Should You Keep Your Day Job And Work On The Side?

Should You Keep Your Day Job And Work On The Side?

Are you thinking about how to keep your day job while working on the side? You’re not alone. I often think that corporate life prepares you for running your own business. But in other ways it doesn’t.

Today happens to be Administrative Assistant’s Day, which hits me in the feels every year, depending on where I am in in life. This year, I am quite happy working as a temporary Administrative Assistant, as I realize how much my “day job” has supported my goals and dreams in ways I’ve never expected. But am I thinking about going full-time? Heck no!!!

Being an Administrative Assistant has been the way I’ve paid my bills for much of my life. But that income has always fueled my real fire: to make music! Music is how I best express myself, and I’m grateful to still be performing at the age of 51. And I have no plan of stopping. I’ve toured around the world with global names, released 4 of my own CDs. I’ve written music for others, and now I’m working on a Christmas musical.

However with life’s ups and downs, I’ve had years as a musician where that I was paid $10,000 a gig, and I’ve had years that I made $0. The thing that always got me through my life as an artist is my work as a temporary administrative assistant. You know, the office temp? Yeah, that’s me.

And until recently I’ve taken much of what I do for granted. I really just saw myself as a glorified seat warmer, on my way to global domination, via my music.

My first admin job was at 17, in the corporate office of the now defunct Burdine’s “The Florida Store” Department Store. The internet hadn’t even been invented yet, so I’ve been doing this a while. To give an idea of exactly how long ago it was when I started my first job, the first laptops had JUST entered the market, which inspired my uncle to quip, “A computer for my lap? Then where will my secretary sit?!”

Moving on…

Working On The Wild Side

The summer of 1985, after graduating from high school, I was desperate to get a summer job. I applied everywhere. McDonald’s wouldn’t even call me back, and I won’t lie, that was pissing me off. How dare McDonald’s not want to hire ME, a recent high school graduate?! And it was right up the street!

While I wasn’t technically employed, I had just accepted a job cleaning the house of a fortune teller, in exchange for her insight on my crush. Who lived in another state. I had met him while on vacation with my family. We hadn’t exchanged numbers, but I knew we had chemistry, and that he’d find a way to contact me.

I paid the fortune teller whatever my allowance was, and I bought her 10 rolls of paper towels, which was included in her fee. Why 10 rolls of paper towels? I didn’t know. This was somehow important for the work she was doing for me. Which was getting psychic intelligence on my crush who lived in another state. She had suggested that I get different colors and prints too. You should have seen me in the grocery store, trying to choose the best 10 rolls of paper towels, all in the name of love.  Oh, and taking these paper towels on the bus was a pain in the butt too.

I get to her house to work the first day, paper towels in hand, and she tells me to put them in the storage closet, and start cleaning her floor-to-ceiling mirrored walls. Okay, whatever, I thought. Cleaning mirrors was a small price to pay for learning if my crush was crushing on me too. In another state.

Her storage closet was huge. And when I opened it, I saw more bags of toilet rolls, in sets of 10. There were at least 50 rolls of paper towels in her storage closet! I thought of her mirrored walls and immediately understood why she asked for the paper towels. It was because those mirrors needed regular cleaning! And how clever of her to include that expense in her fortune telling fee!

And THAT was also the exact moment that I knew that she was a fake. Her fakeness was as clear as her mirrors were after I cleaned them.

That’s right. I didn’t quit right away. And I still gave it my best effort. While cleaning those mirrors, I thought long and hard about my situation in life, at that time. I mean, it was now obvious that my out of state crush was a useless teenage dream, and I still didn’t have a job. Interestingly enough, she did tip me $20 when I left.


Moving Up In the World

The the next morning I called the fortune teller, and told her that I got the job at Burdine’s. See, Miz Lady? You didn’t know I could lie to people too! I didn’t tell her that I knew she was a crock of shit. I just came up with a lie that was positive for me. Besides, I’ve already buried my grandmother twice. My thought was to find an excuse that included good news for me. I had no idea if Burdine’s would ever call me, but there was no point in hanging out with her while I still needed to find a job.

I remember that was a Friday when I called her. She was sad to lose good help, but she was happy for me. And I was happy not to clean her windows! And surprise, surprise! about 2 hours later, Burdine’s actually called, asking me to start on Monday! My first thought was: Wow, I spoke that into truth! My next thought was “Ha! I’m cleaning her mirrors, and my magic is stronger than hers!!!

So with time off to work at Kinko’s as a copy operator, as well as other periods of self-employment, I’ve been organizing people and things much of my life. And I’ve been getting get things done.

I’m a Billionaire Babe!

As my latest admin gigs have reached Executive Assistant status, I’ve been reminded that there is another level of professionalism and excellence that is required, that can not be taken for granted. I’ve assisted Billionaires and Chief Officers, and I always seek to learn something new with each new assignment.

Being an administrative assistant has been a wonderful entry into the world of business, law, art, and politics. While I am not contributing to high level meetings with Heads of State, I am a sponge that picks up everything, and also the elephant who doesn’t forget.

I am grateful to reach this level, but I am even more committed to growing my online business. In a sense, it might sound counter-intuitive, but the more I temp, the more I want to make my online side hustle the main thing to support my music habit!

Not just because Roberta in the next cubicle is a pain – although her annoying personality IS a valid reason to leave corporate life – but because of the fascinating stuff you can learn while working there. For me, I apply whatever I learn back to me, my life, and my business. Can I use this in my life? Is this an interest to pay closer attention to?

Have you thought about how your jobby job prepares you to run your own business? Do you remember that old Snoop Dog video when the guy playing Snoop’s dad says, “Snoop Doggy Dog needs to get himself a jobby job? Haha! I’ve used that nickname for a day job ever since!

Do the Online Side Hustle!

Here are a few takeaways for you to reframe having an online side hustle alongside your day job:

  • You Learn to Prioritize

    One thing about having a day job is that you learn how to organize your time to get everything done. That saying “If you want to get something done, give it to a busy person” is true. When you’re focused on building your online business, you will find the time to make it happen: Before going to work, lunchtime, evenings, and, of course, weekends.

  • You Have Time To Explore and Learn What You Need To Know

    Being an online entrepreneur has a bit of a learning curve. There’s a lot to learn, and a bunch of moving parts. And I’ve seen it often that after someone masters digital marketing in one niche, they often decide to switch to a different one, where they finally blow up. What’s most important is that you get the skills to create income online. Once you learn how to do that in one niche, you can do it anywhere. But keeping your day job enables you to learn what you need to know.

  • Your Steady Income Enables You To Chill Out

    I know that your job may inspire you to to quit your job, so you can focus on starting your business. And you may think that burning your bridges is the best way to go. I can’t speak for you, but I can tell you from personal experience that you definitely don’t want to start a business when you’re not sure how to start. When you’re struggling financially is when the bills seem to come quicker, as well as lots of those unexpected expenses and health challenges.

    Building an online business is a long game, so it’s perfect for a side hustle. As you keep your job, you’re able to pay the expenses that come up, without stressing out about your next paycheck.

Do any of these tips (or stories) resonate with you? If so, please respond below in the comments!

By the way, I’ve just released my new email course for creating an online course in 30 days or less!! Sign up, and get your online side hustle started!

Carla Lynne Hall is a Digital Business Coach who teaches online courses for bloggers and online influencers who  want to grow an audience, build a profitable online business, and enjoy a lifestyle to outside of the regular 9-5.  She also runs the Internet Famous VIP Mastermind Group on Facebook, where she provides group coaching and challenges. Join today at

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