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5 tips for turning your passion into a side hustle—without burning out


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Photo: Vivian Chen
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Welcome to Well+Good’s (Re)New Year—a five-week expert-led program that’s all about helping you have your best year yet. For Week Three, we’ve brought on Meena Harris—lawyer, tech policy adviser, feminist, and founder of I’m an Entrepreneur, Bitch. (Leadership runs in the family—her aunt is Kamala Harris, the just-elected US senator from California.) Throughout the week, she’ll be sharing her tips for feeling empowered, taking action, and getting ahead—at work and in life.

You hear about women turning their side-projects into full-fledged careers all the time: a finance executive leaves her job for a tech start-up or a marketing guru quits to create a genius smoothie innovation. (Even Well+Good was started with that passion-led drive!)

But you also hear a lot of stories from entrepreneurs who are on what we might call Team No Sleep—where people spend all day at a full-time job and all night plotting their empire. Needless to say, self-care takes last place in terms of priorities.

As more women are recognized in the make-shit-happen entrepreneur space, however, a passion project—you know, those things you love that might not pay the bills yet—no longer needs to be pursued at the expense of your health.

I know just how hard it is to to keep up with mindful eating, exercise, and a full night’s sleep—after all, I’m a new parent, full-time employee, and entrepreneur. But the good news? It can absolutely be done.

So don’t ditch your day dream (or your day job)—there’s no better time than the present to invest in your passions. On my best days, here’s how I’ve learned to maintain a healthy hustle.

Scroll down to see five tips for crushing your side hustle game in a healthy and balanced way—and show us how you’re celebrating the (Re)New Year with #iamwellandgood!

Get Started
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Photo: Vivian Chen

1. Work smarter, not harder

Set aside dedicated time to work on both your tedious tasks and passion projects—rather than frantically trying to utilize every free minute you have. Set clear daily, weekly, and monthly goals with realistic timelines.

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Photo: Stocksy/Mauro Grigollo

2. Feel the fierce urgency of now

During your dedicated time, be disciplined and focused, moving quickly and diligently without compromising quality. I find it helpful to pretend that I have a deadline to meet by the end of whatever time period I’ve carved out—that way, I motivate myself to be efficient and use every single minute in the most productive way possible.

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Photo: Ashleigh Reddy

3. R&R

Outside of the hustle periods, take real breaks—such as giving yourself a morning or weekend off. Not only is burnout real, but overscheduling yourself and crowding your mental space also inhibits creativity. If you’re feeling an inclination to procrastinate, listen to that urge and set your project aside for the time being.

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Photo: Stocksy/Javier Pardina

4. Play the long game

Unless you’re extremely lucky, you’re not going to enjoy success overnight—or maybe even during the next year (or five). That’s especially true if you’re only able to commit a fraction of your time working on something. Stay invested and be patient—both with yourself and your venture.

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Photo: Meena Harris

5. Prioritize

Don’t quit your daydream, as they say, but also: Don’t get fired from your job while you’re dreaming, because that would really suck! A side hustle can feel like an entire second job, which is why it can be challenging to maintain while doing well at your 9-to-5. Don’t compromise one for the other, and don’t forget that your day job requires full-time attention—because hey, it pays the bills.

Missed Day 1? Check out Meena’s tips for avoiding “impostor syndrome” and amping up your workplace confidence.

The (Re)New Year series is not a “New Year, New You” program. (We think you’re pretty great as is!) Instead, we tapped the biggest and best influencers across the wellness space to help kick off the New Year in the best possible way. Between heart-racing workouts, DIY beauty recipes, and killer confidence advice, get ready to have your happiest and healthiest year yet.