Launching a side-business when you already have a full-time job (whether it’s in the office or at home) comes with a lot of benefits: Extra money, the chance to do something creative, and the opportunity for meaningful work. But it also poses a major challenge: How do you give your all to a fledgling entrepreneurial venture when you’re already maxed out?
The most successful side-giggers tend to point to the same time-saving strategies over and over again. They wake up early. They multi-task. They work while commuting. The watch less television and take fewer trips to the nail salon. But it’s not all work and no play.
5 Tips for Juggling Your Side Biz with Your Day Job:
1. Discover slivers of time.
If we waited until we had a nice three-hour chunk to make progress on our businesses, we’d be waiting until our kids are in college, or later. Instead, take advantage of smaller slices of time: When you’re getting your hair cut, you can browse competitors’ websites and take notes on new ideas for the upcoming year. When you’re sitting on the bus, you can respond to client requests. Send Tweets and answer business-related emails on your lunch break.
2. Sequence your work.
Perhaps you can take a sabbatical from your day job while you’re in the busy launch phase of your new business, or you can take extra vacation days as you draft plans for your new line of ebooks. Some side-giggers opt to negotiate more flexible schedules, including part-time or contract work, so they can have more time to devote to their entrepreneurial goals.
3. Make it a family affair.
If you’re designing baby clothes, perhaps your children can serve as your muses and models. If your partner has any website building, marketing, or other business-skills, ask him to be a member of your team. My husband co-designed one of my money planners after I realized he had some impressive Excel skills that he usually only applied to our family budget. It was the first time we collaborated on a creative project together since grad school, and it was fun.
4. Don’t forget to relax.
We all need moments to ourselves to recharge, even if they’re brief. Find a way to go for a walk with your toddler, or save a few minutes for reading a new novel before bed. Sit down with a cup of tea during nap time and let your mind rest for a few minutes instead of picking up toys, which will be all over the floor again before bedtime anyway.
5. Focus more on managing your energy than managing your time.
If you always feel sluggish in the afternoons and have a hard time being productive, incorporate a healthy snack, or a walk around the block, into your routine. Make sure you get enough sleep and cut back on television and Facebook in the evenings – pick up that novel instead. And if you’re always most productive in the mornings, than make sure you use that time for yourself, instead of filling it up with meetings or phone calls.
Some of the most productive side-giggers find ways to leverage the new skills and experiences they’re gaining in their side-business, such as marketing, social media, or new software skills, and bringing that added knowledge to their day jobs. That way, their bosses at work see their side-gig as an asset, not a drain.
One thing successful side-giggers don’t do is build their side-business while they’re on the clock at work, or do anything that could even be perceived as conflicting with their primary job. After all, it’s their day job that’s still paying the mortgage – at least until their side-businesses really take off.
Kimberly Palmer is the author of the new book, “The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life,” and senior money editor for U.S. News & World Report, where she writes the popular Alpha Consumer blog. In addition, she is the creator of Palmer’s Planners, her own line of digital financial guides and money organizers for major life events and goals. You can connect with her at bykimberlypalmer.com.
Latest posts by Kimberly Palmer (see all)
- How to Build Your Tribe - February 4, 2014
- 5 Tips for Juggling Your Side Biz with Your Day Job - January 28, 2014
- 5 Tips for Saving on Startup Costs - January 21, 2014