LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Irene E Bassock | Nov 10, 2019

How to Make Money from Your Side Hustle . . . And Keep Your Day Job

How to Make Money from Your Side Hustle . . . And Keep Your Day Job COMPENSATION/EMPLOYMENT by Irene Bassock

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You like your job and you’re good at it. But, you’re also ambitious and see an opportunity to make a little money from a side business. The extra income would be great and who knows where it could eventually lead. What should you think about before you launch your new gig?

First, does this side job conflict with your employer’s policies? Depending on how restrictive those policies may be, your venture could lead to discipline, up to and including termination. It’s a big risk to take. Take the time to review your employer’s policies; and, if you have any doubts, err on the side of caution. For example, some employers prohibit all other paid employment to avoid the appearance of any conflict of interest. Ask your manager for clarification and approval and make sure that it’s in writing - you want to stay protected months or years later when and if your manager leaves. And, if your employer’s policy outlines another type of approval policy, then follow that process.

What if no policy exists? Your employer may still have concerns about your side hustle, especially if it might conflict with your loyalty to the employer or if it gives another company a competitive edge in the market. This is so even if it’s a slight advantage. For example, let’s say you are employed in IT for an insurance company and you want to pursue a side gig providing event photography. What if you you accept a photo-shoot job for another insurance company? It might sound far-fetched but your employer could view that gig as assisting its competitor - even if the activity doesn’t involve your primary work or increase the market share or customer base of the other company. Proceed with caution when providing any type of service for a competitor. And, again, when in doubt, ask for permission in writing before taking on that side hustle.

Once you’ve figured out whether you can pursue your new venture, make sure that you separate it from your employer. This means that you should never use your employer’s systems, offices, equipment or information - don’t use your work computer or email system for your side business, and avoid using the photocopier or mailroom. Instead, keep everything on your personal devices, use your own supplies, and conduct all of your activities outside your employer’s offices.

Also, use your own time for your side business. Regardless of whether you are an exempt worker and not required to record your time, do not use business time that your employer expects you to work for them to pursue your side hustle. Your employer could view it as encroaching on time that you were supposed to dedicate to them and your job.

Finally, take extra steps to ensure that you keep your performance at its absolute, highest level. Don’t give your employer any reason to think that you’re spending too much effort on your side job while your primary work deteriorates.

By following these tips, you’ll be on solid ground to start your side hustle. We’re entrepreneurs, too, so we applaud you!

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