What I Wish People Knew About Working Full Time and Building on the Side

Hey everyone!  I’m Shara from the DIY blog Woodshop Diaries and I am excited to be guest posting for Courtney today!

I am a full time engineer at a factory and build furniture and write tutorials for my blog on the side.  Sometimes people think I must build and blog full time.  Or sometimes people just assume that since it’s an “on the side gig” it must just be a hobby. 

But, actually, neither is true.  There are a lot of misconceptions, so today, I want to tell you the three things I wish people knew about working full time and building on the side.


1. Even though it’s “on the side,” it’s not “just a hobby.”

I’ve heard it said that once a hobby starts making money, it’s no longer a hobby, but a business.  Building and blogging “on the side” is really my “side business.”  It’s far more than just a hobby.  There are days when I get home from work and really don’t want to go out to the shop and work, but I know I have deadlines to meet and projects to finish so I can keep happy customers and get paid.  

Sometimes people assume that it’s a hobby, so you only do it because you enjoy it.  While you DO enjoy it, just like with anything else, burn out is a real thing.  And sometimes people don’t take you seriously when you refer to your side gig as a business.

BUT, you don’t have to do a hobby if you aren’t in the mood to.  But you still have to do business even when you aren’t in the mood to…especially when you are trying to grow and you have deadlines.  And speaking of deadlines, to make those, you have to put in a lot of time.  So that brings me to number 2.



2. Just because it’s “on the side” doesn’t mean it’s part time.

When I talk about my full time job, I’m referring to my factory job.  But my “on the side” job takes up almost as many hours as my full time.  I refer to it as “on the side” because it’s more flexible as far as schedule and income.  But it requires as much (if not more) time than my day job.

My weekday schedule is work the day job, then come home and spend about 4 hours working in the shop or writing blog posts each night.  Usually my entire Saturday is spent running errands (going to the lumber yard) and building.  And my Sunday afternoons are spent editing pictures.  When you add up all the time, it’s about 35 hours a week!  That’s just about full time!

This goes back to number 1.  Because this is a business, I have to invest the time into it to grow. 


3. Just because it’s “on the side” doesn’t mean it’s bad quality.

Sometimes people assume that because this is an “on the side” gig, that your quality isn’t that good.  And many times, they assume that because it’s worse quality than someone who does this “full time” that it should cost less.  This isn’t true.

If you are working on building furniture on the side and are not to the point yet where you are ready (or want to) take it full time, that doesn’t mean that your quality is sub par.  Which also doesn’t mean that you should charge less than you are worth.  But, it DOES mean that sometimes your lead time is longer than someone who is full time because you have less time to put into making it the best quality that you can. 

And those are the three things that are typically misunderstood about working full time and building on the side.  What other things do you wish people knew about working full time and building on the side??  Do you have the same struggles with your “side gig?”

If you are also working on growing your side business, keep at it, even if people don’t always understand.  You got this!

If you would like to check out some more DIY tutorials, I’d love it if you would check out my site and browse through the projects!  Until next time, happy DIYing!


While you're here, go ahead and PIN this for later or share it with people you know who might be interested in reading about working full time and building furniture on the side!


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