Whether you have a full-time job or a busy schedule, it can be hard to find time to start a side business. Everyone is given the same 24 hours in a day. How you choose to break up your day or prioritize your schedule can help make or break your business. Whether you’re a busy mom, full-time student or working two jobs, this article will provide you a few suggestions to help you find time to start a side business. Pick the suggestions that work best for you and your lifestyle. If you’re committed to achieving success, nothing and no one can stand in your way.
Keep Your Day Job Separate
While you might spend eight hours of your day at your workplace, keep your day job and your side business separate. Don’t work on your side business at the office – ever. The company you work for is essentially paying your bills and your start-up costs. Respect your employers by working hard at the office during the day and working hard on your business after work. Lunch breaks are fair game but avoid working on your business on your office computer – bring a laptop to work if you need to.
Dive In Now to Make Time to Start A Side Business
It often feels safer to hide behind books and other learning materials instead of taking the plunge to start your side business. It’s always great to educate yourself. However, sometimes you just have to put the down and test things out for yourself. Reading or listening to audiobooks can take up a lot of time. They also don’t sink in as well as learning on the go. Many entrepreneurs don’t read books to educate themselves, they use it as a form of procrastination. Don’t fall for the trap. It’s okay to be afraid of failure, just don’t become paralyzed by the fear. No book will give you the magic business answer you’re looking for. Everything you need to succeed is already in you.
Divide Your Time
According to Independent, Elon Musk has his assistant divide his daily schedule into five minute slots. By organizing your schedule this way, you’ll ensure that you keep a focus on time. If you only have five minutes for a meeting, you’ll only focus on priorities and avoid getting side-tracked with chit-chat. It helps you keep a strict schedule so that you focus your energy on what needs to get done.
The Pomodoro Technique
Another time focused technique to help you find time to start a side business is the Pomodoro Technique. This technique requires you to first prioritize your daily tasks. Then, you can set a timer for 25 minutes and take a five minute break between sets. After completing four 25-minute sets you can take a 20 minute break. This allows you to have laser focus on a task for 25 minutes and allowing you to disconnect from your work for a five minute break. This is helpful for those who need to check their phones constantly as it works in time for quick breaks. You can use your phone’s timer or you can search ‘timer’ in Google and a timer will pop up
The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, suggests that 80% of your results comes from 20% of your output. To find time to start a side business, you need to determine which things are producing the results to focus time on only those things. You can also use this principle to determine which part of your daily routine isn’t producing results for you. For example, if you spend your weekends marathoning shows on Netflix, sleeping in or going out, you may have better results cutting back to make time for your side business.
Don’t Work on Time Wasters
To find time to work on your side business, avoid spending time on things that don’t bring results. Some people spend an entire week designing a logo or crafting the perfect 20-page business plan. However, those tasks don’t generate money for your business. A business plan can start off as a one-pager and be modified along the way. If you lack design skills, you can outsource your logo and be particular about how you want it to look – scan in a quick sketch for the designer to base it off of. If the task can be modified or changed along the way, there’s no need to overspend time on it. Create a list of priorities such as creating ads, partnering with influencers, producing unique content such as blog posts or social media posts or managing your finances. Then, focus your workload on the top priorities which yield the best results.
Set Firm Deadlines
Setting firm deadlines for projects forces you to make time to work on your business. By not allowing yourself to be flexible, you’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen such as waking up earlier or avoiding distractions. What goals do you want to achieve? When do you want to achieve each goal? Write down exact dates. You’ll find that more often than not, you’re able to achieve your goals by the deadline.
Don’t Waste Time on Social Media
Social media can be addicting. Most of us have the tendency to check our news feed repeatedly throughout the day. You can download the Chrome extension News Feed Eradicator to help prevent you from getting distracted for hours on Facebook. The tool blocks your news feed without you having to delete or deactivate your Facebook account. If you know social media is slowing down your business’ progress this is a great quick fix solution.
Get a Business Partner
Getting a business partner has a two benefit purpose. First, it allows you to delegate some of the workload to help ensure you get all of your tasks done. Second, it forces you to be accountable to your business because your co-founder will expect you to deliver as an equal partner. You can even ask your husband or wife to be your business partner. Often times people marry or date someone who works in a similar industry or shares complementary skills. You can also hire someone and outsource some of your workload to allow you to work on priorities while allowing you more time to start your side business.
Make Sacrifices When Necessary
Sometimes the only way to find time to start a side business is to make sacrifices. You might need to reduce the amount of sleep you get. You might need to wake up earlier if you’re a morning person or go to bed later if you’re a night owl. You might need to see your friends less by only being there for the big moments such as birthdays, weddings, or engagements. You might limit your television watching to a couple of hours per week.
Make Use of Your Commute
Your commute to your 9 to 5 job, especially if long, can be a great time to work on projects for your business. You can answer customer emails on your phone. You can write product descriptions or blog posts in a Google doc and add them to your website once you’re connected to the internet. If you drive to work you can listen to podcasts to learn new skills and ideas. A little trick I used to do, back when I still worked a 9 to 5 job, was I’d go to work an hour and a half earlier so I could leave work an hour and a half earlier. Instead of starting at 9, I’d start at 7:30 a.m. I avoided rush hour traffic this way drastically cutting my commute time down to 15 minutes. I also wasn’t exhausted after work since it was still the afternoon when I left.
Learn to Say No
Richard Branson once said, “Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.” So while it might be tempting to say yes to every opportunity, saying no often may actually work in your favor. Saying no gives you time to work on things you say yes to. It can help improve your productivity while also creating boundaries. Avoid agreeing to every opportunity or trying every tactic at the same time. Having a laser-like focus can help you achieve your goals faster because you’ll learn how to master things quickly.
Make Use of Your Weekends
Use your Friday nights to relax if you need a break after a long weekend. However, spend your Saturdays and Sundays wisely. Your weekend is your big opportunity to work on your business. Wake up early to work on your business and work late. If you work long hours during the work week, spend your entire weekend creating content such as social media posts, blog posts, ads and automating them. This will allow you to spend your weekdays processing orders or answering customer questions. You’ll still need to work during the workweek but it’ll be easier to manage if divided this way.
Starting a side business is tough work. Know the difference between not having time and not wanting to make time for your business. I know how exhausting it can be to work on your business after spending eight hours or more of your day at a 9 to 5 doing brain numbing or physically demanding work. Sara Blakely was a sales representative selling fax machines when she first started building her Spanx brand. Mark Zuckerberg was a college student when he founded Facebook. Most people don’t start their business with all the time in the world to devote to it.
Successful people aren’t rewarded with more hours in the day. How they organize their schedules and what they focus their energy on has played a big role in their success today.
Truth is: your need for time is going to get worse. As your store grows you’ll have even more work to do, more orders to process, and more customer inquiries to respond to. Be ready to work hard to making your dreams come true. It’s worth it.
Start a Side Business That Doesn’t Take up Time
With dropshipping, you’ll have a side business that works well with busy schedules. The business model has a low time commitment as you won’t be required to ship out packages yourself. All of your time is only spent on marketing, processing orders and answering customer questions making it the perfect business model for busy people. You can start a dropshipping business for free with Oberlo.
Do You Need to Quit Your Job?
If your business has been growing too quickly and is profitable it may be time to quit your job and run your store full-time. You’ll want to ensure that you’re generating enough profit to ensure your business is sustainable. You may not be paid as well as your current 9 to 5 job in the beginning. However, your whole life can change for the better by taking the plunge and running your business full-time.