​Should You Tell Your Day Job About Your Side Hustle?


"57.3 million Americans are freelancing (36 percent of the U.S. workforce)," according to a recent study by Upwork. Of people freelancing in 2017, 16% are moonlighting and 53% are only freelancing part-time. 

If you're hustle is still a side hustle and you are working at a day job, you have probably wondered and worried about telling your day job about your hustling. The decision to tell or not to tell really varies from person to person. Everyone is in a different situation with work.

Some people don't tell their day job about their side hustle until they finally put in their notice and go freelance full-time, while other people are contractually obligated not only to tell their employer but ask for permission to do freelance work.

I'm in a bit of a different situation. When my current employer Googled me before my interview, they saw this blog and my work as a freelance digital marketing manager, hell it's written in black and white right on my resume! That's because I made a decision a long time ago that I never wanted to keep my side hustles a secret. I'm proud of my freelance work and I believe that it makes me a happier and more effective worker, which is a benefit to any current or future employer. In my very first interview I was asked "what's the deal with this Hustle Flo thing and your freelancing?" and I had to explain what I do and WHY it's actually a benefit for their company that I have these side hustles.

But just because my day job knows about my freelance work doesn't mean it's a free for all and I can work on my side projects whenever I want. I'm lucky that my company and my boss trust me to come into the office every day and work just as hard, if not harder, than I would if I did no work on the side.

I know I'm in a unique situation and that many side hustlers struggle with the decision of to tell or not to tell so I wanted to share some advice and a few things to consider if you're wondering whether or not you should tell your day job about your side hustle.

Are you allowed to have a side hustle?

Some people have employment contracts that require them to disclose if they are making income from anything besides their full-time job or there are restrictions about the type of side hustle work they can do. Be sure to check your employment contract to see if there are any stipulations in there that you'll need to adhere to. If you're required to tell your boss, it's not a good idea to try to keep your hustle a secret. If you have a non-compete and your freelance work is the same type of work you do in your day job, you could run into some issues. This should be the first thing you look at if you're considering telling your job about your side hustle or if you're thinking about starting a new business.

Keep it real.

If you decide to tell your boss about your side hustle, make sure you're honest and up front with them about it. If you are being secretive or only telling half-truths, your job is less likely to be cool with you moonlighting to make extra money. I find that if I'm up front with my day job about what I'm doing, and let them see how it makes me a happier person in general, it's difficult for them to have an issue with my freelance work. When explaining the situation to your day job, highlight and explain the fact that your hustle helps you to feel fulfilled in your life, which makes you happier overall and that's good for them because a happy and fulfilled worker is much more effective than someone who is just going through the motions.

Crush it at your day job.

If you plan to tell your full-time boss about your side hustle, you need to be prepared to totally crush it every damn day in the office. No company is going to be happy with you coming in late or being exhausted because you were up all night working on your business. Your day job is their time. They're paying you for that time so it's very important to make sure you are just as good of a worker as you were before your side hustle, if not better. If you plan on using some time during the day to work on your hustle, make sure you read the room. Some bosses don't care what you do when it's slow at the office, as long as you've gotten your work done. Others don't care if you're staring at the ceiling and twiddling your thumbs but under no circumstances are you allowed to work on your own projects. Be sure to gauge the flexibility of your boss at your day job before you even consider working on any side hustle work at the office.

When it comes to telling or not telling your day job about your side hustle, everyone's situation varies and you have to do what's right for you. I know I'm very lucky #humblebrag about how up front I am about my side hustles at my day job but that's definitely not for everyone. Consider you, your boss and your company, and the situation before deciding whether or not you should tell your day job about your side hustle.

Have you told your boss about your hustle?