It’s the hardest question that most of us (entrepreneurs, side hustlers, bloggers, whatever-you-call-yourselfers) deal with each week. Is it really ok to be focusing every extra bit of the day on my side business? It takes an incredible amount of time and energy to get a new business up and running. So if you’re going to do it, you need to spend your time wisely and with maximum efficiency.
Focusing on your side business without knowing if you will really be able to turn it into your full-time dream job is no doubt a huge undertaking. Starting any new business requires a lot of commitment, planning, and support.
Spending so much of your time and energy on your future business can sometimes leave you feeling selfish, guilty, and second guess if you should even bother pursuing your dream. You might even end up hating your business more than you enjoy it because you aren’t seeing a lot of return on all of the time you’ve invested.
But you are better than this. With a little bit of planning and a whole lot or organization, you will be able to clearly see how much of your time is being spent wisely and where you might need to refocus your efforts.
Where do you really want to end up? And when?
If you had your business up and running today and you considered it to be successful, what would it look like? For some people, that would mean you make a certain level of income each month. For others, it would mean having a certain level of website traffic and social media followers. Maybe you need to have a full team of people and your own office and store.
Split your overall goal into smaller and more manageable goals. What do you want to accomplish in 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year from now? Look at similar businesses to yours and think about what it might have taken them to get where they are today.
Set Working Hours
Hours Per Week
Realistically, think about how many hours you can work each day while still leaving time for a day job, family, house, kid activities, school, or whatever else you may have going on. Revise the timeline you set for your overall and mini goals if you need to.
You will likely be spending a different number of hours on your side business on different days of the week. Have a contingency plan for when things come up that you didn’t expect. Holidays, vacations, and sick time still apply to your side business.
Stick to Working Hours
Don’t wait until you have a full-time business to set working hours. You have to set a schedule now more than ever when you are juggling your day job and any other responsibilities you have going on. Set your hours and let your clients (if you have some) know, let your family know, and really stick to them.
You aren’t making anyone happy when you don’t get enough sleep. Everyone is different so think about how many hours you really need. 6-7 hours of sleep is my absolute minimum. Any less than that, and I will be miserable and unproductive. I can’t think clearly, I rely on way too much caffeine, and end up being a bear to deal with.
The most urgent items are not always the most important. Figure out what really needs done and do that first. If phone calls and emails are too distracting to you while you’re working on a new product or a new blog post, turn your notifications off.
Write out what you need to do and set a deadline for each item and how long it should take you to accomplish those items. If you see yourself continually moving your to-do’s from one day to the next, you might need to allow for more time per task.
Know when to ask for help. If you get 2,000 emails a day, hire a VA (virtual assistant) to take care of the mundane emails and you will only have to worry about the most important ones.
If you do a lot of manual packaging and shipping for your products, find a cheap college student or teenager in your family to help out. You’ll be paying a low hourly wage for a huge return - your time is valuable!
With any business, there are some processes that you can easily create. For example, when I create a blog post like this one, I know there are certain things that I just have to do. Spell check, create a thumbnail and cover page, check my long-tail keyword usage, include descriptions for rich Pins, maybe create a downloadable worksheet if it is relevant to the article, and post to social media after I punish it live. There’s a lot more that goes into a blog post, but you get the idea. For the most part, every single blog post is the same as far as actually getting it published.
Look at what you do each week. What can you create a process out of to make it a more streamlined and efficient task? For my blog posts, I have a quick list of items that I have to do that I check before I hit publish. If I don’t check my list, sure enough I will forget something and have to go back and fix it. That equates to wasted time.
When creating your processes, think about what takes you the longest to do, what you love to do, and what you hate to do. From this list, you might find some things that you can do away with or at the least, outsource it.
We all have them. Distractions can derail our efforts and sometimes we don’t even see them coming. The obvious ones are too much Facebook and Pinterest time that isn’t business focused, or maybe it’s bing watching your favorite Netflix series.
During your working hours, turn off email notifications, put your cell on silent, turn off the TV. Do what it takes to have a quiet and productive working area.
Have a Positive Mindset
A great support system is key to lose weight or quit smoking. It’s equally important for starting a business. Friends and family can be key to you feeling motivated and achieving your goals. But sadly enough, they can also completely destroy your motivation.
For the latter, it’s usually because people do not understand what you are doing or why you are doing it. They likely think what you are doing is a waste of time and irresponsible of you to pursue. If I come across any nay-sayers, that’s usually enough motivation right there to push me to do even more!
There are plenty of groups on Facebook with people just like you in your niche that you might want to consider joining. Meetup.com is a great way to find people locally with like-minded business goals.
No one expects you to work 100% of the time. I set aside a few hours each week to spend time on what I really enjoy doing past spending time with my family and friends. I knew when I set out to build my business I would have to give up a LOT of my free time, but I knew I did not want things I enjoy like my art to completely suffer from it. Otherwise, what would be the point?
Wait until it’s your working hours to concentrate on your business tasks. If you are with your family, be with your family. If you are on vacation, be on vacation. This will help you feel like you are not missing out on important parts of your life when you are trying so hard to also grow your business.
Organization and prioritization is key to getting massive amounts of stuff done each week. Download this free weekly and monthly planning workbook and get your most important items done to continue growing your business: