You don’t have to quit your job to build a business. It’s a common misconception, especially among those looking for excuses, that they have to dive into the deep end when in reality they just need to walk slowly and steadily forward, inch by inch. You can keep your job, and start your business. Low risk, high reward, and a hell of a lot of work. But when is anything worthwhile ever easy?
Having two jobs at once, especially when each seemingly requires all of your focus, is a lot like walking through quicksand. Ignore the melodrama, and it’s possible to slog your way through. Relax, plan ahead, don’t panic, take your time, and make steady and measured progress.
So here they are, tried and true, 5 secrets to juggling a job while building a business:
1. Quantify your time
Be clinical about it. Don’t just assume you can do it all. If you work a 40 hour-a-week job but for a boss that typically demands 55 hours of effort from you every week, then count those hours. Optimism has a time and place, but not when it comes to time management.
Yes, you’ll build a business more slowly if you only have 5-10h a week to offer, instead of 20 or 30 or 40 hours, but the important thing is that you’ll still be doing it. And that alone puts you ahead of the millions of wannabees and could-have-beens who spend hours dreaming but never doing. Even just five to ten hours a week is action. Moving forward, inch by inch.
And I don’t care how busy you are, everyone can carve out at least five hours a week for something that has the potential to change their lives. Get up 30 minutes earlier in the morning. Cut out 30 minutes of television a night.
2. Be real with yourself
If you constantly have a to do list for Saturday that never gets done, leaving you scrambling on Sunday to complete your list of chores, then don’t assume that you’ll be motivated enough to pile on building a business to the weekend task list.
On the other hand, if you consistently find a quiet hour or two every Sunday morning, then take advantage of it. Inch by inch.
3. Don’t force yourself, motivate yourself
There will be days and weeks and months where it all seems too much and impossible and so why even bother. Instead of quitting, and instead of trying to grimace and bear it and forge ahead, remind yourself why you’re doing this in the first place.
Have coffee with a mentor, or friend, or colleague. Someone whose positive and inspiring and believes in you. Read a favourite inspirational blog post. Get back in the head space of where you were when you started your journey.
Don’t throw in the towel because of one bad day or week. Just pick yourself up, and go again. Forward. Inch by inch.
4. Manage your own expectations
You can’t do it all. Something will have to give, and you’ll need to decide what that is. But when you do, just go ahead and drop that ball. Let it slide. Deliberately fail. And don’t feel guilty about it. Just choose wisely.
Think about the least important things that consume your time, and let them go. Call in reinforcements. Maybe you can’t keep on top of cleaning the house or mowing the lawn or fixing the car while you’re working long hours at a day job and putting in hours on building a business while simultaneously having a personal life.
But so what? Call a cleaning service, hire someone to mow your lawn, and pay someone to fix your car or ditch it and lease a new one. And yes these things all cost money, which brings us to the last point.
5. Cash is king
Stay on top of your budget. Live within your means. Cut out some of the luxuries that you love, but don’t need. If building a business is important to you, these are easy decisions to make.
If not, then you’re not ready to start and you don’t deserve the reward that you’re dreaming about because you’re not willing to do the work. Harsh but true.
Going after what you want, and actively trying to free yourself from your current situation, will require sacrifices of both time and money. The good news? It’s worth it.
“One of the rewards of success is freedom, the ability to do whatever you like” ~ Sting