11 Common Side Hustle Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

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Common Side Hustle Mistakes

Somewhere along the way, the workforce switched its ideals from “a job for life” to “my life is my own.”

The side-hustle is all about taking back control, whether it’s to free yourself from relying on an employer for your living or to make doing what you love sustainable. Indeed, while 46% of side-hustlers are in it to generate a passive income, 38% are in it for enjoyment, according to a survey from Zapier.

Today, the ease of starting a side-hustle is matched by the risk of getting it wrong. But most common side-hustle mistakes are avoidable. And, with a little forethought, the indie success rate could be higher. OnDeck recognizes that there is a lot of potential out there – so we’ve pulled together a critical list of the everyday side hustle mistakes that stand in the way of success, and how to side-step them.

Establishing your home business Instagram handle may be a fun and easy way to start. But we found the common mistakes that many side-hustlers make tend to fit into one of three more fundamental, overlapping categories: research, confidence, and project management. If any of these concepts immediately make you bristle, consider taking an evening class to raise your game in one or the other before you wade too deep. Meanwhile, our infographic delivers some specific fixes for the problems that arise within these categories.

Let’s look at project management as an example.


How to Fit A Side-Hustle into a Busy Life

The last thing you want is to end up being resented by your loved ones or hating your passion because your side-hustle has become all-consuming. Take former independent fruit jam hobbyist-turned-entrepreneur Cam Fairbairn, who can no longer stand the sight of the homemade preserves with which he used to charm his grateful, toast-munching friends:

“My enjoyment level of making jam and relishes plummeted when it went from being a fun hobby, playing with flavors, to a requirement with deadlines and needing to maintain consistency,” Fairbairn told The Guardian. “I haven’t eaten jam since.”

The trick, to use a jelly metaphor, is to take your side-hustle one spoonful at a time. Separate your tasks into small, manageable servings. This makes it easy to tap in and out of work and get things done, even if you can only grab a half-hour here and there between regular work and other responsibilities.

“Being proactive in managing your energy to optimize your results and success is key for daily balance,” advises Executive Coach & Facilitator Lori Harris. “Commitment to a daily routine of updating your schedule with priorities: self-care, work, education, family, entertainment, and other key activities is also crucial.”

“Being disciplined, selective, and protective of your priorities that maximize excellence and afford you balance is key to success.”

Begin by:

  • Figuring out what you can do comfortably in a free thirty minutes, hour, a morning, a day.
  • Matching these task types to your energy levels, too (more creative in the morning? More social in the afternoon?).
  • Maintaining a list of ‘go to’ tasks that you can tick off if you find yourself with unexpected time on your hands.
  • Committing only to deadlines that won’t disrupt your regular job and home life – play the long game.

Neglecting to take these steps and adapt them to your needs as you develop your routine is a fundamental mistake – as are the mistakes we’ve highlighted in our new side-hustle resources below. They may be errors you need to stop making right now or traps to avoid on your next adventure into entrepreneurship, but if you can tighten up around these areas, you stand a far better shot at side-hustle success.

11 Common Side Hustle Mistakes

Your side-hustle should be a rewarding business, but avoidable mistakes can lead to wear and tear on your physical, emotional, and economic well-being. If you’re excited about your project but have little experience in project management, take care to ensure your plans do not exceed your capacity to fulfill them. Learning from your mistakes feels great, but it feels even better when it happens before you make them.

And be careful not to neglect the area you dread the most – whether that’s looking into the legal requirements of your business, promoting yourself and your product, or managing your budget. A successful side hustle doesn’t need to aim big, but it should aim deep: thorough, careful, and committed.



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