items that you don't like doing (or feel like are preventing you from doing what you love to do). Pick your top three, and find a solution to outsource.


4. Find your people. Being a side-hustler can be lonely, and a hard journey — your mind likes to play all sorts of games and tell you stupid shit like, "what the hell are you doing? stick to your job, it's easier!" The best way to overcome these limiting beliefs is to have a support system that gets and understands you — who will tell you, "Good job! You got this!" or "I understand your frustration. Maybe you need to change your strategy about X and give Y a try to get to Z."

Do this: Find a fentor (Friend + Mentor) who can be your friend but also your mentor. It's important to have someone who will support you along the way, but also tell you the truth and help you quit the limiting beliefs.


5. Choose your projects wisely. Keep in mind that you still have a day job which technically means you have full control of what projects you'd like to work on. Also, it's nice to have a "security blanket" to pay the bills while working on projects that truly excite you. I'd rather work with 1-2 clients on big projects than work with 5-6 clients on small projects because I need to pay the bills.

Do this: Learn to say "no" to projects that don't excite you, instead choosing projects that you can work on for 3-4 months with one client. It's all about building trust, respect (it lasts longer than attention), and lasting relationships.


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