At the risk of sounding like a motivational poster, managing a side hustle alongside a full time job takes resolve, organization, and determination. These three fundamental things are integral to making passion projects a reality, especially taking the daily challenges of our 9-to-5’s into account.

We asked five entrepreneurs to share their side hustle stories and tell us how they made it work. Here’s what they told us.

How to make your side hustle work

side hustle logo
Give your side hustle the attention it deserves! Logo design by CreatEV.

We believe that entrepreneurship is at the heart of 99designs. Beyond helping business owners grow their businesses through access to design, we have dozens of self starters, creatives and side hustlers within our own ranks.

As part of our 2018 Women in Business survey we spoke to five of our colleagues across our offices here at 99designs about their side projects and the businesses they’ve built. They told us about the challenges they faced as entrepreneurs, and their advice for managing both work and other endeavors.


  • Eva Missling, General Manager Europe—founder of 12designer, Berlin
  • Pam Webber, Chief Marketing & Operations Officer—founder of weeDECOR, Oakland
  • Sophie Dalaou, French Customer Support—graphic designer and illustrator, Berlin
  • Megan Dell, Head of UX—artist and jeweler, Melbourne
  • Kelly Morr, Senior Marketing Manager—filmmaker, novelist, Oakland

We’re constantly inspired by our colleagues and their tenacity to realize their passions. Having a full-time job definitely shouldn’t stop you from bringing your dream to life as well. Just remember the following:

Focus on time management

woman working at desk
Stay organized and do what you love. Illustration by Daria V.

If you’re juggling work and a side project (let alone more than one), the hardest thing everyone unanimously agrees on here is simply finding the time. Make a schedule and stick to it, but don’t forget to make time for yourself. You won’t be able to get anything done if you’re spread too thin.

Build your confidence

Starting something on your own can be a daunting prospect. It’s a competitive world and, as our recent survey on gender inequality and funding illustrates, there can be extra hurdles that women face in order get a project off the ground. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who isn’t at least a little bit afraid of rejection, but it just goes to show that confidence in overcoming the naysayers and self-doubt is one of the key ingredients to success.

Use your passion

Moods shift all the time, but true passion is a constant. So let your passion motivate you! Illustration by Bananodromo.

Without passion for what you’re doing, a project tends not to go very far. Unless there’s drive and enthusiasm to support a fledgling idea, you won’t find the motivation, confidence, or willingness to make sacrifices.

This is especially true when you add a full-time job into the mix. So try to find the thing your so passionate about that you’re itching to work on it even after a long day at your day job. But remember that success rarely happens overnight, so be patient, keep at it and let your passion propel you forward.

Time to hustle

Hustle t-shirt
Determination is all that counts when it comes to your hustle. T-shirt design by Hatch Design.

Side hustle might be thought of as a bit of a buzzword these days, but to dismiss this innately human quality of entrepreneurship would be a mistake. As long as we’ve been on this planet, people have found the drive to innovate, follow their creativity, and overcome the challenges that face us. That’s exactly why a side hustle can be a satisfying (and hopefully lucrative) creative outlet, bringing balance and fulfillment beyond the daily grind.

Now we want to hear your stories. What’s your side hustle? Share your passion project with us on Twitter!