The Art of Balancing Your 9-5 & Your Side Hustle
Juggling a job and a business is truly an art form that was not meant for the weak-hearted. One thing you might not already know about me is that I do, in fact, have a full-time job outside of running my business full time. Sounds crazy, right? Calling it a side hustle is actually slightly cringey for me because I put in so much more than that title implies. But, we all start somewhere and this side hustle of mine definitely has grown into something much bigger than that.
Is working for yourself & someone else easy and/or ideal? No. Do I plan on doing both forever? Absolutely not. While I often daydream about the day that I'm working 100% for myself and no one else, the truth is that balancing both worlds has granted me more freedom than it has restricted me. So many think that propelling yourself into full time freelancing is the way to go for everyone (myself included at one point), and while I tip my hat to those who've pulled it off, I know I was meant to take a different journey. With that said, here are some of my tried & true tips behind the art of balancing a job & a business.
As entrepreneurs, we definitely go through a ton of highs & lows. Sometimes I'll be insanely inspired and churn out a ton of content, while other times I just want to lay on the couch and pretend I don't have a business to run and a job to work. Of course, balance is essential—but keeping your entrepreneurial spirit consistent is a major key for success as well. There's no need to force the creative juices if you're just not feeling it, but slacking off definitely isn't an option when you have some major goals to reach. Be sure to consistently set aside time for marketing, admin work, bookkeeping, basically all the behind-the-scenes stuff that it takes to efficiently run a biz. While it's tempting to do these tasks sporadically, maintaining a consistent workflow will help you keep your sanity in the long run.
Another thing you'll want to keep consistent is your dedication. Mentally prepare yourself for the fact that you're probably going to miss out on a few social events because you'll be too busy working on your craft. Know that business isn't always going to be an easy ride, there will be a lot of bumps and you're probably going to want to give up or slack off sometimes. Don't forget that often what you put in, is what you'll receive in return—so consistency is really your only option if you'd like to see success.
My full time job is definitely an optimal situation for me, not only do I get to work from home, I also get to set my own hours most of the time. Creating a set schedule for my work hours and for my business hours helps me keep on track of all the tasks I need to complete weekly, and most importantly—it keeps me disciplined. I am obsessed with my Day Designer planner, rely on it daily, and purchase a new one every year. There's just something about writing out a schedule vs. inputting data on my computer or phone that tends to works better with my brain. If you're more into digital scheduling, Google calendar will be your best friend.
Aside from scheduling daily tasks, it also helps to schedule & automate more mundane tasks, like social media for instance. I try my best to plan my Instagram posts ahead of time (you can check out this article for my favorite scheduling apps). Next on my to-do list is to get my Pinterest engagement automated and scheduled as well (hello, Board Booster). Even if I wasn't working a job + running a biz—automating & scheduling my social media activity in one way or another would still be a must for my efficiency!
know when to take a break
It's so easy to get burned out when you're working for yourself, let alone someone else on top of that. While I harp on staying disciplined & consistent, know that self-care should always come first. I've worked myself into crankiness and exhaustion more times than I can count, but I've definitely learned from each burnout. The best thing I've done is taught myself that it's okay to take a break, shut down the computer for the evening, and to even take a weekend off here and there. We're humans, not robots—as much as we may feel the opposite at times!
make an exit plan
Obviously you launched a business because you saw a bigger picture and a better future for yourself. Setting intentions and creating a vision for life after the hustle & bustle of juggling both will make your path that much clearer. Trust me, I know it's easy to get stuck in the same routine and end up wondering why haven't you made it yet. As they say, the definition of insanity is doing the same things over & over again and hoping for different results—so prepping & planning to make a change is the first step towards actually doing it.
Hoping to take your biz or blog full time one day? Start crafting your vision by making an action plan for the steps you'll need to take before you get there. Maybe you'll need to have 6 months worth of savings to fall back on, perhaps you have a monthly income goal you'd like to reach, maybe all you need to do is launch a website for your biz! Whatever it may be, taking the time to plan this process will help make your transition so much smoother.
As for me, I'm still working towards my exit plan and will be sure to update you all when it finally happens. Do you have any tips for working a 9-5 & a side hustle? Be sure to leave them in the comments below!
Update: As of September 2017, I am officially 100% self-employed! The response I've gotten from this post let me know that I was not alone in the struggle. I hope that these tips will continue to be helpful for those who were in the same place I was for over a year before I made the leap.