Call it whatever you want, but the gig economy is on the rise and more than likely here to stay. Where our parents look for a promotion with their full-time jobs, today workers lucky enough to have a place to go to from 9 to 5 are just hoping their heads are safe when the axe inevitably swings again. In this climate, a second job – AKA a side hustle or gig – represents an invaluable opportunity to save money and, more importantly, deepen skill sets for future roles.

According to Statistics Canada, approximately 21.5 per cent of Canada’s overall work force, or 4.2 million Canadians, are classified as either self-employed or as temporary employees. That number is expected to only grow in coming years. Bid a fond and proper farewell to the mythic work-life balance, and get ready to do the hustle … the side hustle, that is.

Find your passion

Working two jobs is going to be a grind. You’ll be pursuing your side hustle after busy workdays, weekends, and basically whenever you have free time, so if you’re doing something you love, it should be simply to motivate yourself.

Focus on passions that can realistically bring in an income. List everything you can possibly think of, even if it strikes you as ridiculous. Video games, writing, that instrument you play, baking … everything has the potential to make you money provided you have the creativity, imagination, and will to follow through.

It’s also crucial to ask yourself if your side hustle is worth the time and effort. A second job that earns you little in the way of income but still offers you the opportunity to develop skills and acquire experience relevant to your long-term career might be worth it. If, on the other hand, your goal is purely to supplement your income, you’ll probably want to keep looking.

Just be clear with yourself about what you’re after: extra income; the pursuit of a passion with the hope that it can become your full-time job; or both.

Keep your employer in mind

If you’re looking for work on the side, it’s best to talk with your employers and let them know – especially if your side gig competes with your current job. Not only will it help you avoid any potential conflicts of interest, but transparency will help manage your employer’s expectations of you. You’ll want to reassure your manager that you’ll continue to perform at the same high level as you always have, and that your full-time job will continue to be a priority.

Crucially, do not let your side hustle impact the quality of your work performance at your full-time job. You’ve got to dance with the one who brought you, and that’s your employer – the one who’s probably providing you with both benefits and a larger paycheque. Let your performance suffer and your side gig might just become your full-time job sooner than you expected.

And, while you might be tempted to work on your gig at work, don’t. You’re there to provide value in exchange for the money they pay you and using company printers, phones, and computers for your own projects is a quick way to earn you the distrust of your colleagues and managers.

Get organized

According to the Financial Post, almost 959,000 Canadians worked at least two jobs in 2015. Of those, over 40 per cent reported working more than 50 hours a week. To balance that kind of lifestyle, and to make sure you’re giving your jobs the necessary effort and attention, you need to be organized.

Give yourself time every week to plan your work and social schedule for the next seven days and beyond. Looking at the big picture of your workload will help you identify priorities and deadlines and allow you to work more efficiently and alleviate potential stress. If you want to meet friends for dinner on a Thursday night, you’ll know in advance that you’ll need to spend more time Tuesday evening working.

If you have a full-time job, focus on your availability for that job and adapt the other to suit that schedule. When are you at your most productive? Do you work better in the evenings? Or on Saturday afternoons? Whatever the time, try to take on your side hustle during those times in order to establish a routine that will feel natural.

One outcome of working multiple jobs is that you’re going to have less time to keep your home in order. Dishes and laundry will pile up while dust bunnies will colonize your space if left unattended, and you’re not going to want to spend a free day catching up on household tasks. Prioritizing tasks – like doing dishes and laundry – will make it easier to stay on top of your home. Spread other chores, like dusting and vacuuming, out over the week. If you have a roommate or family members, delegate household activities.

Take a break and treat yourself

Working over 50 hours a week, on multiple jobs, can deplete your mental and emotional resources, and taking some time off will give you the space to recharge. Don’t stress if you spend your free time binge-watching an entire season of that new show all your friends won’t shut up about. You’ve earned your break. Create more space emotionally between your time off and work by unplugging from it all – leave that computer and mobile phone out of sight.

Let yourself enjoy the fruits of your labour too. A second job probably means you’ll be earning some additional income. Pay down some debt, buy that guitar you’ve been eyeing, contribute to your retirement fund – do something with the money that allows you to see a concrete and tangible result of all your hard work.

The gig economy is our new reality but while more work might be the last thing we want, it can, if approached with thought and handled with care, prove far more rewarding than we could ever expect. After all, if that side hustle blossoms into a second career, one that adds value to your life beyond a paycheque, won’t all those hours have been worth it?

To make sure you don’t miss out on great side gigs, create a job alert to get notified of a new opening.

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