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  • Writer's pictureSandipan Chatterjee

Moonlighting! A gamechanger route for millionaires or a distractor for the workforce

Working in two places or earning money from two sources was taboo in my early career.

It was a sin, and one may lose the original job if it is ever discovered.

The first time I heard the word "Moonlighting." I was perplexed to find out what the serene moonlight had to do with jobs. Oh, it does, and HR coined this fascinating name for a sinister act.

Law was not always black and white. It needs to be interpreted with logic, empathy, and circumstances. Moonlighting is a concept that has bounced through millions of minds and interpretations over time.

But does it say that the taboo has gone away? Have we become bolder in accepting this? or has it become a strategy to shred an unwanted workforce?

Let's explore!

India to start building businesses in real-time. The surge of startups at every corner has opened the floodgates of opportunities. If more jobs simply demand more hands, then what should an average employee do? Go for the opportunity, or leave it fearing adverse consequences! Individual judgment will speak, as there is no right or wrong.

Some people see it as a risk, but others view it as an opportunity to create something unique and successful. So, what does India think about moonlighting? And is this strategy worth considering if you want to build your own business? Let's dive deep.

How does India look at moonlighting?

Is it a way to build your business in real-time?

It is not seen as something you do on the side but instead as a full-time commitment!

This is because, in India, there is a strong belief that if you want to succeed in business, you must put in the hard work. And what better way to do is by starting your own business?

Of course, moonlighting is not for everyone. It takes a lot of dedication and hard work. But if you are up for the challenge, it can be a great way to get your business.

It could be freelancing, consulting, teaching, etc.

Benefits of Moonlighting in India

There are many benefits to moonlighting in India. For one, it can help you earn extra income. Additionally, moonlighting can allow you to start your own business in real-time. Moonlighting can help you gain valuable experience and contacts.

There are some challenges associated with moonlighting in India.

#1 The first challenge is finding an employer willing to allow you to work another job. This can be challenging, as most employers want their employees to focus on their work for the company. Additionally,

working another job can be challenging to balance with your primary job and may lead to burnout.

#2 Another challenge of moonlighting in India is that you may not be able to work as many hours as you would like. The hustle that you pick up may have specific time targets. It may clash with the primary job and lead to burnout from excessive stress. People who indulge in extra income are deprived of holidays and vacations.

#3 Being aware of the legal implications of moonlighting in India is essential. While there are no specific laws against moonlighting, you must ensure that you are not violating confidentiality agreements with your primary employer. One ideally should not cater to any competition, similar products, or the same client.

Let us check how IT giants treat the issue of moonlighting with their employees. A few months ago, Wipro fired 300 employees for moonlighting. Picking up a side hustle for people working from home is relatively easy. Wipro found it was rampant in the company and took action. They put the ethics of work first, but the question is, have they replaced those positions or taken it as a rightsizing exercise?

Another example is TCS. Their COO once called moonlighting an ethical issue. Still, he does not favor taking strict action against employees who are found taking up freelancing gigs against the company's policies. However, he also noted that TCS could not let employees practice moonlighting, which is a softer stand, more aligned with the trend, and something management does not prioritize.

Let us look at it from an employee's point of view. Moonlighting can be a great way to build your business. Founders in the startup space who find taking up projects in another company enhances their understanding and knowledge through more practice. They interpret this positively by safeguarding the privacy of their business. Employees who are,

treated well, explained well, and supported tend to respect the unsaid rules.

This could be a better way forward.

Moonlighting can be a great way to start entrepreneurship.

There are several popular strategies for starting a business through moonlighting, and each has benefits and drawbacks. The most popular approach is to create a business as a side hustle, gradually building it up over time while keeping your day job. This can be a great way to test the waters and see if your business idea has potential without quitting your job immediately.

Another strategy is to launch your business full-time from the get-go but continue working your day job until you generate enough revenue to support yourself. This approach requires more commitment and risk but can pay off quickly if your business takes off.

Some people quit their jobs entirely to pursue their businesses full-time from the start. This option is risky but can be very rewarding if everything goes well.

Regardless of your chosen strategy, remember that starting a business takes hard work, dedication, and plenty of grit. But if you're passionate about your idea and willing to put in the effort, you can achieve success.

Pro-tips for Successfully Managing a Side Hustle and Making It Profitable

Moonlighting has many benefits, including testing business ideas without quitting your day job, earning extra income, and gaining new skills. However, managing a side hustle can be difficult, and setting yourself up for success is essential. Here are some tips for successfully managing a side hustle:

#1 Set realistic goals. Try to do a little at a time, or you'll quickly become overwhelmed. Start small and gradually build up your side hustle until it's profitable.

#2 Create a schedule and stick to it. Dedicate specific days and times to working on your side hustle so you don't let it interfere with your day job or other commitments. Avoid excessive stress or burnout.

#3 Stay organized. Use a planner, an online calendar, and tech tools to keep track of deadlines and tasks related to your side hustle. This will help you stay on top of everything and avoid missing important deadlines.

#4 Keep your day job your priority. Remember that your goal is to eventually make your side hustle your full-time job. Take your time with your commitment to your present employer. Avoid conflicts at any cost.

#5 Be prepared for setbacks. Things will only sometimes go according to plan with your side hustle; there will be ups and downs, and huge issues with consistency along the way. Accept that this is part of the journey; don't get discouraged when things go imperfectly.

Legal Stand on Moonlighting in India

There are a few legal angles to consider when dealing with moonlighting in India.

The first is that, under Indian law, an individual can only work one job at a time.

You cannot be employed part-time or have a business if you are employed full-time. The UAN, PAN, and Adhar are linked today, so you can get PF from one employer.

Another angle is GST and TDS; for every service you provide, the bill is complete with these payments and deductions. Your data can be easily tracked to determine your dual employment status.

The third legal consideration is that if you work in a sector that requires licensing or registration (such as medicine or teaching), you must ensure that you are appropriately registered and licensed before beginning any moonlighting work. Additional requirements (such as insurance) may need to be met, depending on the sector.

It is important to remember that even though moonlighting may be common practice in India,

it is still technically illegal to work more than one job at a time. As such, there is always a risk of being caught and fined by the authorities.

However, take the necessary precautions by having your employer concur and follow the law carefully. Moonlighting can be a great way to earn extra income without legal trouble.

There are numerous examples of successful Indian entrepreneurs who started their businesses through moonlighting. Many others show that moonlighting can be a viable strategy for starting a business in India.

India started perceiving moonlighting positively, allowing professionals to explore their interests without making long-term commitments or investments.

With its low-risk factor and high potential rewards, moonlighting is undoubtedly a strategy worth considering if you want to be a startup entrepreneur.

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