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3 pro tips for Muslim Professionals with a side-hustle

3 pro tips for Muslim Professionals with a side-hustle

December 3, 2023
Assalamualaikum!

Have you noticed that having a side-hustle is considered the new normal?

The number of side-hustle opportunities are endless – but the time, energy and attention each of us has is limited. So we must be very picky with what we choose to do.

Muslim professionals who have started their side-hustle (or are considering starting one), can face guilt, confusion and stress as the balance of their Deen and Dunya work gets messed up.

I can understand because it was the same for me when I started my own side hustle in 2018.

Over the years, I’ve learned a few productivity principles that have helped me immensely in my journey of transitioning from being a professional with a side-hustle to full time online entrepreneur.

Today, I have 3 pro tips for you if you’re a working professional with a side-hustle. Let’s dig in!

 

3 pro tips for Muslim professionals with side-hustles

 

1) Pick a side-hustle that will become your main hustle

 

Before we get into the productivity stuff, a side-note – I am not in favour of starting side-hustles that don’t have the potential to eventually become your full-time career.

I think we have limited resources to waste away on side-hustles that have no chance of becoming a lifelong career.

For reference: side-hustle is something you do on the side of your 9-to-5. It’s a hustle for earning income. And it’s on the side of your job. Duh

My belief is that if I were to do something on the side of my 9-to-5, it would be something that can at least give me the choice to leave the job life altogether in a couple of years. And at the most, it can give me the opportunity to blow the cap off my income and impact potential.

A lot of professionals work on side-hustles solely for the purpose of earning quick cash on the side of their job. Like dibbling into dropshipping, dabbling into freelancing, selling $14 e-books – so much effort with no intention of turning anything into a long-term career.

This is terribly draining and unfruitful in the long run. You end up working two jobs, lose so much time, and earn close to nothing in your side-hustle.

If cash is the only goal, then getting a second job with a certain pay check each month is probably a better idea than starting a career-less, low and uncertain income-generating side-hustle.

But if getting freedom and flexibility is the ultimate goal, then the best approach would be starting a side-hustle that is intended to eventually become the main-hustle, aka, a full-time career. For example, starting an online coaching business.

Here’s a worksheet for you to fill out and discover your best fit niche based on your skills, knowledge and experiences. I’ve also added some examples for you to learn from. Enter your email in the form below for me to send it to you.

Now let’s get into the productivity pro tips to help you grow out of the side-hustle life sooner rather than later:

 

Batching and baking can be your side-hustle ‘crutches’

First, let’s quickly understand Time blocking:

In more confusing words, time blocking is first breaking your day into 30-min or 1-hour chunks of time,

…and then blocking your tasks in best-suited time chunks according to variables such as priority level, urgency and energy levels during different times of the day.

Batching and baking are 2 different types of time-blocking techniques.

Let me show you what they are, and how and when to implement them for managing time for your side business.

 

2) Batching

  • Batching is first bundling together similar or sequential tasks into a BATCH.
  • Then simply performing similar tasks in one large time block during the day. For example, responding to all emails and social media DMs between 9am to noon. 
  • Another way of batching is performing sequential tasks back-to-back over a period of days/ weeks until the batch is complete. This is best for projects with a series of sequential tasks. For example, creating your website in 2 weeks.
Batching helps you avoid context switching. When you switch from one task to another, you lose focus and have to start from zero to get into flow state for the next type of task. Because of that, a lot of time (20 mins to an hour for each task) is lost in context switching.

If you’re a professional with a side-hustle, that kind of time is massively valuable and it’s crucial to do everything to save it.

Example of a task that is best suited for batching: Projects with a predefined start and end.

You can also break down large projects into smaller projects and set a clear demarcation between each – these will become small projects.

For example; Creating the complete program curriculum is one large project. I will break it down into modules, each module becomes a smaller project. Then, I’ll batch create and record each module of my program curriculum. Once a module is complete and published, it marks the end of one batch for me.

You can also have smaller batches within a large batch. For example, creating one module is a batch. For a module to be fully created, there are a lot of playbooks that need to be written, video scripts/ slides that need to be created, videos that need to be recorded, then editing of the videos that need doing and finally, uploading everything to the curriculum portal.

The less efficient way would be writing a lesson, then creating the slides, then recording the video and finally editing and uploading one video lesson at a time. Then repeating the process for all videos under the module. This entails a lot of context switching.

The more efficient way of batching would be to break the module down further into batches. You could bundle all text/ scripts/ playbooks to create in one batch, all slides to design in the next batch, all videos to record in the next batch, all videos to edit in the next one and finally, upload all lessons in one batch.

3) Baking

 

This technique is the opposite of batching, it’s basically doing a particular type of task at a predetermined rhythm (the rhythm is usually daily/ weekly/ bi-weekly/ monthly.)

It literally means embedding the task into your daily/ weekly routine.

Baking tasks into your routine is ideal for tasks that are recurring and need to become long-term habits for the success of your business. It’s also great for creative tasks that are too draining to execute in a batch. It’s best to perform such creative tasks individually in a standalone time block.

Example of a task that is best suited for baking: Long-form content creation (newsletters, blogs, youtube videos and podcasts) are best to be baked into your routine.

For example, I bake my newsletter into my weekly routine and write it mostly on Fridays. On the other hand, short-form content (social media posts) can be batched.

Note: You don’t need to fix a tightly scheduled time of the day to perform that activity.

If it’s a daily task, it’s IDEAL to discipline yourself to execute the task at the same exact “time range” each day.

It’s important to not become robotic and assign a rigid time block for your activities.

We’re humans, we can’t foresee the future and things can happen that may need urgent attention. Another common issue is that we may need some time to get into a focused state of a task.

This is why it’s important to leave a buffer window for being human. Otherwise, we’d be training ourselves to set unhealthy self-standards, a lifelong cycle of doom.

An example from our Deen: Allah SWT has assigned for us a time range to perform our Salah with plenty of buffer time before the deadline is officially over and the Salah is “Qadah”. This is the level of discipline and practice we learn from the act of Salah.

If it’s a weekly task, it’s best practice to assign a specific day of the week to that task so you can block that day and arrange other activities around it.

You can try different frequencies to see which suits you the best and always change your frequency/ rhythm (based on energy levels, fixed responsibilities, and the time available per week for that activity) until you settle on a frequency with which you can stay consistent.

✍️  Wrapping Up

 

If you’re short on time and energy, here is a recap of 3 pro tips to consider implementing:

  1. Be very selective with your side-hustle and ONLY pick something that has the potential to become your main-hustle
  2. Use the batching technique to batch similar or sequential tasks to avoid wasting a lot of time in context switching. This will allow you to get a headstart on new projects, and finish off pending important projects with full focus.
  3. Use the baking technique to perform recurring tasks in a daily/weekly/bi-weekly rhythm that’s easy for you to maintain in the long-term. This will allow you to establish habits and build skills faster and speed up your transition from side-hustle to main-hustle.

If you have any questions about starting your halal online coaching program business, you can submit your own question or topic you’d like me to discuss in the newsletter right here!

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next week In Sha Allah!

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