More and more over the past few years, people have started (or are starting) their own business. Some because they were furloughed during the pandemic, others because they wanted to have an extra income.
Whatever your reason may be, I know that you probably have your hands full, and feeling overwhelmed has almost become a part of your daily life.
I know, because I’m in this too, and I’m here to help you.
Today I’ll be sharing with you how you can manage working full time and running a business, because yes, it is possible to do both.
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Is it possible to start a business while working full time?
I know that this question is probably what you’ve asked yourself before embarking on your entrepreneurial journey. Perhaps, you still ask this to yourself now.
Whilst I won’t deny that working full time and running a business is HARD WORK, I believe it’s possible.
The secret to being able to do both is to be extremely organised and focused on your vision so that nothing will be able to distract you and make you fail.
How to come up with the best business idea
If you haven’t started your business yet but you’re contemplating doing so, the first step is to know what you want your business to be about.
I won’t go on about it on this post because I’ve written a whole blog post here, so make sure to check it out.
My personal story on working full-time and having a side business
Before I go on to share my 5 tips with you, I want to tell you a little bit about my story so you have some context.
When I first started working for myself in 2019, I had one major client that I was working with, as well as doing afternoon childcare. That meant that I was working 8 hours a day, broken up into 2 different jobs.
Then a new client was added in too. So what I would normally do to work on my new client, was to work on his project after I’d come back home from the childcare job.
I figured that if I could manage to invest a few hours a day into it for the duration of our contract, I could have made it work. And that’s what I did.
Then I got a new client whilst still working on the previous one, so I had to create a new schedule to make sure they could both fit in my day.
Fast forward to being in the middle of the pandemic, when I moved back to Italy and didn’t have childcare work anymore. That was a great chance for me to get more new clients for my self-employed business.
Then I decided to start The Planning Geek, stop taking on work that didn’t make me feel fulfilled and focus on the clients I was interested in.
A year later, I came back to London and had to find a part-time job again whilst running my business (which in the meantime had changed direction to coaching) and still work on my main client which I absolutely loved.
The part-time job was a total of 30 hours per week and because it was another nanny job, I was absolutely exhausted. If you know anything about working with children, you know that it can be pretty draining.
So whilst I made everything work for a few months (working 30h/week with the kids, working 10h/week with my client, and spending around 10h working on my blog and business), I had to make some tough decisions. Whilst none of these were full-time, I was working 40h per week excluding my own work, so that looks pretty full-time to me.
I decided to stop working as a nanny, stop working with clients, get myself a job in corporate, and continue to run my blog.
This is what I’m doing at the moment; I’m working full-time as a Marketing Executive (remotely) and managing my blog, which is where my heart is and what I want to focus on to create a revenue stream.
So how could you possibly manage a full-time job and a business? Let’s find out with these 5 simple tips!
5 ways to manage a full-time job and a business
Improve your time-management skills
I read somewhere that if you don’t manage your time, your time will manage you. Improving your time management, in fact, nailing it, will make or break the success of your business.
That’s because if you’re not able to manage what happens in your day and be strategic with your time, you’ll be left running around in a hamster wheel, trying to get everything done but not accomplishing anything meaningful.
Improving your time management means that you’ll get a better hold of your time and you’ll use every hour of the day in the best possible way (that doesn’t mean always working, mind you).
Ask yourself these questions:
- How many hours do you need to spend at your full-time job?
- Do you have to commute? How long does it take?
- How long does it take to run your business weekly?
- What essential tasks do you need to accomplish regularly?
- What else needs time in your life? Family? Relationships? Hobbies?
- Do you set time aside to look after yourself?
If you want to have a successful business whilst keeping your full-time job, you’ll need to answer these questions so you can start creating a plan.
Learn to prioritize
Prioritizing will be another essential skill in this journey. The truth is that you’ll have so much to do in your lists, but not everything will matter.
You need to learn to identify what is urgent, what needs to be done in order to accomplish certain goals, and what you need to focus on to make sure that you’re doing great both in your business and at your 9-5.
I’ve written a full blog post on how to prioritize effectively here.
As I was mentioning earlier, if you’re not intentional with your time, you’ll be at the mercy of it. Once you’ve mastered your time management and you’ve identified how long it takes to do specific things, you need to schedule everything.
My recommendation is that you have certain non-negotiables in your daily life as you’ll need to ensure that you’re pouring in your cup and looking after yourself.
After that, I recommend that you schedule your corporate work hours so you know that that’s going to be your focus in a specific section of the day, and finally, schedule when you’ll be running your business.
Of course, I don’t suggest you become a robot, but because you will genuinely be busy and there’s no way to sugar coat this, you’ll even have to schedule your social time. That’s because you’ll either end up completely forgetting about it and will isolate yourself in your work, or because you’ll say yes to too many social events and won’t get on with any meaningful work.
Neither of these scenarios is good, which is why scheduling is essential so you know what happens on a weekly basis.
Use any gaps during the day
Another thing that I’m always, always sharing, is to make the most of any gaps in your day. Did you wake up earlier and you have some time before you start work (after your morning routine)?
Then use that time to get ahead with some tasks for your business.
Use your lunch break to do a bit of work, or schedule some time aside every day to move the needle in your business. That’s what I’m currently doing; I set aside two hours each day after I log off work to work on my blog/social media. It’s not easy, but I know what my why is so I keep pushing.
If you don’t work from home and you commute, then that’s a great chance to use the time to work on something.
I want to pause for a second here and encourage you to leave some white space during the day.
Yes, I am recommending you schedule everything in your diary, but I’m not saying you should schedule every minute of every day. It’s important that you leave some time to chill and do absolutely nothing to give your brain a break.
Finally, and this is a very important point, you need to have boundaries. If you don’t, you’ll end up saying yes to everything, working overtime, feeling even more overwhelmed and frustrated.
So remember to stick to your work hours and not work overtime unless it’s absolutely essential. Do not check/answer notifications when you’re not working, you’ll have a designated time for that.
Don’t say yes to every social event or any request from anyone if you can’t make it work in your schedule, and don’t be afraid to say no.
To learn more about boundaries, read this post.
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How to manage working full time and running a business – Final thoughts
As I’ve repeated several times in this post, there’s no way that running a business and working full-time will be easy, and that’s okay. Great achievements require great amounts of work and sacrifice, however, do not neglect yourself and your wellbeing in the process.
I recommend you implement these tips whilst working full-time, and it will make running your business a little less overwhelming, and a whole lot more organised.