Successful MoonlightingIf you’re anything like me, then you’re stuck in a situation where you enjoy both being an employee and a freelancer. I love the flexibility and sense of accomplishment that comes along with freelance work. Then on the other hand, I enjoy making new friends in the workplace and working with others toward a common goal. If you want to run your own business on the side, or if you want to start your business in the evenings while you transition off your full-time job, then this article is for you. You definitely need to learn how to master the art of moonlight.

What’s moonlighting in the first place? I searched the web for answers, but I couldn’t find one that I liked. Essentially moonlighting is real simple. It’s the idea of holding down an evening/night job while you already have a steady full-time 9-5 sort of gig. Easy to explain, difficult to perform.

Let’s talk about how you can moonlight your way to success and how you can become decent at moonlighting:

Turn your mind off at work.

If you’re at the point where you hate your job or you find your work to be totally redundant, then the best advice that I can give is to turn off your mind while at work and you save your creative energy for when you work on projects that excite you. This may sound like bad advice but it’s the truth. Instead of becoming frustrated at your job just focus your energy on your other projects. Getting upset won’t do you any good. You don’t want to be all frustrated when you get home later on to work on your freelance projects.

Take advantage of slow periods.

When you have a slow time frame at work, a long commute home, or random spare time, I recommend that you take advantage of this time to work on some of your freelance projects. I often get some of my best writing done and random bursts of creativity when I got some time to kill. This down time is usually spent on doing absolutely nothing positive. Instead of just sitting around, bust out a pen and paper and get some writing done. Plan out your evening. Figure out your goals. Work on something new. Do whatever you want as long as you don’t remain idle for an extended period of time.

Take one evening just to yourself.

You need to prevent burnout. I’ve seen too many bloggers burnout. Actually, I’ve seen too many others burnout in general. I notice this at the gym all of the time. A new gym enthusiast will get their brand new membership and try coming every day. They go strong for a few weeks and then they burnout. Then they quit. I don’t want to see any of you guys quit or fail with your freelancing goals. If you want to be in this for the long run then you need to take some time off for yourself at least once a week. I’m 23 so I recommend a night of lots of beers. If you’re older you might enjoy an evening off to watch a movie or do something else completely relaxing. It’s up to you as long as you consciously avoid burnout.

Take care of yourself.

If you’re going to be working long-hour days then you need to take care of both your mind and your body. This doesn’t include drinking 2 Redbull’s a day and overdosing on sugar. Taking care of yourself means that you eat balanced meals and drink lots of water. You need to stay hydrated if you plan on going through long days. If you eat well throughout the day you’ll be surprised by how much energy you have. Much better than the small dose of energy and major crash that comes with a can of Redbull.

Wake up an hour earlier.

I find that we often estimate the power of an hour of productive work. In the evenings we’re often busy with checking email and going on Facebook. If you wake up an hour earlier while the rest of the world is still fast asleep, you can get a lot of writing done. I’ve done some of my best writing at 6 in the morning in the pitch black. I promise you that you’ll be impressed by how much you can get done in a day just by waking up an hour earlier every day. You may be tired at first but thinking about the progress of your new projects should definitely keep you going. Try it out for a week and see if it works for you. If not you can always just try staying up an hour later at night to be productive.

Moonlighting isn’t easy but it can be very fun and challenging. You might find that moonlighting is too stressful for you or you might conclude that it’s the busy life that keeps you going. I wish you the best of luck with your moonlighting. Before you leave today, I wanted to share the benefits of moonlighting with you guys:

Why Moonlight?

Financial benefit.

By moonlighting you ease into your own business. This is much easier on you financially then it is to just jump into things. You don’t have to worry about borrowing money from friends and family. Moonlighting gives you the time to save up money as you see if you have the right business idea to be making money. You can always build up a decent emergency fund so that you don’t have to worry about being homeless as a self-employed individual.

Pays off in the future.

You put in the work today and you will see the results down the road. It may not always be fun but when the day comes to go full time with your business you’ll be very happy that you put in the sacrifice. This will be the busiest time in your life but you will look back at it fondly in the future. You’ll be laughing at those sleepless nights when you find yourself in a successful position.

Check out the other posts in this series:

Being a Freelancer Pros and Cons
Being An Employee Pros and Cons

(photo credit: Koalazymonkey)