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When Full-Time Employees Have Additional Side Businesses

| Office Life

Jan 23 2014

Today, in addition to holding a full-time job, more and more people are finding themselves working on supplementary projects like starting side businesses or freelancing. While this may be due to financial need, it can also be due to passion or fulfillment. In fact, the Young Entrepreneur Council reports that one in three millennials have some sort of side-gig, ranging from freelance blogging to running their own side business.

It is important to note that this professional trend is not just for the young. With sites like Etsy (a platform that promotes the sale of hand-made goods and crafts) gaining popularity, a rise in free blogging platforms, and an increase in part-time teleworking opportunities, many professionals of all ages are adding more than one current position to their resumes.

How to Manage a Side Project or Side Business While You Work Full-Time

Whether you are thinking about adding a side-project - Your full-time position should still come first. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

  1. Be wary of any conflict of interests – Be sure that whatever you side opportunity may be, it does not conflict with the interests of the company you work full time for. Obvious conflicts of interest would be either stealing customers or working for the competition. However, there may be a conflict of interest that isn’t so obvious at first. Be sure to look at it from every angle and scrutinize – if you’re unsure about it, ask your boss or manager.
  2. Give full disclosure – Be open about your new opportunity or side project with your boss or manager. This can help you determine whether or not a conflict of interest exists, and it may even allow for more working flexibility, depending on your position and the company that employs you.
  3. Start scheduling your time – This is obviously important as having both a side business and a full time job, in addition to all of the other responsibilities you may have, is going to require some great time management. A planner or smart phone can be a great tool to utilize. Phones can be especially nice due to the fact that you can set alarms to keep you on schedule and on track.
  4. Be honest with yourself – Think beyond just getting a schedule planned out. You’re also going to want to think about the quality of your schedule. That is, the most important aspect of scheduling out your time is learning to be completely honest with yourself. Some people have the tendency to jam pack their schedule, allowing for little to no time to relax. Maybe this works for you, but the majority of people tend to plan and schedule a little too ambitiously for what they can actually handle. Are you usually tired right after work? Schedule time to rest for 20 minutes. Being honest with yourself can also contribute to your overall happiness and sense of accomplishment. Instead of being upset about taking an unscheduled, although very needed, break, an honest schedule eliminates, as you are sticking to the plan by taking a much needed break. That way you are both more rested and feeling more accomplished, which is sure to carry over to how productive you are. It may seem counter intuitive at first, but it isn’t when you actually stop to think about it. Taking a reasonable amount of breaks actually makes you more productive, allowing you to work smarter and not longer.

How to Manage an Employee with a Side Project or Business

From an employer’s perspective, having employees who have their own business or another part-time gig may not seem like an ideal situation. You may be worried about distracted employees or lower quality work. While in some cases this may happen, the common, general trend is actually the opposite. Many employees with side enterprises are learning and honing new, relevant skills that they can begin to apply to their full-time position. These new skills create more accomplished and fulfilled employees who add even more value to your company.

Some things to consider for employees who are balancing two workloads:

  1. Offer flexibility – this will depend upon a lot of factors including company culture and what kind of position the employee has. Some positions and companies are bound to be more flexible than others. Your employees are sure to appreciate any flexibility that you offer them – which is sure to not only make their lives easier, but also keep them motivated to output the best work that they possibly can.
  2. The day job comes first – Even though you are well aware of the demands of the side project, you should still expect and still receive high caliber work from your employee. Their full-time position has to be the priority and if it isn’t, changes will need to be made.
  3. Have open lines of communication – Be sure to let an employee know if their work is slipping. If that’s the case, they may not realize it. A word from you might be all it takes for them to refocus on the full-time position at hand. Conversely, also let them know when they are on the right track and praise amazing work when you see it.
  4. Trust your employees – Unless there is a true conflict of interests, it is best to avoid discouraging your employee from taking on additional work. Such an action would be sure to create some tension and some possible resentment. Trust that they can handle the workload – most will be able to.

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