This post could have easily been titled “how to manage your side hustle”, but I didn’t want to discredit those who are really managing a business AND a full-time job. Having to balance a 9-5 job with a blog, social media presence, or growing business is never easy. But for many new entrepreneurs and creatives, it’s a fact of life. You have to learn to manage time, conserve energy, and stay positive, all while trying to break into a crowded and competitive field. It’s a bit like being a superhero with a secret identity. Before you give up on sleeping and switch to an all-coffee diet, here are a few tips on how to burn the candle at both ends without starting a fire.
When your business is growing have to learn to manage time, conserve energy, and stay positive, all while trying to break into uncharted waters. It’s a bit like being a superhero with a secret identity. I didn’t start telling people I work with about M.Y. until recent years, honestly – it just didn’t feel right.
Before you give up on sleeping and switch to an all-coffee diet, here are a few tips on how to burn the candle at both ends without starting a fire.
Figure out a routine
Unfortunately for us workaholics, there are only 24 hours in a day and 168 in a week – the same amount of time that Beyoncé has. Assuming you’re working 40 hours and sleeping for about eight hours a night, that only leaves about 72 hours—and I’m guessing you won’t be spending all of those on your business. But whether it’s a blog, online business, or social media presence, the key is figuring out a weekly routine you can commit to.
Plan out a rough sketch of your average week, and try to fit in periods where you can work on your business without distractions. Ideally, you’ll want to spread out these periods throughout the week, so that they’re easier to manage. Time management is key to avoiding burnout. I also use a special way of taking notes and recording to-do lists to keep me motivated and on task.
Set realistic goals
When you’re planning out your average week, consider planning a few months in advance and setting clear, achievable goals that you’ll have time to meet.
If you’re managing both social media and a blog, maybe your goal will be to hit a certain follower milestone by the end of the month. If it’s an online business, maybe it will be a certain number of clients or customers. A blog? A specific number of posts, likes, or comments. Setting goals like this will inspire you to make your business a priority, and it will also offer you a sense of accomplishment and a way to measure how successful your project has become.
Be inspired by your work
Even though your heart may be with your business, I’m hoping that you’re still inspired and empowered by your professional life. So why not use all of that inspiration to improve your other work? By that same token, a successful blog post or awesome freelance gig can translate into a better and more inventive presence at work. Take advantage of the creative energy and inspiration that comes from your double life.
Don’t let your professional life suffer
I know, I know, this is easier said than done. If you’re passionate about your business—and since you’re reading this, I’m guessing that you are—it can be easy to see work as a distraction, and to start neglecting your career in favor of your passion. But letting it fall to the wayside can have serious negative consequences for both your work and your business.
Checking out of your 9-5 isn’t and option… until it’s an option. Especially when this may be the job that’s paying the bills.
If you have the type of work environment that is flexible and open – this may be the time to ask your boss to take that time management class offered by Human Resources. I don’t necessarily recommend sharing that you’re running a business outside of work unless your boss is supportive – but if you can share, do it. Just know that you can’t take that knowledge back once it’s shared. I’ve personally experienced this in the workplace and it stinks when people assume that your down time is dedicated to your business rather than work.
Just be careful.
Relax and take it slow
You will not get famous or find success right away…. well unless you go viral and that’s AMAZING. But, having a business is tough not just because it’s laborious or stressful, but because it requires a ton of patience. There will be late nights, missteps, and days where you’ll wonder whether it’s worth it. Trust me… I have this thought every morning when I wake up at 5am to work on M.Y.
It’s a tough balance to strike, and it will drive you just a little bit crazy. But once you accept that this thing takes time and commitment and that you probably won’t find your groove right away, you’ll start getting the hang of it. I always joke that most entrepreneurs are a little weird, very lonely, and tired.
If your ultimate goal is to manage your business and a full-time job [or even leave your job for your business]… just don’t give up. Find community, support, and allow yourself the opportunity to create something amazing.