Ask any side hustler and they’ll likely tell you that they’ve grown accustomed to wearing many hats, working long hours and mastering the discipline to balance life as an employee and entrepreneur.

However, in the quest to be productive and make things happen, you may have picked up some habits that may appear to amplify your business on the surface but are actually hurting you in the long run.

Here are 4 ways that you’re sabotaging your side hustle growth and how to stop

1. Perfectionism

worried-girl-413690_1920What’s wrong with trying to do your best? Nothing. But perfectionism and the pursuit of excellence are not one in the same. One would think that striving to be perfect would mean that you’re a pro at getting things done and doing it right all the time but research shows that this typically isn’t the case. Perfectionists tend to be “all-or-nothing” thinkers and often struggle with procrastination, missed deadlines, and low productivity.

Philosopher William James must have been speaking from experience when he said “Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an unfulfilled goal” because when left unchecked the effects of trying to be perfect can take a toll on your business aspirations, finances, relationships and health. Think about how you feel each time you see a lingering item on your to-do list or project that you haven’t launched yet because ‘it’s not ready’. Doesn’t feel so great doesn’t it? Awareness is key and now its time to take action to find a better way to live.

Do this instead: Walk the path of excellence in a healthy way

According to shame and vulnerability researcher Dr. Brene Brown, healthy striving is self-focused and inspires you to be self reflective by asking How can I improve? Whereas Perfectionism directs your attention to the perception of others and taunts you with questions such as What will they think?

Take your power back and aim for a healthier pursuit of excellence by reflecting on the following questions when perfectionism gets in your way:

  • What do I think? 
  • How do I feel? 
  • Why is it important for me to impress others?

Next, start heightening your awareness of what your perfectionist tendencies are actually costing you. If trying to make everything perfect has become an obsession it’s time to re-evaluate how it’s impacting your business. Time is limited when you’re a side hustler so pay attention to how long it takes you to complete tasks and identify if you’re working more than necessary to get a job done. Take a step back to see if your actions are helping you move forward or holding you back.

2. Blurred boundaries between your career, side hustle and life

Whether you’re an early riser, weekend warrior or night owl, side hustlers are no stranger to fitting in work whenever they can.

Juggling the life of employee and entrepreneur often means blurred boundaries between work, life and play. Although this is a reality for many, if you overlook the importance of creating a schedule and incorporating habits that help you thrive through your hustle, will quickly find yourself spiraling down a road of stress and exhaustion.

Don’t buy in to the narrative that hustling means all work and no play. Everyone gets the same 24 hours and its up to you how you manage your time. If you don’t take control of your schedule and prioritize downtime, know this:  Those that don’t make time for wellness will have to make time for illness.


Do this instead: Take a stand for your wellness

Take a closer look at your schedule and take a firm stance on your on and offline time. Begin by identifying your work hours (ex. 9-5), when you will work on your side hustle (ex. 6-8am or 7-9 pm) and carve out time for rest, relaxation and play.

Set a defined schedule for your work hours, block this time in your planner and aim to stick to it. There will be days when you can’t stick to the script you’ve outlined and you’ll have to adjust your schedule to invest more time in areas. However, that’s not an excuse to let your wellness slip through the cracks. In addition to defining your schedule, create a list of self care non negotiables that you will to do every day or week to help you stay focused. This could include reading a few chapters of a book everyday, 10 minutes of quiet time or exercise. Even if you’re busy, you can squeeze in a great workout in 15-20 minutes just by using your smartphone as your trainer (this one is our fav) so push yourself to make wellness a priority each week.

When in doubt remember repeat this pledge:

Dear side hustler,
Burnout is not a badge of honour and will kill your creativity and progress. The quickest path to success is by taking care of yourself so you can take care of business.

Secrets of a Side Hustler 

3. Trying to do it all

It’s easy to see why the title of CEO is cheekily also known as Chief Everything Officer but there will come a point when you have to hand over the reins in your business in order to grow.

When you’re first starting out treating google as your business coach and DIY’ng everything is an often necessary way to get started and kickstart your momentum. The key is knowing when to focus on your strengths and pass along tasks to others who can do them better.

Thinking that you’re the only person who can get things done in your business is a guaranteed ticket to burnout-ville. Learning how to delegate and outsource tasks will help you save time, get more done and allow you to focus your attention on growing your side hustle instead of just working in it from week to week.

Do this instead: Clear your Plate
Here are tips to help you outsource or hiring a virtual team

  • If you’re on a budget try hiring on a per project basis for items such as copywriting, web and graphic design, or transcription.
  • Consider trying freelance sites such as oDesk Elance and Fiverr for temp projects. These sites at as marketplaces that enable you to find contractors for various projects at an affordable price.
  • If you’re hiring staff, invest the time to prepare them for the role by creating a training document or video of how to complete the task
  • Communicate frequently. Be clear about your expectations, provide feedback and have established meetings in place.

4. Overestimating how much you can get done in a day

One of the biggest mistakes we make when it comes time management is over-estimating how much we can actually accomplish within a day. Creating a to-do list with 20 things on it may not seem feasible if you factor in:

  • The 7.5+ hour investment in your day job
  • The time to commute if you don’t work from home
  • 2-3+ hours to work on your side hustle
  • Personal Time
  • Sleep

Somewhere in there you’ll eat, do chores and other things but you’ll quickly see that being clear about where you time is spent and HOW much time you actually can devote to completing work will help you stay motivated. Stacking your to do list without thinking about much time it will take to  complete the work contributes to the stress you feel as you go through your day knowing that you won’t be able to complete everything on your list.

Do this instead: Get Real about your Time

As Marie Forleo says, “If its not scheduled, it’s not real!” Begin a practice of estimating how long your tasks will take and blocking them in your schedule every day.


Prioritize your self care non-negotiables and items that you’re committed to accomplishing everyday. Writing down your tasks and scheduling them provides an accurate picture of your day and will help you be realistic on whether you can add more to your plate.

What habits help you be successful through your hustle? I’d love to hear them below in the comments. 

Image Credits: Deposit Photos, Pixabay


Founder + CEO at Secrets of a Side Hustler
Chivon John wants to live in a world where individuals feel empowered to create their own opportunities instead of waiting for them. In 2014 she founded the Secrets of a Side Hustler community to inspire, educate and connect individuals who have or want to start a business in addition to their full time employment. You can connect with her at @chivonjohn