Fill your cup first and 3 more tips to managing stress when you have a side hustle

Fill your cup first and 3 more tips to managing stress when you have a side hustle
More and more South Africans are venturing into side hustles for multiple streams of income.
More and more South Africans are venturing into side hustles for multiple streams of income.
Photo: Getty Images

Once upon a time, it didn't seem like too much of a stretch for people to be able to afford a car, a house, and support their family while leaving room for life’s small pleasures, all from one job in one place.

But in South Africa’s struggling post-pandemic economy, 32.9 percent of the people in the country are unemployed – an increase from 2022’s 32.7 percent – which is why small businesses and side hustles are becoming more and more necessary.

With such figures, it’s no surprise that the informal job market has seen an increase in employment of 107 000, which is where most side hustles fall, as per the 2023 Statistics South Africa Quarterly Labour Force survey.

From freelance writing to delivery work, social media will tell you that the grind never stops if you want to make a decent living.

READ MORE | 8 expert tips to surviving South Africa’s rising cost of living

But with a report from Financial and Advisory News illustrating fear of failure and the difficulties maintaining a side hustle or small business, it can be a hard business to break into, leaving you stressed and demotivated.

“Everyone is looking at SMMEs (Small, Medium, and Micro Enterprises) to reconstruct the economy, create jobs, [and] do things better and cheaper a.k.a. save South Africa… Being an entrepreneur in South Africa is fraught with challenges. There is a certain sentiment that there is opportunity in crisis. Living in a country where resilience from necessity has become synonymous with being a South African, is less than ideal. Resilience from necessity cannot become the norm,” the report states.

With so much pressure on the shoulders of young South Africans to be successful for themselves and who they may be responsibility for, burnout is a real possibility.

Talking to award-winning corporate communications officer and founder of media agency Authoric Communications Ondela Mlandu, we find out more about her journey juggling multiple streams of income.

Ondela Mlandu, corporate communications officer an
Ondela Mlandu, corporate communications officer and founder of media agency Authoric Communications.

“The balancing act between [a] full-time career and uplifting side work is something that one can never fully master, but all I do is try my best. I ensure to never drop the ball when it comes to my 9-5 because both roles require my full attention and as someone who is detail oriented, that comes with often stretching myself as an individual.

“Working after hours on my side work often requires me to have late evenings or early mornings to not drop the ball. Time management plays a large part of this. Can I say I’ve fully mastered the balancing act? Probably not, however I’ve [created] structure for myself which allows me to do as much as I can to the best of my ability,” she shares.

Ondela’s stress management tips for side hustlers

1. Fill your cup, first!

As cliché as it sounds – this is true! Nobody can pour from an empty cup. Ensure you do things outside of work that will fulfil you holistically.

2. It starts with self-belief.

While entrepreneurs are independent thinkers who truly believe in themselves, one needs to be optimistic and confident when it comes to work.

3. Stay passionate and dedicated.

Having a passion for business is vital because passion means that you’ll dedicate more time and energy to your work. Passion fuels you to commit to achieving a vision or goal.

4. Rest, when needed!

Rest is imperative, not only medically but for one’s benefit. Allow yourself to rest and don’t feel guilty about it when you do.

Describing herself as an ‘intrapreneur’ – a term she explains as employees of a company who are given the freedom to develop other projects as an entrepreneur would – Ondela is accustomed to balancing the workload of the day-to-day running of the corporation while producing fresh ideas for Authoric Communications.

However, there will always be positives and negatives associated with splitting your time and energy managing multiple streams of income.

“I won’t glamorise juggling multiple roles because it isn’t always cute, as there are plenty of tears and sometimes high stress. The pros and cons of venturing into side hustles as a full-time worker are that you’re exposed to a dual income, the downside is that tax is a real thing, and you must follow through with tax submissions.

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“The pros of being a self-starter are that you are not afraid to think outside of the box, which allows you to work on ideas that may change strategic direction, both for the company you work for and for your own. These types of people are often curious and passionate about the work they do, resulting in them not wanting to waste time when pursuing opportunities at work and/or business ventures,” she explains.

With these upsides and downfalls that come with managing a side hustle or two, Ondela emphasises that passion and dedication is what is needed for success.

“There are literally hundreds of ways to make money. But, if you look at some of the side hustlers who’ve made it big, it’s clear that many of them didn’t kick it off with an instant money-maker – it was a labour of love. Intrapreneurship isn’t so much about a title but it’s about a work philosophy.”

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