3 ways to decide if starting a side hustle on top of your full-time job is right for you

woman typing on laptop
Many Americans have taken on side gigs as a way to earn extra money.

  • A side gig is a great way to add extra income or explore your passion outside of a full-time job.
  • Look at your savings and current workload to determine if the gig economy is right for you.
  • Network with other creatives to get a sense of whether or not the financial rewards are worth the extra work.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Side gigs can be a lucrative way to earn extra cash or expand your horizons – but is it worth the extra stress to have a side hustle and a full-time job?

Although the last decade has seen “the gig economy” blossom and prosper like never before, the concept of the side gig has existed for ages. Anyone looking to earn more money has found that an additional job of some sort is the quickest and easiest way to gain additional financial security.

With the pandemic, millions of Americans began picking up extra “gigs” working for companies including Instacart, Amazon, Uber, and countless other businesses that filled an important niche during COVID. Women were already at the heart of the gig economy long before the pandemic, and many more found themselves starting new side jobs over this last year and a half – perhaps while also holding down full-time positions and caring for loved ones … But working a full-time job and side hustle can be incredibly time consuming, and not always doable with everyone’s schedule. Here’s how to know if doing both may be right for you.

Working “second shift”

Before COVID, many women were likely already working a “second shift” as the primary caregiver for loved ones (such as children and aging parents) and were acting as the caretaker of their home. Once the pandemic hit, millions of women added “teacher” to their list of jobs, and the lines between work life and home life became particularly blurred … Even if your partner worked from home, you most likely continued to do a majority of the domestic work. As a result, it might not be possible to put extra time and energy into a side hustle right now.

And even if you have time for a side gig, taking it on might not be the healthiest option. Over time, it can become just one more ball to juggle rather than a financial relief or a place to put your passion and energy. Finding the elusive “work-life balance” – which, by the way, is a misnomer – becomes even more of a challenge and can take a toll on your mental and physical wellness. In fact, research shows that people who work more than 55 hours a week develop depression and anxiety at a higher rate than those who work standard hours.

We all need to give ourselves a little more grace and realize that working a full-time job, a side hustle, and taking care of a household isn’t always the right choice.

Is the side gig economy right for you?

If you’re deciding whether adding a side gig to your plate is the right move, consider the following:

1. Do you have an emergency fund?

If you have an emergency fund that can cover at least three to six months of non-discretionary expenses, that’s great! And it might mean that you don’t need to take on a side gig for the sole purpose of gaining extra income.

If you don’t currently have an emergency fund – or if it’s not enough to cover the essentials for a few months – then a side gig could be beneficial. Regardless, consider putting your emergency fund in an online account that generally pays higher interest.

2. How much do you have saved for retirement?

Ideally, you should save at least 15% of your net income for retirement. If you have access to a 401(k) through your full-time job and your employer offers a match, try to contribute enough to reach your match – and don’t forget that whatever your employer is contributing counts toward your savings target!

If you don’t have a retirement plan or can’t save 15% right now, that’s okay, too. We’re all at different places with our careers and savings goals. A side job that helps you bring in extra money can help boost your savings.

3. Can you devote energy to a side gig?

Extra money is certainly nice to have, but that is only one piece to consider. A side gig takes a lot of energy, resources, and time. Make sure it’s something you’re passionate about because there will be setbacks and days when you don’t feel like you’re making progress. Research and network with people who have similar side jobs to determine what it will take to add the job to your current load. If it seems like the side gig will add too much stress or unhappiness to your life – and take away from what you’re already doing – it might not be right for you.

Ultimately, it’s important to determine whether the financial rewards of a full-time job and side hustle outweigh the potential downsides. Burnout is real and very prevalent right now as people take on too many responsibilities. It’s important to make sure you have the time and energy not just for work and home life, but for yourself as well. If your side gig becomes successful enough, however, it might just be your ticket to pursuing your passion full time.

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6 tried-and-true business email templates that every professional should use

Email notification on laptop
In most situations, being direct yet respectful is the best way to communicate.

  • Business emails can be difficult to nail if you’re trying to curate a professional tone and message.
  • Try these templates to get sales and referrals, ask for freebies, and handle unprofessionalism.
  • Use each of them as they are, or tweak to impart your own personal style and cadence.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

You didn’t get this job so you could live in email hell. These business email templates will help you send the right message every time.

Do you ever open your least favorite client’s email, read it while filling up with rage, close the email, and then stew about it the rest of the day (without ever responding)? Do you wonder if you’re being too direct when you write a business email? Or too cutesy?

What you need are some email blueprints – tried-and-true business email templates you can use to get sales and referrals, ask for freebies and deal with unprofessional communications. While your personal style will vary, it’s nice to have email examples to build on. (As an aside, here are some annoying email cliches that drive recipients nuts.)

These six email examples will make sure your next awkward ask sounds cool, calm, and professional. Use each of them as they are, or tweak to impart your own cadence.

Read more: A computer science professor breaks down how he became more productive by cutting back on emails until he checked his inbox just ‘once or twice’ a week

1. I don’t know you, but you should buy from me

The Email-Send Situation: You want strangers to give you money, but you don’t want to be a spammer.

Sending an email is a little less nerve-wracking than cold-calling people, but you still don’t want to spend time crafting a personal email to a prospect only to get a one-word reply: “UNSUBSCRIBE.”

How do you avoid that? Obviously, don’t send a template email that sounds like it went out to 10,000 people at once. But going in the other direction has its perils as well – don’t write an email that sounds really friendly and social and complimentary, and then sneakily slip in, “And it’s only $400 per month!” That’s obnoxious and everyone hates it.

Ideally, you want to sound like a human being and a peer your prospective client would enjoy doing business with. To do that, share your personal involvement in the product to show you’re not just a salesperson. Use lead-ins like: “I’ve spent the last year working on X,” or “My team and I have just launched version 2.0.” It’s also important to take into consideration the news as of late and try to impart something relevant into the conversation, to show that this isn’t the same email you always send, and that you took the time to think about what you wanted to mention.

What’s in the following business email template example might not be the best way to conduct cold sales emails. LinkedIn is often a more appropriate venue, since everyone is there to do business. (Here’s how to rock your LinkedIn profile to stand out from the herd.)

Use This Email Template:

Dear [Person’s Name],

Hi, I’m [name], from [company]. I don’t think we’ve met yet, but we’re both members of [networking group].

I’m emailing you because I’ve spent the last year working on an offering I think might be right for [your company] – this is a [example: CRM software package] specifically for [your type of business].

Compared to the top three providers in the market, we are more than $300 cheaper per month, while still providing all the features smaller businesses need. If I’m right that switching to us would help you save money, I can personally assist you in transferring over.

(If you don’t currently use CRM software, this might not be a match, although we do have an onboarding process for smaller businesses just getting started with CRM.)

Thanks in advance for considering this, and I hope to meet you in person at [networking group] one of these days.

Sincerely,
[You]
[LinkedIn link]
[physical address, showing you are a real company and not sketchy at all]

2. Give me free things

The Email Situation: You want to use an event space and you don’t want to pay for it. You want a software package that costs $250 a month, and you just don’t have the cash, but you’re not a nonprofit. Why should anyone just give you stuff?

Requests for free things are usually a long shot – but that’s OK, since there’s nothing stopping you from asking 20 event spaces for a freebie in the hopes of getting one “yes.” So how can you increase your chances of success?

Don’t just ask for something for free. In fact, try not to use the word “free” at all. Ask a business to “comp” you, or ask for an “in-kind sponsorship.” Even better, ask a business to “collaborate” with you, “sponsor” you, or become a “partner.”

These kinds of pitches also work out better when you can offer something in return. You could offer to write reviews for the company on Yelp and other platforms or allow yourself to be used as a testimonial or before-and-after study. The fact that you don’t have much money, power, or influence actually makes your recommendations more valuable, since you’re a real person.

Here’s an example of a business email that doesn’t start with the dreaded “Can I have your stuff for free?”

Use This Email Template:

Hi [software founder]:

We are a startup that [does exciting and awesome stuff]. It looks like [software] would be perfect for our needs. It really looks like you’ve thought of everything!

We are currently in the process of seeking investment, which is a bit of an extended process. Would you be able to offer us an extended free trial of 10 months, rather than one? By that point, we should be able to upgrade to the Standard or Premium version.

Thanks for considering this. By the way, I’d be happy to review the software on [software site] and on our own blog. Let me know!

Sincerely,
[You]
[Founder, AwesomeCorp]

3. I want all the referrals, please

The Email Situation: You met someone at a networking event and you want her to send you business. So far, your entire relationship with her is a 10-minute chat while you wore name tags and drank wine out of plastic cups. Not much to build on.

But if you just had a fairly standard chat in which you each explained your business, one of you joked about the cheese plate, and then you moved on, don’t send an email suggesting that she send all her clients to you, starting immediately.

Instead, keep the email subtle, light, and friendly, and try to offer a useful resource – and then jam your pitch and links into your signature.

This puts your offer in front of her without shoving it in her face or forcing her to write an awkward reply email. When interested parties click on the links in your signature, they feel like they’re checking you out, not like they’re doing an annoying chore.

Use This Email Template:

Hi [Name],

It was a pleasure meeting you last night at [networking event]. I just wanted to send a quick email (and LinkedIn invite!) to keep in touch.

Oh, and that website I mentioned that I thought might be useful to you is [URL]. Hope that helps.

See you at the next event!

Sincerely,
You
[Company Name/URL]
[A descriptive tagline, like “Home to sell? Call us first!”]
[All your contact information]
[Another link to a specific offer, article about you in the press, etc. Really go for broke down here.]

IF YOU HAVEN’T MET IN PERSON: We realize that you likely haven’t met anyone at a networking event anytime recently, but we’re sure there have been Zoom meetings or group chats or other connections where you may have crossed paths online. Here is a revised version of the above email if you met virtually during a pandemic, but still would like to get your referrals out there.

Hi [Name],

It was a pleasure chatting with you the other evening on [name of platform you connected on or with and which group]. I just wanted to send a quick email (and LinkedIn invite!) so that we might keep in touch, and eventually meet up in person.

Oh, I wanted to also send along a website I thought might be useful to you [URL]. Hope it helps.

Let’s be in touch soon to plan something in person when we can!

Sincerely,
You
[Company Name/URL]
[A descriptive tagline, like “Home to sell? Call us first!”]
[All your contact information]
[Another link to a specific offer, article about you in the press, etc. Really go for broke down here.]

4. We’re raising our rates

The Email Situation: Your rates are reasonable – so reasonable that no one ever complains or says no. Guess what? That means it’s time to raise your rates.

Do NOT make excuses for raising your rates. Don’t even give reasons. (You won’t see any of that in the following business email template.) Definitely don’t complain that the rent is going up, or you’re having trouble paying the bills.

But you don’t want to make your clients feel unappreciated or out of the loop, so don’t spring major cost increases without ample notice, and be sure to reward clients for their loyalty.

Use This Email Template:

Dear [Client Name],

I’m writing to let you know that as of [date 30 days from now], our rates will be increasing from [old rate] to [new rate].

However, to thank you for your longstanding relationship with us, [your firm] will be grandfathered in and will be able to keep booking us at the current rate until [date six months from now] – that’s an extra five months before the rate increase kicks in.

Thanks for helping make us a success, and we look forward to continuing to work with you.

Sincerely,
[You]

5. Could you stop being such a jerk?

The Email Situation: Your client is verbally abusing you or your employees. He makes unreasonable demands. He wants extra services without paying for them and will shout at you if he doesn’t get them. You’re probably better off without him, but first let’s try a warning shot.

You must hit this situation head-on. Do NOT do something passive-aggressive, like sending the client an email telling him to submit all his future requests through a Web form instead of calling. Do not seem desperate to keep the client’s business. Do not use “I feel” language (“I feel that our working relationship has taken a bad turn”) – you’re not married to this person. Do not throw your own employees under the bus or condone abuse against yourself or your employees.

Instead, be direct about the fact that there is a problem, the situation is not sustainable, and you’re comfortable with the fact that you and the client might need to break up. Don’t shrink back – use the email to insist on a phone call or Zoom meeting. Today. Tomorrow at the latest.

At the same time, give the client a face-saving way to shape up. He doesn’t need to apologize (although it would be nice). He just needs to say, “No, let’s keep things the way they are. I was just having a bad day.” Here’s a business email template that will lead him down the right path.

Use This Business Email Template:

Hi [person],

I heard from [Tara, our lead designer,] that we got an angry phone call from you the other day. It’s important to us to make sure our projects are being executed as per our agreements, and also that our employees are able to work in a cordial and positive environment.

Let’s schedule a meeting to talk about workflow. It seems as though you are requesting rounds of revisions that are out of scope as stated in the contract and our team isn’t authorized to use additional time. If this is the case, we can move you to an hourly billing arrangement. If that isn’t suitable, we may unfortunately have to remove ourselves from your projects.

Is this afternoon good? I’m available [whenever time you can talk].

Sincerely,
[The Boss]

Note that this email doesn’t undermine Tara in any way, nor does it suggest that the customer is always right. It does suggest that a contract is in place and the company will fulfill the terms of that contract. It also makes it clear that the company will be just fine without this guy’s money.

That said, plenty of unreasonable clients back down when you threaten them with hourly billing or some other way of making them pay for their own unreasonableness.

6. I’m firing you as a client

The Email Situation: Your client continues to be an a**hole.

Is working with jerks the reason you went into business? You dreamed of going to college so you could bend over backward to accommodate people you loathe? Didn’t think so.

Don’t keep horrible clients, because even if you only spend a few hours a week actually interacting with a bad client, how many hours do you spend thinking about that person? And running back over conversations in your head?

Even if you’re desperate for business, firing the client may still be the right move – it’ll free up bandwidth to find new clients. There’s an opportunity cost to doing business with jerks; it takes up energy you could be using to locate non-jerks.

Note that we don’t waver in the business email template below. Don’t “explore the possibility” of breaking up. Don’t talk about how you feel. Don’t lie or avoid the issue (“We just have too many clients, so we’re cutting back – nothing personal!”). Please. Woman up. Don’t leave an opening for the client to argue or try to change your mind. Don’t list the client’s sins. Don’t try to get the client to agree with you about how wrong he is. And don’t provide a referral.

This is one business email where you must be concise, unemotional, and unimpeachably professional. Just say, “I’m writing to terminate our contract” or, if you want to be a bit nicer: “I’m resigning as your accountant.”

Refund any money the client is due. Keep it classy – if there’s any question at all, give them their money and get out cleanly.

Use This Business Email Template:

Dear [Horrific Client],

I’m writing to let you know that, unfortunately, our arrangement isn’t working out, and I am terminating our professional relationship.

I’ve attached your [February bookkeeping] to date, and all the documents I have that your next [bookkeeper] might find helpful. I’ve also refunded your February retainer payment.

I wish you the best of success in your future endeavors.

Sincerely,
[You]

Read the original article on Business Insider

1 in 3 women of color are planning on leaving their jobs by next year, according to a new survey. Here’s what employers should do to help.

Black women influencers
Many women of color are often the ‘first’ or one of a ‘few’ in their corporate environments and the challenging dynamics that come with that are exhausting.

  • Women of color often feel unheard, unseen, and mentally and physically burned out at work.
  • A new survey found that nearly “two-thirds of women of color are not satisfied with their company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.”
  • Women of color don’t feel safe talking about their challenges or saying they need a break without it affecting their career.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Women of color are exhausted. That is why so many of them are planning on leaving their job by sometime next year. Are you one of them?

A recent survey by Fairygodboss, the largest career company for women, and nFormation, a community for and by professional women of color, found that one in 3 of all women of color are planning on leaving their jobs by next year. More than anything else, the women surveyed cited feelings of burnout as their reason for leaving.

As the saying goes, a woman’s work is never done, and in 2020 our workloads became back-breaking. Many women faced additional family duties such as homeschooling kids, or taking care of aging parents in addition to having to shoulder most household responsibilities and increased demands at work.

“When you add all of these factors on top of the racial, gender, and class-based trauma caused by the events of the past year and the ways that those events directly impact the hearts, minds, and psyches of women of color, it can be easy to understand why all of us just need a break,” said Rha Goddess, cofounder of nFormation. “We have to remember that women of color are navigating the challenges of often being a ‘first’ or a ‘few’ in their corporate environments and many of the challenging dynamics that come with that, even in the best companies, are already exhausting.”

With women of color facing both the COVID-19 pandemic and the plague of racism, Goddess said, of course, stress levels increased in 2020. The survey found that despite lofty statements about a commitment to diversity, nearly two-thirds of women of color are not satisfied with their company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. And 60% of women of color feel that their companies are not prepared to handle racist incidents in the workplace – both contributing factors when it comes to leaving their jobs.

“Many of the women we speak with at nFormation are tired of having the same conversations over and over again with leaders who just don’t seem to consider the full scope of their realities and the ways in which they differ greatly from their white colleagues,” Goddess said. “They want to be in the company of people who get it without the need for a PowerPoint.”

Furthermore, many women of color want more than a career; they desire a calling, which also causes women of color to consider leaving their jobs.

“COVID has caused many women of color to reconsider their career paths and they want to find a career with greater purpose,” said Georgene Huang, CEO and cofounder of Fairygodboss.

Reclaiming my time after leaving my job

Dionne Nicole of Houston, Texas, recently left her job at a full-service boutique marketing agency. She was hired to be a copywriter but as the company’s number of clients grew and the staff didn’t, she found her role expanding. Soon, she was handling strategy, business coaching, and project management for clients.

Then 2020 happened.

“It was a challenging year for all of us with the COVID-19 pandemic, but especially for me, as a single Black woman,” she said. “George Floyd’s murder was such a stark reminder that I’m not safe in this country, that the work isn’t over, and I have to continue to advocate for myself.”

Nicole says she felt that in order to do so, leaving her job was a must. She needed to no longer be in an environment that didn’t support her well-being.

“I also need to have more control over who benefits from my intelligence and gifts because I want the world to be different and I feel called to do my part,” she said. “That’s why I decided to start my own business.”

Today Dionne Nicole is a holistic business coach for women who want to do business differently. Her goal is to show women that the 9-to-5 or 40-hour workweek model isn’t the only path to productivity – something she realized during her time at her previous job.

“I need to have space for deep work, and I need to be able to stop and go for a walk and let my ideas marinate instead of being behind a desk just for the sake of being seen as working,” she said. “There is absolutely not just one way to accomplish something.”

Most of all, Dionne Nicole wants to help the women she works with to prioritize self-care. During the pandemic, she recorded more than 100 episodes for her podcast Unconventional Self-Care Diary to offer ways women can reexamine their relationship to self-care.

“A bath only goes so far,” she said.

Dionne Nicole wants to help women learn how to give themselves a break.

“More than anything, I’m on a mission to help women value rest because in a world that is ‘go, go, go,’ I want to reclaim my time,” she said. “My ancestors didn’t have the luxury of rest, so I actually consider it a form of my reparations.”

What can companies do to better serve women of color?

If companies want to retain the women of color they employ, they must get serious about diversity and inclusion initiatives – which means moving beyond lip service.

“Corporate pledges and statements are a great place to start, but they need to be backed up with actions,” Huang said.

These actions should include investing time and resources into defining a diversity and inclusion strategy that spans recruitment, hiring, and workplace practices and that sets specific goals.

“From thousands of anonymous company reviews left on Fairygodboss, we know that seeing women and women of color, in positions of leadership is critical in attracting women to your organization and is a clear example of showcasing your commitment to gender diversity,” Huang said.

Company leaders must be willing to have difficult conversations.

“There has to be honest dialogue about where the gaps are in knowledge, mindset and behavior so that they can be addressed,” Goddess said. “Company leaders need to be willing to be educated about realities that are distinct from their own.”

Women of color need to feel safe to talk about the challenges they face and safe to say they need a break without it being detrimental to their career. Women of color also need to feel supported in their goals and aspirations.

“High quality leaders understand the importance of investing in their people,” Goddess said. “According to our women, there are cases where individual leaders within companies are doing it and it makes a world of difference when a woman of color can say that she feels seen and heard by the people who are supposed to serve and support her leadership.”

Women of color want credit where it’s due. When they don’t get it, they consider leaving their jobs.

“They want their intelligence, brilliance and infinite potential to be recognized instead of taken for granted,” Goddess said. “They want to be honored for their contribution.”

But company leaders must care about their employees’ overall well-being, too.

“At nFormation, our women are seeking a kind of asylum from all of these never-ending demands to put everyone else’s needs and agendas before their own health,” Goddess said. “Yes, women of color are strong, but we are also human.”

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