Balancing Your Side-Hustle and Full-Time Gig: How Greg Marano Juggles Teaching and Freelancing

Small Business
a laptop screen showing an image of a building that has a plant growing out of it

Greg Marano of The Syracuse Pen loves teaching seventh-grade English, but he wanted to use his writing skills more. So in 2015, he decided to try his hand at freelance writing and editing.

When he started freelancing and marketing his skills, he wasn’t looking at niching into resumes. But as he spoke with more and more people, Greg realized that there was significant demand for resume writers. It wasn’t long before he decided to specialize in writing compelling resumes and helping his clients land their next job.

In our recent episode of the Cash Flow Show, Greg shared his insights on running a side hustle while maintaining a full-time job.

Balancing a full-time job with a side hustle

Juggling a job and a business isn’t easy, but Greg has a sustainable system that makes time for both.

Greg attributes much of his success to the fact that he’s been teaching for 13 years and has a strong support system in his full-time job. Not only does he have years of lesson plans to draw from, but he can share and streamline his ideas with co-workers. Thanks to his experience, he’s been able to create an ideal work environment.

At school, he can focus on his students and grading papers. This lets Greg dedicate his time outside of school hours to freelancing.

“That's because school is my bread and butter. And I really, really enjoy it so that has to take priority. But I plan it in such a way that I make the most use of my school time for school, so I have most time at home for the business.

His freelancing hours are filled with client calls, analyzing resumes, and writing projects. On the rare occasion he has to bring home school work, Greg has the flexibility to turn off his side hustle.

“If we’re starting something new or we have a big project at school, I'll turn off the Google ads, or let new clients know that there's a longer timeframe than usual,” says Greg. “That's because school is my bread and butter. And I really, really enjoy it so that has to take priority. But I plan it in such a way that I make the most use of my school time for school, so I have most time at home for the business.”

Finding Clients

When you have limited time to spend on your side hustle, one struggle is finding out how to get clients. Originally, Greg started out on Upwork, a marketplace for service providers and businesses to connect. And while that’s still a useful platform, he has since expanded into using advertising channels and personal referrals for attracting clients.

Word-of-mouth referrals are by far the most effective means of getting clients. After all, people trust a friend or coworker over an ad. But Greg also leverages organic LinkedIn traffic and Google Ads, which he can turn on and off depending on his budget or workload. This provides him with a low-cost avenue to find high-quality clients.

“I look at my ads and discover which forms are bringing me the best revenue,” says Greg. “The ones that attract the most reliable and frequent customers are the ones I reinvest in.”

Organizing multiple sources of cash flow

It’s fairly common for business owners with two income sources, especially two active businesses, to get expert financial advice. While Greg keeps a spreadsheet of his general cash flow, he employs an accountant to help him prepare taxes and keep track of expenses.

This allows him to get expert financial advice and focus more on what matters—writing for his clients.

But that doesn’t mean that Greg isn’t keeping an eye on his cash flow. With a full-time job teaching, the pressure to grow his business’ revenue isn’t as intense as it is for other ventures, but he still likes to keep tabs on his business finances and ensures that he maintains a low overhead.

As a freelancer specializing in writing, overhead is generally low. Most of Greg’s finances fall into the category of advertising or professional memberships, such as the Better Business Bureau and the National Resume Writers Association. He also keeps some money aside for computer upgrades or repairs.

Greg occasionally uses cash flow projections but doesn’t lean on them. Why? He usually outperforms his projections.

“It's hard to project because the business is still growing. And it's grown every year since I started,” says Greg. “Every time I've made a projection, I've always gone well past it. So if I were to make a projection, I usually find that I'm projecting a little too conservatively.

Manage cash flow for all of your businesses with one click

Greg has a lot on his plate, but he gets it all done thanks to organized business operations and finances that he keeps simplified.

If you juggle multiple businesses or a side-hustle, it can help to have a clear view of your separate cash flows with easy-to-understand visualizations. With Pulse, you can efficiently manage your cash flow for multiple businesses and organize that data into reports and projections. Try it out free for 30 Daysand get a better grasp on your cash flow.