It’s the American dream to own your own business. But like most of us, we have to pay the bills so we have full-time jobs.
I love my job and I love what I do. Building a side business is not a “plan B” for me. Rather, it has become a passion of mine to create something from nothing while helping others in the process.
However, it can be tough to juggle a career and entrepreneurship. You don’t want to just slide by in your job and not further your career. But, you also don’t want to give your side business the attention it needs to grow.
How can you balance furthering your career and growing a business?
The Balancing Act
This is something I struggle with daily. You create plans upon plans, and somehow, another day slips by without you taking some action on your business. Work has to get done, another project comes up, or you need to learn a new skill that will help accomplish a task at work.
You have to show your company that you are fully committed to your position and growing with them. You also need to enjoy the fruits of your labor and have a life outside of work in general (this includes your side business).
I’m what Emily Wapnick would call a multipotentialite. This makes things even more complicated. I enjoy a plethora of activities including video games, music, hiking, camping, fishing, grilling, biking, working out, reading, and more. If you are a multipotentialite like me, you can quickly get overwhelmed by a number of things you can devote your time to. I have even let some of my hobbies slip by the wayside. This is not because I don’t enjoy them anymore, but because my focus is on other things.
When you combine everything that you can divide your time by in one day, you quickly see there are only so many hours in day (and days in a week, etc.) We also know that consistency is the key to accomplishing your goals. This means working at it every day.
This is where your priorities come into play.
This is likely the most important thing you can do before pursuing any endeavor. If you have no established goal with a clear metric, you have no parameters for which to measure your steps towards that goal. For example, if you have a blog and your goal is build your audience, include a metric and be SPECIFIC (e.g. grow my website traffic to 50k pageviews per month). Not only does this goal have clear guidelines, it includes a metric to reach. Follow the S.M.A.R.T. method when developing your goals:
- Specific (simple, sensible, significant)
- Measurable (meaningful, motivating)
- Achievable (agreed, attainable)
- Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based)
- Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive)
Master Time Management
If building a side business is a priority to you, you will manage your time so that you can do one thing each day to grow your business. I know, sometimes I would like to sleep any extra 30 minutes too. I’m not one of those entrepreneurs that are going to tell you that you need sacrifice your sleep in order to hustle. I’m a firm believer in a good night’s rest! You can’t make the good decisions to devote time to what is a priority in your life if you don’t.
One tactic I use to prioritize my days, weeks, and months is bullet journaling. Research has been done on the power of physically writing your goals down. And it works!
Consider devoting at least 5 minutes a day to plan your day for a week. I highly recommend the personal kanban method as it helps you to focus on one task at a time.
Audit Your Habits
Aristotle was quoted saying:
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.”
Take a hard look at your habits and track them over a month’s time. Did you notice any patterns? Chances are you could replace unwanted habits and free up a lot of your time to devote to your goals. Try to replace one of your habits and devote at least 30 minutes towards your business or life goal.
“Doubt is only removed by action. If you’re not working, then that’s where the doubt comes in. — Conor McGregor”
Take Consistent Action
If you don’t accomplish a major project one day that you wanted to finish, don’t beat yourself up! As long as you are taking consistent action each day, you are slowly working towards your goal. As Gary Vaynerchuk often iterates: Micro speed, macro patience. It’s important to realize that to accomplish any goal, it’s always taken one small step at a time.
Take Cues from Your Preferences
Set aside the time each day when you know you will be in the best mindset to work. Consider the environment, the time of day when you are most creative and productive, and a time when you will have minimal interruptions or distractions. Speaking of distractions, turn them off! Put your phone and other devices on “Do Not Disturb” and then set a timer. When that timer is on, completely devote yourself to the task at hand. You will surprise yourself with how quickly the time goes by and how much you accomplish when you really devote yourself.
The biggest takeaway I can give you from this post is to audit your daily habits. What you do every day determines the rest of your life. If you want to have a successful business, then you MUST take action every day to grow it. Even if it something as small as scheduling your social media, reaching out to someone that might benefit from your business, or working on your website. Just doing one thing each day can make you feel accomplished. Then, if you end up doing more, you will feel even more accomplished!
Do you have a method for balancing a career and side business? I want to know about it! Leave a comment below and tell me about your hustle.