The side hustle has become, for many people, an essential revenue stream at a time when salary cuts and the cost of living are going hand in hand. People are struggling to make ends meet, so the entrepreneurially minded are creating side hustles to bring those ends together. According to Nicol Myburgh, Head: CRS Technologies HCM Business Unit, the side hustle is, 99% of the time, not a fireable offence, but there are some things to look out for.
“The most important consideration for your side hustle is simple – don’t compete with your employer or steal clients from your company,” he says. “Don’t do the exact job you do during the day as your side hustle at night, because that could be a conflict of interest. This is one sure-fire way to get yourself fired.”
To ensure that your side hustle stays right where it is, by your side, it’s worth taking some solid steps with your existing company to ensure that everything is above board. The first is to declare your side hustle to your employer. Tell them what it is, and show them that there’s no conflict of interest. This goes a long way towards easing any potential tension, and resolving any possible problems before they start.
“Around 80% of the time the business will be fine with it,” says Myburgh. “The problem is the 20% who say no, but they technically can’t stop you from doing it. If your side hustle isn’t competing with them, and if there is no sign that it’s impacting on your work or productivity, then you can just go ahead and do it.”
The next step in ensuring that your side hustle doesn’t impact on your relationship with your employer is to make sure that it doesn’t affect your productivity, and that you never do it while you’re at work. If you do it during work time, that’s a problem. If you use work equipment, that’s an even bigger one. Make sure that you engage with your side hustle as ethically as possible; that way you will minimise any friction with your employer while benefitting from your hustle.
“You will also need to look through your existing terms and conditions of employment to see if you legally have to admit to having a side hustle,” warns Myburgh. “It may be listed under a term for declaring interest, so do this upfront and be honest. If you don’t declare it, the company could bring a charge against you. This isn’t worth the hassle, even if it doesn’t lead to dismissal, as it will sour the relationship between you and your employer.”