In today’s episode, Anna looks at how to start a side hustle and specifically how you can make time for a new business while in a full-time job.
The idea of a side hustle is one that has really taken off in the last couple of years. It’s a way of creating an additional revenue stream alongside an existing job and, more than that, it can allow you to pursue a passion, learn new skills, and reinvigorate your career. But how on earth can you make time for a side hustle when every hour in your life is already accounted for?
It’s not that people who have a side hustle somehow have more hours in the day than those who ‘only’ do a full-time job – so there must be something else going on! There are choices to be made, sacrifices even, and, no, it’s not going to be an easy ride.
If you’re in it for the long haul, and you’re willing to put in the work to make it happen, then here’s how to make time for a side hustle alongside your day job…
*Resources mentioned during the episode*
The One Step Outside Facebook group– Join us over in the Facebook group to meet like-minded people who are working on reimagining success in their life and business and to get access to direct support and free training sessions from Anna. www.facebook.com/groups/onestepoutside
How to start a side hustle
Okay. So we looked at whether you should start a side hustle, start a business alongside your full-time day job, or if you should go all in. So if you haven’t listened to that episode, do check that out. It’s from last week.
Now, let’s look today at, okay, you’ve decided that you want to start your business alongside your job. You’re going for the so-called sensible option. You’re not quite at that tipping point where you feel confident enough with the business or desperate enough to leave in order to take that massive risk, the massive leap to go all in with your business. So let’s look at how you can carve out the time, how you can focus on the right things in your side hustle in order to get to the point where ultimately, if that’s what you want to do, you can then take that business full time.
Now I should say, first of all, that this assumes that you know what business it is that you want to start. So if that’s not the case, there are lots of exercises we can do together. There’s lots of exploration and brainstorming and decisions for you to make narrowing down where you want to focus, making some decisions. I’ve got plenty of episodes around defining success and all sorts of resources to share with you. So if that is something where you’re not quite sure yet, then don’t worry, I’ve got your back.
So you can connect with me. Perhaps the best place is to join the Facebook group, the One Step Outside Facebook group, or of course you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re unsure, if you can’t find which episode to start with. But this is, again, assuming that you know what business it is that you want to start. You don’t have to have the detailed business plan and so on, but at least, you know this is the service I’m going to be providing. These are the kind of clients I want to work with and so on.
Okay. So how on earth do we get this up and running, and to a point where it’s actually a viable business before we can go all in? Well, the first thing is, and I’m afraid it’s a bit of a theoretical, philosophical question, but the first thing is why? Why do you want to start your business?
Now, I’m sure you’ve heard of Simon Sinek’s Start With Why. I’m not alone in really emphasising the importance of understanding what the purpose is here. So purpose is a big word, meaning, why, whatever you want to call it. We’re not talking about the meaning of life, capital M, capital L.
We’re not talking about something too profound and overwhelming. I just want you to be super clear on why is it that you want to start this business? Why do you want to work for yourself? Why this particular business? Why is it so important to you to make this work? How is it going to change your life? How is it going to change the life of your family? What role does it play in your life? So why is it you want to start this business and importantly, why now?
So why is it important to get clear on your why? Well apart from all the general reasons, in this particular context, it’s because, let’s face it, the going is going to get tough. You’re adding this to your plate of already lots of busy, important things. And when you’re tired at the end of a long day in the office, or in the weekend or early in the morning, or on your lunch break, you’re going to need a pretty strong reason for why you’re going to focus on this business instead of just going for a coffee with your friends or, hey, just watching another episode on Netflix or Amazon Prime, or just having a bit of a lie in, right?
So very important. And of course, you should do all these things. You should have lunches with your friends. You should take breaks. You should watch Netflix now and then, plenty of shows to recommend to you. However, you do need to, of course, if you want to take this seriously, you do need to spend a certain amount of time on the business in order to get up and running. So the first question has to be why is it that this is so important to you? Why are you committed? What does success look like for you? What is it you’re hoping to achieve? Why is now the right time? Why are you definitely committed? Why are you ready to go full speed ahead, insofar as it’s possible to do that alongside your full time day job, and really make this work for yourself?
So that’s the first question, why. Now the second question is a little bit related to that, which is where does this fit in your overall priorities? And what I might mean by this is if your priority right now is to keep money coming in from your day job, then as exciting as it is to work on this side hustle, as much as that’s something that you know you really do want to spend time on that absolutely is your longer term goal, when it comes down to making compromises or a judgement call, when you have that choice put in either delivering on a project to your boss in the day job, or working on your business, then you know that you need to focus on your day job, because you know, right now your family, you need the income coming in from that business, from the actual company, rather than from your own business, and that’s the priority.
On the other hand, if you aren’t that fussed. To be honest, you’ve actually been considering quitting your job and going all in with your business, you’re probably going to be made redundant anyway, or whatever that might be, and you really, your premise right now is, you know what, no, I’m desperate to leave. I really want to get this business up and running. And this is my priority, even if it’s at the expense of my day job, then that’s a clear priority, too.
It’s very personal. There’s no right or wrong answer, no judgments, however, it’s important to know where the business sits in your priorities. Of course, we haven’t even talked about things like young kids and family and partners and hobbies and health and Netflix and so on, right, didn’t mention that. So really important also to know again, that’s why I asked the first question, why are you so committed to this? Are you committed? Where does this sit in the priority list compared to all these other things? If you have to say no to a golf buddy, if you have to miss a gym session, is that okay?
Now again, you should be doing your hobbies with your friends. You should be meeting friends and family. You should loosely in the sense of, I encourage you to do these things rather than I telling you you should be doing them. And of course, health and fitness and wellbeing is absolutely critical.
However, again, we may need to make some compromises now, and then, we can’t do everything all the time. So where does this new business sit in your priorities? And one metaphor that I’ve shared before, and I apologies. I have heard it from someone, and I have no idea from whom I heard it originally many years ago, it’s the idea of juggling balls. And the idea is you need to identify which of those balls are rubber. So when you drop them, they’re going to bounce back up again, which ones are crystal, and they’re going to break into a gazillion pieces and never to be put together again, right?
So if I am working on my day job and my business, which of the other balls in my life are going to jump back up again, my golf swing, not that I play golf, my benching, whatever? Again, not something I do, clearly. My flexibility in yoga, again, not something I have. So which of the things are going to bounce back up again, as soon as you can pick them back up again, and which ones are going to crush into a gazillion pieces?
Your relationship with your partner, your young children, who can’t fend for themselves, these are relationships and people who need you, who you want to prioritise and are not going to bounce back up again. If you neglect your relationship with your partner and your children for six months, not so good, right? There may be friends and family, extended family who you know well, who love you and are going to be there even when you emerge from your stupor of having worked on your business and so on, right? But you need to be clear on which are the rubber balls that are okay to perhaps neglect benignly for some time and which ones are the ones that are really going to crush into a gazillion pieces. And again, know that you have to be compassionate with yourself, with your family, with everybody and make those tough priority calls.
Now, number three is to plan when you’re going to work on your business, and importantly, when you’re not going to work in your business. Because it’s very easy to say, “Yeah, yeah, I’ll work on it after work, before work” and so on. But if you actually sit down, and I encourage you to do this, sit down and look at your calendar and see, “Hang on, first of all, is there anything I can take off there?” So again, apologies, but maybe golf, Netflix probably isn’t booked in your calendar, but you know what I mean? If there’s a slot that you could open up, if you can delegate, delete, delay any of those Ds, any of the things on your calendar that aren’t so important right now, then please do so to create space.
You have to say no. And we talked about this a couple of months ago. You need to say no, set clear boundaries in order to be able to say yes to these new things that you are putting on your plate. So really getting clear on, okay, when are the slots? And be ambitious, but realistic. Don’t say, “Yeah, yeah, I’ll do three hours in the morning, and then my whole lunch break and the entire evening and Saturday to Sunday.” I don’t think that’s such a good idea for your health. And it certainly, isn’t probably going to happen.
So better to be a little bit, “Okay. Actually, I am a morning person. I’m usually awake an hour before everyone else anyway. So that’s a good time to go into my computer to sit and do some strategy to plan, or so,” right? Or, “You know what, I can barely get up out of bed in the meantime already as it is. So probably morning’s not the best. However, if I’m commuting some days to the office, maybe I can listen to a podcast. Maybe I can, and depends where you are in the business, of course, message people in Instagram, connect with people on LinkedIn. I can draught some blog posts.” What can you do in that commute?
Likewise, in your lunch break, I encourage you to take a proper lunch break, but if need be, or if you have a long enough time, you can also sit and maybe have your notebook in the cafe and draught some ideas and so on. Again, maybe you’re more of an evening person, kids are in bed or [inaudible 00:09:29] you can sit and work on your business as well. Maybe weekend is good. Maybe Sunday is actually a sacred day for your family and you don’t want to work on your business, or maybe everybody’s out doing their own thing anyway, football and whatever else, and you can actually have a bit of time to yourself.
So up to you and up to you to talk to your partner, to your family, if you have those people who you need to discuss these things with, who will be affected, but really important to plan when you’re going to work on your business. And also, and I mentioned those sacred Sundays, when you’re not going to work on your business. Again, setting those boundaries, saying no, and being really clear with your family as well, “Hey, you know what? Friday night is family night or date night on Saturdays or Sunday mornings going to be at The Lion” or whatever, right?
So be clear with yourself. If you’re single and free as a bird, still have some me time. Everything doesn’t have to be about being productive and working on your goals, and be clear with your partner, be clear with your children, be clear with everybody really around when and when you’re not going to be working on the business.
Now, all of this assumes, and this is, to be honest, a much bigger topic, of course, and it’s something we can spend months and months on, but this assumes that you know what you’re doing in those time slots, because it’s all very well to have a goal, start business, grow business, get clients. That isn’t something you can put on your to-do list. That’s not something you can put on your calendar.
If I sit down at 7 in the morning. Okay, I’ve got an hour now before whatever I need to do or 8 in the evening, or whenever it is on my lunch break, I need to be super clear that when I sit down on my computer, okay, Monday morning, this is what I’m going to do every Monday morning and Wednesday afternoon, that’s what I’m going to do. I need to, boom, be able to get my notepad out, get my computer, get my phone and start executing. If that’s just a general block of work on business, we’re going to spend so much time and energy just even thinking, “Hey, hang on. What should I be doing?” It’s going to take you so long to figure that out, that that one hour that you’ve carved out is going to be time’s up before you even know it.
If you don’t even know, right, if you’re not yet, you know… Of course, there’s such a steep learning curve and this is what we’re saying with the business that’s a big advantage, but you don’t know you. Maybe you don’t come from a marketing background like me or I didn’t come from a sales background. So that was an opportunity for me. You know nothing about websites or how you do this, that, and the other, funnels and email marketing and so on, then it’s very difficult. And particularly, the strategic level when you’re starting out, how do you know where you should be focusing? If you’re following all these gurus, and I did this at the beginning, lots of free content from everybody, I thought I’ve got to have a webinar. I’ve got to have an email marketing funnel and series. I’ve got to have a video series. I’ve got to have a group, a page, and all these things, completely overwhelming. A lot of those things aren’t things we need to be or should be focusing on when we’re first starting the business.
So if you’re not clear on what you should be doing in those hours, that’s when you might want to work with a coach or work with a structured programme. So I have my business incubator, which is really taking you from idea to income, essentially from, “Okay, I’ve got this idea,” especially when you’ve got limited time, alongside a full time job, to really take you by the hand and walk you through the steps, set up those milestones and help you get to where you want to be so that you can go all in, so you are getting those first clients and you can actually get the ball rolling and make that happen for yourself.
But make sure you have the support, the expertise, the role models, but not just general internet noise, but really someone specific you’re working with, if not me, then somebody else to help you to focus on the right things. Because otherwise, you’ll be just doing busy work. I had a client say that the other day, and I’ve certainly experienced that too. I just feel like I’m doing things, I’m just in motion, I’m not actually moving forward with the business. It’s very easy before I started outsourcing things to freelancers and so on to just be doing lots of scheduling and admin-y stuff and behind the scenes and tweaking websites and something that’s not actually going to get you any clients. So really important to know where you need to focus and what those priorities should be.
In my programme, we look at, okay, these are the 10 things you should be doing every week without fail. And of course, that’ll be tweaked to your personal situation, a way around the business, but there are certain things we need to be doing, getting in front of people on the right channels, having those sales conversations with people and so on.
And then the final thing, the fifth point that I wanted to emphasise, I guess, is that you need to be patient. I know, sorry, bad news. But the truth is that if you’ve chosen to build this alongside your day job and all your other priorities, especially if this is perhaps low in the priority list because of financial family obligations or priorities, really, aspirations and love for people in your life, relationships, then it is going to take longer. And that’s okay. I’m saying this more and more now, but you need to be in it for the long haul.
So by all means, there’ll be compromises in the short term. You’ll need to be patient. You need to be kind to yourself. Sometimes, you won’t feel well. Sometimes, your children won’t feel well. Sometimes, you’ll want to spend time with your partner. Sometimes, you’ll have a big project in the office and that’s okay. And even I had a client who’s taken a few months a while ago, took a few months out of the incubator because he needed to focus on his day job. And that’s okay, too.
You know what? That might happen, that suddenly something like COVID happens or whatever it is, there’s a crisis, and that’s something you have to focus on, or you have a health crisis or something. And it’s unfortunately, sometimes negative things could also be positive things, who knows? Maybe you’re planning a wedding or having a baby or, and you need to take a little bit of a step back. That’s okay. Just remember that you’re still working towards this longterm mission. Yes, it’s going to take a bit longer. Be compassionate with yourself. Be patient, except it’s going to take longer and accept that that’s okay.
Now, there will still come a point, a tipping point where you will need to go all in. So I’ve given you some ideas of getting clear on your why, your priorities, or when are you going to work on the business, or when are you not going to work on your business, what are you going to do in those time slots and being patient. There will still come a point when you have to go, “Okay, I’ve taken this as far as I can,” or “Hey, actually, I’m fed up with this job and now I’m so excited about this project that I do want to go all in and I feel comfortable with the risks.” There will be a point when you still want to quit and go all in, but at least this hopefully gives you some ideas of the kind of things you should be looking at in order to make time, space and focus on building your business as a side hustle while you’re still in your full time job.
Thank you so much for listening and I’ll see you back here next week. Bye for now.
If you’re ready to start to reimagine what success could look like for you, here are some of the ways in which Anna can support you:
Get private mentoring for your business – Partnering with a business coach can help you see those blind spots and get both external accountability and expert guidance to take your business to where you want it to be. www.onestepoutside.com/freeconsultation
Get private career coaching – Individual coaching is fully tailored to your specific goals and desires so we can create the programme that works best for you, with the support that you need to move forwards. www.onestepoutside.com/claritycall
Grab a copy of Leaving the Corporate 9 to 5 – After interviewing 50 people who have left the corporate 9 to 5 to forge their own path, Anna has collected their stories in a book that will inspire you with the possibilities that are out there and reassure you that you’re not alone in looking for an alternative. www.leavingthecorporate9to5.com
Join the One Step Outside the 9 to 5 Business Incubator – This is your roadmap to transitioning from a corporate job into setting up a meaningful business that will bring you more freedom, flexibility and fulfilment outside of the corporate 9 to 5. www.onestepoutside.com/9to5
Up-level with The Outsiders Business Accelerator – This is a mastermind for entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners who want to create a long-term sustainable brand and business. www.onestepoutside.com/accelerate