Freelancing while working full time: How to make it workChen Wan Lim
It’s common these days to come across people who work more than one job. Some hold two full time jobs while some conduct some form of freelance work during their spare time. Some however, just simply prefer to do freelance work for the flexibility it offers. Whatever the case may be, the key motivation for people doing more than one job is to basically have an additional stream of income to support the continuous rising cost of living. One of the most popular forms of freelancing these days in Malaysia is to provide ride-sharing services. Young people usually drive for Uber and/or Grab after working hours and during the weekends. How then exactly do we make our side gig work while having a full time job? But before we continue further, it is advisable that you check the fine prints on your employment contract that prohibits you from conducting any freelance works or from conducting any activities that could be in direct violation (non-compete clauses) with the business your employer is in.
Keep your employer’s time, your employer’s time
One of the cardinal rules of freelancing is to not do your freelancing work during your official working hours. Regardless whether you have a slow day at work or if you happen to just be sitting idle at your desk, resist the temptation of pulling out your laptop and start working on your side job. While it is not appropriate to be using company time to be conducting personal work, it is also not appropriate to be using the company phone, computer, photocopy machine and stationaries for your freelance work although it is only a small cost to the company. Getting caught will put your day job at risk!
Plan your time
Everyone is given 24 hours in a day, no more and no less. With the hectic Malaysian time caused by long working hours and long commutes to work, we need to plan and to make the best of our time. Try allocating a fixed amount of time every day for your freelance work. You can even utilise your daily commute to work to plan out the freelance work you intend to do that day. On weekends, just put in the extra effort to wake up earlier and to sleep a little bit later to allocate more time for your freelance work.
Do not bite more than you can chew
Do not overcommit to your freelance work. It is often tempting to take on more jobs than you can handle simply because the money is good. But be careful not to take on more jobs than you can handle. The last thing you want happening is that you fail to deliver your freelance tasks or you have to take days off your day job in order to complete your freelance work.
You side business might be something entirely unrelated to your day job. You might be a lawyer by day and a baker at night. But remember to start small first – you can even conduct a trial period and offer your services for free. Start by promoting your services in a small way. Test your commitment level by accepting small low paying jobs first. After you have established that freelancing is something you really want to do during your spare time, then you can slowly expand your business by taking on more jobs and expanding your clientele.
Freelancing can be something very rewarding. Your side gig might even yield more income than your day job! Whatever the motivation of a second job might be, having more than one job can open up possibilities, expand your network and improve skills which were once just hobbies. Moreover, having a second job might just give you that life satisfaction you might be searching for.