Can I freelance on the side if I work for a big company?

I want to create some side income beyond my current job. Is this a good idea to do so or would there be negative effects to doing so?

There is a golden rule to follow, having had friends who’ve made GOOD money ($150k+) whilst working on ‘something on the side’ when part of a big company.

[He was asked to remove himself as director of the company he was running or he would be asked to leave. He resigned and later sold his company].

Until you make money. NO ONE [REALLY] CARES in life in general.

Meanwhile if you do mention it:

  • People will grumble, groan
  • REGARDLESS of what you say they will keep an eye on you and find reasons to say it affects your work
  • Imagine if it was your company and someone approached you and said ‘I’m starting a new business on the side but it won’t affect this job’
    • How would that make you feel?
    • Would you really believe them?

And then if you do make money:

They will come after you with the ‘please leave’ ‘please stop’ or ‘where’s mine’ argument’.

So actually I was wrong. Everyone cares all the way.

So I’d say don’t do it:

  • If you value your job more than the potential rewards of freelancing because it will make employed life more problematic
  • The moment there are signs of promise with your Android app: they don’t know what shares you have in the App or if more freelancing jobs await

But if you’re going to do it anyway:

  • Keep low profile
  • Don’t mention it at work
  • Make sure it doesn’t impact work

And good luck!

Originally posted on freelancing side projects