How to Build a Side Business While You Drive For Uber & Lyft

A person working at there computer with a cup of coffee

Do you drive for Uber or Lyft but dream of something bigger?

You’re not alone.

For many Uber drivers, driving is just a side-hustle to help them reach a greater goal. It makes sense – driving for Uber is a great way to make money while working on building your own business.

If your ambitions are greater than ridesharing, it’s going to take a lot of work. You’re going to need to put in a lot of hours and sacrifice your spare time to reach your goals.

Ready to put in the work?

This post will break down the steps you’ll need to take to make some extra cash and turn your dreams into reality while being a rideshare driver.

We’ll start with goal setting and planning before going into how you can turn that plan into action. To close things out, we’ll provide some tips on how you can stay sane along the way.

Contents:


Set Your Goals

If you’re reading this, you probably already have some goal in mind. You’ve seen the bigger picture, and you know you don’t want to be a rideshare driver forever.

And you know that one career option is to turn your passion project or business idea into your full-time gig.

Maybe you have a small business idea, and you’re just biding your time until you go “all in.” Perhaps you’re a creative with dreams of becoming a best-selling author or selling your artwork.

Whatever your goals are, you need to make sure they are clearly defined. This doesn’t mean that you have some “pie in the sky” goal, this means that you know exactly what you want to achieve.

To help you more clearly define your goals, try adopting SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Time-bound.

When it comes to rideshare driving, we would suggest having one SMART goal related to your Uber and Lyft earnings.

Use this template as an example:

By January 1, 2020, I will have $10,000 saved from driving for Uber and Lyft 48-hours per week. The funds saved will be used to reduce the number of hours I drive for Uber and Lyft so I can spend more time on my business.

After you have a clearly defined Uber goal, it’s time to set your side-gig goal, here’s an example.

By January 31, 2021, I will generate $2,000 of monthly revenue with my freelance web-design business. I will secure this revenue by billing 10 hours a week at a rate of $50/hour.

This monthly revenue will be invested in myself, so I can quit driving rideshare and work on my business full-time.

Both of the above goals are very specific since they clearly define what you are going to do. They are measurable because there is a number attached to them (i.e., $10,000 saved).

They are achievable because they both provide a brief explanation on how it can be accomplished. They are results-focused because they are looking at achieving a specific outcome. And they are time-bound because there is a set completion date.

Once you have your goals clearly defined, put them somewhere so that you see them every single day.

Write them down or print them out and have them on the dashboard of your car. That way, you will be able to stay focused on the bigger picture while you’re driving those 50-hours per week.

Keep a copy above your side-business workstation and in your wallet. This will keep you grounded and remind you that you are working so hard because of something bigger.

Every hour you waste and every dollar you spend frivolously is preventing you from reaching your goals.

It’s too easy to get stuck in your comfort zone with driving for Uber or Lyft. The money is decent and the work is relatively low stress, but you have to keep your goals in mind.


Make a Plan

Once your goals are clearly defined, start building a more specific plan on how you’re going to reach them.

First, think about the requirements to reach your goals. How many hours do you need to work, how many clients or investors do you need to pitch, how many paintings do you need to complete and how many do you need to sell?

When you’re crafting your plan, start by creating a daily schedule based on the requirements you just defined.

Breaking it down in small junks will make it more clear on how you can obtain your broader goals.

Looking at the example goals we defined above, you would have to drive for Uber for eight hours a day for six days a week, so that is going to take up a ton of your time. You can also assume that you’ll need a minimum of eight hours of sleep per night, so that leaves you with eight more hours in your day to work on your business.

These eight extra hours are when dreams are transformed.

Here’s an example of how you could break down these 8 hours to achieve your goal:

  • 1 hour – get ready for ridesharing
  • 1 hour – make and eat dinner
  • 1 hour – 30 minutes for breakfast, 30 minutes for lunch
  • 30 minutes – exercise
  • 30 minutes – relaxation time before bed
  • 1 hour – spend time with friends/family/loved ones
  • 2 hours – work on client work, if no client’s, work on portfolio
  • 1 hour – connect and pitch potential clients
  • 8 hours – sleep
  • 8 hours – ridesharing

Total: 24 hours

If you look at the second goal we defined above, we need ten billable hours per week to reach $2,000 in a month. This daily plan makes time for 12 billable hours (if you work six days a week).

It also makes times for relaxation, friends and family, meals, etc. But most importantly, it also makes time for a day off!

Everyone always says they are too busy, but few people rarely audit their time to see they are wasting way more time than they ever knew. If you create a strict schedule attached to a goal, you’ll realize that you had more time than you thought.

One great thing about rideshare driving is that you have the flexibility to create your schedule. That means that you don’t have to complete your eight hours in one go.

You could drive for two hours during the morning rush hour, two hours during the evening rush, and four hours at night to reach your goal.

Breaking up your schedule like this will not only provide some much need breaks for your side-business, it also allows you to work during the day when most other people are working.

Working during the day means you’ll be able to pitch clients while they’re at their desk, which will increase your chances of landing a meeting.

It doesn’t matter how you break up your schedule as long as you have one. If you don’t have a breakdown of how you’re going to spend your time, you’ll fall back into old habits and waste precious time that could be used to build your successful business empire.

Consider setting regular work hours for yourself, meaning you work on your side hustle during the day and drive for Uber or Lyft on nights and weekends.

This is not only a great way to break up your time so you can be productive during the day, but driving nights and weekends — particularly Saturday nights — are an opportunity to make even more extra cash.

Maximize your time even more by taking advantage of surge pricing (if you’re an Uber driver) and Prime Time (if you’re a Lyft driver)! You can learn all about the ins and outs of this lucrative perk of being a rideshare driver.


Stick To Your Plan, But Don’t Neglect Your Wellbeing

Goals, plans, and schedules are worthless if you don’t stick to them. Unfortunately, this is the hardest part of building a business.

Every hour of your day will be accounted for, which means when friends are throwing a party, you will probably have to decline. There will be nights when you want to binge watch Netflix, but you’ll need to persevere.

Long days and nights are the norms but many entrepreneurs, but the daily grind can take its toll. Feeling tired is normal, but you need to take steps to avoid total burnout.

To avoid burnout, take time for yourself.

As you likely noticed in the example schedule above, we allocated time for relaxation, family, and meals. Make sure to use this time; it’s essential to stay healthy and motivated.

Once you apply to be a rideshare driver, confirm that you meet the driver requirements, pass the background check, and are allowed to begin accepting ride requests, be diligent and stick to your schedule — but also know your limits.

If while you’re driving for work and feel overly stressed, pull over and take a break. With no boss looking over your shoulder, you have the freedom to control the pace of your life and your day.


Analyze Progress and Adjust Accordingly

At the end of every month, it’s important to step back an analyze your progress. Remember those goals you set in the beginning?

Take a look at them and ask yourself if you are getting any closer to reaching them.

If you’re not getting any closer, you’ll need to make some changes.

Maybe your goal was overly ambitious, and you need to adjust it. There is nothing wrong with this as long as you don’t make it a happen.

Remember that making your goals Achievable is one of the tenets of SMART goals.

Maybe your goal is still achievable, but you need to adjust your plan to make it happen. Or perhaps you find out that your idea isn’t working out.

If you aren’t following your daily schedule regularly, that means that schedule is broken and you need to fix it.

Regular check-ins and adjustments to your goals and plan are essential because otherwise, you’ll veer too far off the path to success and abandoned them altogether.


Tips for Staying Sane

We get it, driving full-time while starting a business is stressful. You’ll be busy all the time and budgeting every dollar.

But remember, you’re doing this for a reason! Sometimes that reason is not enough to maintain your sanity. Check out these tips on how to keep going when the going gets tough.

Stick to your working hours. Sometimes you’ll be on a roll and want to work longer than you allocated, but don’t neglect those important times for relaxation, meals, family, etc.

It’s better to put a project on hold than to work so hard you burn out before the finish line.

As an independent contractor and small business owner, no one is there to tell you to take a break, you’re in charge of your time, and you have to make sure you’re handling it responsibly.

Get the right tools. Take advantage of every bit of technology you can to help you maximize your productivity. When you’re driving, use driving apps to track expenses, switch between Uber and Lyft, find the cheapest gas, etc.

There’s no reason to make things harder than they have to be. Make life easier by utilizing what’s available.

Set small milestones. Your SMART goals are a great start, but the big picture will seem much more attainable when you break it down into smaller milestones.

Accomplishing smaller milestones will keep you on track while maintaining your inspiration.

Reward yourself. Every time you reach a milestone, reward yourself! There’s no point in working all day and night if you can’t smile every once in a while.

Treat yourself to a fancy dinner with your loved ones or take a trip on your day off. These small rewards will help you build powerful habits and remind you why you’re working so hard in the first place.


Driving for Uber and Lyft is a great side hustle, and for some people, it’s a great full-time job. But for other, rideshare driving is only a way to make decent extra money while working towards larger goals.

If you dream of something bigger, it’s going to take a lot of work. But working without a clearly defined path is fruitless labor.

Instead, make sure you know what you’re working for by setting SMART goals. Once you have your goals, create a daily plan to help you reach those goals.

From there, you’ll need to work diligently to keep that schedule. If keeping your schedule isn’t possible, make changes during monthly reviews.

The key to building your business is to break it into digestible junks. Start with your high-level ambitions and slowly work down until you know how you’re going to spend every hour of every day.

Don’t forget to neglect your wellbeing by scheduling downtime and taking breaks.

Increasing your revenue stream to make it possible to take your side hustle to the next level is possible — it just takes hard work and determination.

Being an Uber driver is a great way to make extra money while you tune up your skill set and build your passion project into a full-time business.

Whether you live in New York City, San Francisco, or in small town America, you can make the dream happen if you stick to it.

If you’re able to stick to your schedule and make incremental progress towards your goals, you’ll be quitting your day job of rideshare and working full-time on your side-gig before you know it.



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