I bet when you started thinking about developing a side hustle, you barely gave your day job a second thought. It’s either the thing you want to escape from or, at least, the opposite of the hobby you want to turn into something meaningful. You don’t even want to think about it while you’re not there.

Here’s some news, though: Your day job could well be one of the biggest and best resources for building your side hustle. (Click here to tweet this thought.) Trying these three things during your 9-to-5 will assist you to no end:


Look for the Things That Will Help You in Your Side Hustle

A portion of what you do in your day job, no matter how great that job is, will be dull. But you can still use it to benefit your side hustle.

Odds are that bits of your hustle are going to be dull, too. You can apply what you’ve learned at the day job to your side hustle — not just about doing the dull bits, but managing them within your overall work routine. Consider these similarities:

  • Spent hours on data entry? Logging your freelance client info is never a bad idea.
  • Dragged yourself out of bed when all you really wanted was one more day in the weekend? You’ll still need to get up and serve your clients as a freelancer, especially on those days you’ve trained your clients to know you’re only available.
  • Ordered stationery for the office? Who else is going to rock on over to OfficeMax when you run out of printer ink or coffee?

Trust me, those skills are never not going to be handy.

Speaking of handy, here’s a hint: If your work has a process in place for something you need to get better at in your side hustle, crib from it! Why reinvent a wheel that you know runs smoothly from direct experience? (Just avoid reproducing the process’s written instructions, as your day job most likely has copyright on those.)


Find the Things You’d Like to Do More Of

I will lay good odds that even in a job you despise, you can find some element of it that you look forward to. Analyze that element (or even those elements) and see if there’s some way of making your job more about them, or even carrying them over into your side hustle.

Until recently, I never thought of myself as a copywriter. Then I got talking with a client who always struggled with submitting new ad concepts. I made a time later in the week when we could both spend a quarter of an hour on the phone. When the appointed time came around, I made copious notes of our conversation, which led to my presenting the client with some brand new ideas. Both the client and the account manager were impressed!

Now that I understand what the job actually involves, I’m more confident about putting “copywriting” as a skill in my resume and that I’ll probably enjoy any work I get. On top of that, I’m looking for more opportunities to employ those skills at the day job!


Talk to the People You Work With

Yeah, I know. This one is sort of scary. How do you broach the subject of your side hustle with your colleagues without risking someone thinking that you’re not 100% a Company Wo/Man? One good tip is to talk about it like a hobby, like gardening.Forget the “side hustle” aspect of it and just talk about how it gives you joy.

Why is talking about your side hustle a good idea? For starters, you never know quite who might know someone who’s looking to employ your talents.

For seconds, it’ll help you get along better with your coworkers, who will start seeing you as someone who gives a shit about things outside the working realm. Looking like a well-rounded person has side effects that could improve your circumstances at the day job.

For thirds, even if they don’t know someone who knows someone, having as many people in your corner is never a bad thing when you’re stepping out under the lights on that freelance canvas. A “good on you!” at the right time can help you just as much as a new connection or job offer.

And for fourths, and perhaps most important, you never know just whose corner you may wind up in, or whether you know someone who needs an office buddy’s particular set of skills. Sometimes you can pay it back…


Handling the Hassle Will Help You Hustle

I’m sure one of the reasons you’re working on your 9-to-5 escape plan is to get enough control over your circumstances that you can axe the hassle from your life, or at least minimize it. But even after you pull your Venkman (although ideally you’re departing on your own terms rather than being sacked because you chase hot coeds instead of making with the science), you’ll still need to do some mundane stuff in order to make the awesome happen.

After all, who else was going to keep that old firehouse in order? Okay, probably Ray, but you might not have a friend quite that gullible energetic and easygoing on hand.

In other words: use what you already know about managing the mundane where you are to prepare yourself to handle the unavoidable bits when you get where you want to be.

What ho-hum aspects of your corporate life have translated well for your side hustle? Share in the comments!

Image: Flickr