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Managing your Side-Hustle as an Academic

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

We've said before that one of the key aspects of working in academia is the opportunity and freedom to explore and develop new knowledge. Perhaps that explains why the next natural step for an academic (aside from the University teaching and research route is entrepreneurship). Whether you are starting a side-hustle, already up and running or tempted to explore this route then check out some of our tips below to help you fulfill your career ambitions while keeping the day job on track.

Now this all comes with a caveat. We're not advocating side hustling every single minute of the day with an already demanding job. But just because you work in academia doesn't mean you shouldn't also explore these routes.

Set Boundaries

It is tough with the day job and a side-hustle on top but it's all about becoming aware. Aware of the times of day when you work at your most productive. We always say to side-hustlers to keep a diary for two weeks tracking their activities, their energy and when they work best - you'll soon realise that you don't need more time and that there is a lot you can achieve in a focused hour when you are all fired up. The other part of this is being clear on your working day. So it might be switching off your outlook notifications to give you some headspace to transition into side-hustle time. While some weeks demand more than others (so marking season being a case in point) you can still do both day job and your side-hustle. With focused planning time, carving up the diary and knowing when the peaks and troughs of your semester occur it is much easier to protect your time. We talk a lot about this within our goal setting bootcamps here.


Whether it's the washing or some search engine optimisation, make sure you are spending time on the areas that will deliver the most. Imagine what you could do with even one or two hours more each week. Perhaps one hour to explore your side-hustle and another just to take some well earned rest. We offer virtual assistant services to help you do just that.

Start before you are ready

Done is better than perfect. As a marketer I have seen businesses go out with offerings that are not quite developed, not quite perfect and become hugely successful. I mean million-pound businesses when I say that. My number one recommendation would be to push out your idea before you think it is ready. Allow your audience to help you refine it and flag refinements to make it even better than you first anticipated. So start before you are ready and get set to make changes and craft your offering as you go. Welcome to the reality of running a business.

Make the most of free resources

Podcasts, instagram content, free content is all out there waiting for you whatever side-hustle you are into. You don't need to spend big to get going. Find resources that fill you up with ideas and save them for when you are ready. Switching out your fave music for 1 podcast episode a week focused on your side-hustle ambitions will enable you to make huge strides with very little effort.

Make the most of your academic network

You might be in a University or College right now, so why not explore the business support that is there for budding entrepreneurs. Make yourself know and ask for the support. From finance, to basic business planning there is often a colleague in your faculty or the university who know's exactly what you need. We often encourage students to access it but don't forget to reach out for your own business ideas too. You'd be suprised how much help is there.

So, if you are thinking about a side hustle - just get going. There is plenty of support from WorkSmarter* to get you there. Who knows... it might just be the thing that takes your academic career from good to great.

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