If you're a driven entrepreneur who also wants to make time for family, a home-based, online side hustle may seem like the perfect idea. While this type of work offers more flexibility than a side business you have to run on-location, being at home doesn't mean it's easy to find balance.
Managing your day job, your side hustle and family -- not to mention taking care of yourself -- is a lot to handle, but it is possible. Below, eight successful entrepreneurs give their best advice on how to successfully manage this balancing act.
Time-block your mental 'prime time.'
The key to balancing work and family is to be extremely productive with your work time, says Doug Bend, principal of Bend Law Group, PC. He recommends identifying when you feel most productive and completing your most difficult tasks during that time.
"Be sure to eliminate distractions such as emails and calls, and use the time you are at your mental best to accomplish your most challenging tasks," adds Bend.
Set clear boundaries at home.
Working and living in the same place means more opportunities for family time, but it can also invite distractions you wouldn't find at the office. Rachel Lipson, founder and CEO of Blue Balloon Songwriting for Small People, suggests teaching your family to recognize "cues" that let them know you're focused on work.
"Make sure everyone knows that a closed door means you're occupied, and invite your children in to 'help' you work from time to time so they feel involved," Lipson says.
Create a detailed action plan.
According to Karl Kangur, founder and CEO of Above House, setting aside one hour a week to work on a side hustle isn't the hard part -- it's knowing how to best utilize that hour.
"When we sit down to do the work, we'll spend too much time figuring out where we left off and what needs to be done next, taking time away from the actual work," explains Kangur. "Initially, spend more time planning ahead and mapping out the specific tasks and actions."
Have a dedicated space in your home for work.
Interruptions are the enemy of success, says Vanessa Nornberg, president of Metal Mafia, and that's why it's essential to have a dedicated workspace at home.
"In an enclosed space, you can block out distractions and let those around you know that your work is serious and your 'office hours' are to be respected," Nornberg says.
Build your side hustle to scale.
Scaling up your side hustle doesn't just mean earning more business -- the "holy grail" is building it to the point where you can hire others to do the heavy lifting, says Richard Fong, founder and CEO of Automatic Growth.
"Build it with documentation, breakdowns and protocols," Fong says. "Teach a virtual assistant, partner or friend to do the same when you start sourcing out the tasks. A side hustle can turn into a great business as long as you can scale it away from you."
Plan your time out with your family.
If you have a family, it isn't just you working on a side hustle, says Monica Snyder, CEO of Birdsong. You'll likely need to rely on your family members to help you get other things done around the house while you work on your business.
"Include your family in your planning and let them know why you're doing the side hustle," says Snyder. "This will help everyone be involved and they will respect the time you need to work. Then, celebrate the wins with them so you can all be proud!"
Go with the flow to maximize your downtime.
Because your work and income can be sporadic with a side hustle, you may not always be able to predict when you'll have downtime. Blair Williams, CEO of MemberPress, says it's important to be able to go with the flow and maximize the pockets of time you do have.
"When you have downtime, use it to spend extra quality time with your family, so that when you do get a fair amount of work to do, you can focus on your side hustle," says Williams. "However, it's important to deliberately carve out family time as your work grows."
Be present, no matter what you're doing.
Whether you're spending time on your day job, side hustle or with your family, always be present, says Dave Nevogt, co-founder and CMO of Hubstaff.
"If you're with your family, be with your family," Nevogt says. "Put your phone away and don't look at it. The emails can wait. The more you can focus your work, the more efficient you become, and your time will be more manageable."