Raise your hand if you want to quit your 9-5 and start your own business. Raise your hand if you are ready to quit your 9-5 and start your own business.
Is your hand still up? I know that mine isn't.
While I fantasize about quitting my 9-5 nearly every day to work for myself, I know that my business is not ready; I still need the income from my full-time job to invest in building a strong and sustainable foundation for my future of self-employment.
Working full-time while building your side-hustle is definitely a juggling act, but it can be done. Your time is limited, so you have to use it wisely. On top of that, since building your brand on the side takes more time, you will need even more patience, hope, and motivation when the realities of little sleep, incremental progress, and the desire to give up hit you.
Here are some ways that I stay productive and motivated on this journey toward self-employment. I hope they are helpful to you.
1. Calculate How Much Time You Can Actually Commit To the Business: From Monday-Thursday, I have committed to dedicating two hours per day to working on my business. On Fridays, I try to rest, go out with my husband or catch up on my sleep. As for the Saturdays, I can realistically work on my business for 6-8 hours. On Sundays, I can put in 4-6 hours. With between 18-24 hours weekly and 72-96 hours monthly, I can think more strategically about how to prioritize my tasks.
2. Go To a Coffee Shop, Library, or Diner To Work On Your Business Before You Go Home: I don't know about you, but it proved difficult, if not near impossible, for me to seriously work on my business once I got home from work because of all of the distractions -- cable, Facebook, Twitter, and my bed. But I had to come to a point where what I wanted for myself in the future became more important than giving in to my laziness in the present.
3. Have A Short "To-Do" List: When I am at the coffee shop, I have a list of 2-3 things to get done in that sitting. On the weekends, the list may include 4-5 items. I do not start the second task until the first task is complete.
4. Own and Release Your Doubt and Fear into a Journal: The journey to entrepreneurship can be a long, lonely one, especially if you are working your business on the side. When your goal seems so far way, there is a lot of room for self-doubt, negativity, and "thinking small" to invade your mind.
When I am feeling like my progress toward my goals is not coming fast enough or big enough, I own those feelings by writing them down. The act of writing (and crying) allows me to release the negativity and put into the ether. And in many cases, I almost instantly feel a sense of relief.
5. Give Yourself Permission To Not Be Perfect In Every Area of Your Life: Do you know how much willpower it takes to focus and stay disciplined on such a lofty goal as self-employment? When you are giving your all in one part of your life, you may find that other things -- big and small -- get neglected, including your household chores and your friends. But remember this: you can buy paper plates or invest in a housekeeper. You can tell your friends that you are trying to live your dreams and that your isolation is temporary. Your real friends with dreams of their own will definitely understand.
6. Find Others Doing The Same Thing As You: When you join a community of budding entrepreneurs, you feel less isolated and more accountable. You don't want to be the only one in your group that is still talking about success instead of being about it. In order to save face, you have to produce.