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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Productivity

How I Manage 6 Side Gigs While Looking for My Dream Job

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My goal is to be a full-time content creator. But as I embarked on my job search, I was routinely told I didn’t have enough experience.

It’s a Catch-22: I needed a job to get experience, but I needed experience to get a job.

So, I found a way to create my own opportunities and set myself apart. I'm currently working two part-time, in-office internships in digital marketing; I run a career blog and YouTube channel; and I do freelance writing and video editing on the side. For those of you who lost count, that’s six gigs.

As exhausting as it might be, having these pursuits has brought me closer to my dream job. I now have a solid portfolio of work I can showcase to prospective employers and a variety of skills I wouldn’t have otherwise developed. I also had the chance to network with a few experts in my fields of interest. Most importantly, I have enough experience and self-confidence to excel as a job candidate.

But that doesn’t mean it’s been easy. Balancing jobs is tough: I have to motivate myself to work on projects after a long day in the office. And doing that requires me to really focus on time management because every hour in my day has to count.

I Focus on Endeavors That Complement Each Other

I’m what writer and entrepreneur Emilie Wapnick would call a “multipotentialite,” I thrive on pursuing numerous things. But if my side gigs and internships required totally different skill sets, it would be overwhelming to apply to jobs as well.

I work in digital marketing, and I use the same skills for my side hustles. My job consists of taking pictures, filming videos, editing clips, blogging, and scheduling social media posts—and so do my personal projects. This saves times because anything I learn will get me ahead in my internships, my freelance gigs, and make me a more attractive candidate for the roles I’m applying to.

For example, just recently I started teaching myself Photoshop at the office for an up-coming project for my job. It works out perfectly because now I won't have to do that on my free time—and I’ll be able to add it to the skills section of my resume.

Now I know it's not the case for everyone—maybe you work in finance and you’re a photographer on the side—but you can identify skills that’d work for both (e.g., if you could improve at organization) you’ll only have to take the time to learn something once, but be able to use it across the board.

I Maximize My Time In and Out Of the Office

Until my commute is a walk from my bedroom to my desk (life goal!), I have to figure out ways to make it productive. An hour on the train each way gives me the opportunity to get things done. I spend that time thinking about (or drafting) blog posts or listening to a podcast.

If you drive to work, you can listen to podcasts (or audiobooks!). If that feels like too much for you so early in the morning, you can also listen to music to mentally prep yourself and fuel up for the rest of the day.

Beyond my commute, I squeeze in 20 minutes here and there throughout the day. Let me preface this with the fact that my boss and my company are aware of my side gigs and 100% approve of me working on them on my breaks. I know not everyone’s this fortunate (and in some cases, it’s actually not advisable for legal reasons to do this).

But in my current situation, it’s working out. For example, there's no dress code at my office so I can wear what I want. I’ve even showed up dressed for a fancy event so I could just film a lookbook during my lunch break. When that happens, I get a few weird glances, but I'm creating content for my channel and staying consistent with delivery.

I Have an Accountability Buddy

I joke that my sister’s an obnoxious professor who won't fail to remind me my assign-ments are due soon. But I like it that way because once I let her in on what I'm working on, she makes sure I complete it.

Of course it’s not as formal as a deadline, but the nagging is enough to motivate me. It also helps me develop the habit of respecting my own deadlines. If you really want to redesign your website, cold pitch a certain number, or clients or take a course to beef up a certain skill, tell a friend who’ll keep on you about it.

No one you can think of to call you out? Sign up for an app like Stickk.

I Passively Job Search as a Part of All of My Activities

I dedicate an hour each day to browse openings on my target company websites, do research, and customize my applications accordingly. But, as we all know, successful job searching is more than filling out forms online, so I take it a step further. I network with recruiters and hiring managers on Twitter or LinkedIn and I look for events where they’ll be speaking, so I can connect with them in person. I make time for these gatherings once every two weeks.

And again, all of my efforts complement each other. When I upload new content to my blog, create a new video, or write a guest post, I’m getting my brand out in front of people who make hiring decisions.

When people ask about what I do, I often have to think about it because I do a little bit of everything. I consider my twenties the time to experiment with different career options, pursue entrepreneurial ventures, and build my network. Juggling multiple projects at a time is an investment, but the long-term benefits of it (financial stability, personal fulfill-ment, career satisfaction, happiness) far outweigh the costs.

Gone are the days where you had to follow a singular path to reach career success. For multi-passionate creatives like me, the choice is left to a proactive attitude fueled by confidence in one’s abilities. As Pat Flynn would say in his Smart Passive Income podcast, “…it’s all about working hard now so you can sit back and reap the benefits later.”

Are you juggling multiple projects? How do you manage your time? Let me know on Twitter.