61: How to Find Time to Start a Business While Working Full Time

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Welcome friends to Episode #61 of the Own Your Best Life Podcast. Are you thinking about creating a side hustle or a business? Maybe you’ve already started a side hustle but you’re not sure how to find the time to continue working on it without sacrificing your 9-5 or personal life. If you’re wondering how to find time for it all, you’re in the right place. Today, I’m sharing how much time you need, where to start, and a structure that could work for you.

Some people dream of owning their own business. You might be surprised but that wasn’t me. I remember distinctly thinking as a kid that I never wanted to be an entrepreneur. I didn’t want all of that commitment, responsibility and risk. Yet, fast forward decades later when I wanted to start coaching and it wasn’t an opportunity that was available to me at that time in my corporate 9-5, I knew that I needed to create my own opportunity. I needed to create my own business. We might think of creating our own business as a really scary idea. One that brings up imposter syndrome or even a sense of overwhelm. Who am I to do this? Do I even have time?

Time is an important factor for many of us because we have another job that is paying the bills. Maybe it’s a 9-5 job. Maybe it’s not even a 9-5 job, but a work-at-almost-all-times job. I had one of the latter when I started a business, and if I only looked at time as my deciding factor, I wouldn’t have started a business. In fact, if I looked at money as my deciding factor, I wouldn’t have started it either. I can’t tell you how much money you’ll make from your business or how much time it will take to grow your business, but I can tell you if you want to start it, having a compelling reason to do it beyond time and money will give you the leverage to start.

Your Why

If you want to start a business or a side hustle, you’ll make a lot of excuses for why you can’t unless you have a compelling reason to do this. Your “why” comes first. Your “how” will come second.

For me, it was the wake-up call of realizing that death was imminent and unpredictable. It was the realization that life didn’t give you a timeline of how long you’re going to live and whether or not the person next to you will stick around either. What I wanted to commit to beyond time and money was to honor my truth. What did that mean? It meant to listen to the nudges and the inner voice that had been ignored for much of my life. It took a while for me to finally accept that all the protection and armor I put into place to make a certain amount of money and have a certain education or job on my resume was not going to be worth anything if I didn’t decide to cash in.

Cashing in isn’t about not working. Cashing in is about finally deciding to spend time doing what you love. It’s about learning what it feels like to do something with love and commitment even if you’re unsure of the outcome.

I didn’t know what this new business would look like and for someone who loves a good plan and knowing the outcome, this felt so different. I’m a firm believer that there are no right or wrong decisions. Instead, we ask ourselves, “what do I want to learn from this decision?” In this case, I wanted to learn what it felt like to follow the call of that inner voice and listen to my intuition. To do this no matter what. This intuitive call or nudge has led me to the next step over and over again, even when my plans have changed – but what doesn’t change is that I listen to that inner wisdom above all else. Whether or not I act on it is my responsibility – as it is yours to act on your own inner wisdom. Either way, it’s there letting you know that what you desire is possible. My question to you is this, “what do you want to learn in the process?” Let that guide you to shape it into the business that helps you learn those things.

For me, one of the things I wanted to learn was a different way of managing time and setting boundaries than I had in the past. How do I create a life I love if I don’t manage my time properly? I was used to committing as much time as needed and then some to all the things I did, but if I wanted a full life without burning out – I needed to create space for myself and learn how to properly spend my time. It didn’t matter what job I had or how many businesses I started or didn’t start. My earlier patterns were to overwork and to cut my sleep short. Inevitably, it led to poor health and burnout.

I knew that I didn’t want to sacrifice financial security in pursuit of my truth, so starting a business while working my corporate job was the ideal option for me. Knowing this, I had to figure out a time commitment that would be outside of my corporate job. I had to find time in the early hours of the morning, the evening and on the weekends to use towards my new business – and that’s exactly what I did.

How Much Time You Need

The question of how much time I needed wasn’t really where I started. We humans make our tasks fit the amount of time we have, so what we really want to ask ourselves is “how much time do I want to commit?”. You only need 1 hour this week to start. Can you carve out 15 minutes a day to think through what it is you want and begin to take the first steps? When you get the 15 minutes a day or 1 hour a week down, you can move to 2 hours, 3 hours or more.

Easy Places to Find Time

Some of the easiest ways for us to find time is in the early morning, the evenings and depending on your current schedule – can even be during the day itself. Maybe you spend a lot more time than you would like on social media or watching shows. You can utilize that time for starting a new business. Perhaps your kids are in school. You can utilize that time as well. Maybe you take a lunch break – there’s another chunk of time to utilize.

Not so Easy Places to Find Time

Choices and help. We also have to make some choices about our lives if we are struggling to find the time. These are what I call the not-so-easy places to find time. This might look like changing jobs so that you have more time to devote to your business without sacrificing quality of work and commitment to your other job. It might look like asking for part-time work instead of full-time work if you feel you don’t need the income. It might look like getting help with childcare, cooking, cleaning or grocery-shopping, so that you can find an hour or two to work on your business. As our business grows, you might have different needs so don’t let the next thing like figuring out how to find even more time deter you from just getting started. We don’t need to focus on finding these not-so-easy pockets of time until we do.

There are 2 more things to keep in mind, once you’ve identified some pockets of time: consistency and deadlines.

Sticking to it (Consistency)

If you haven’t started a business before and you’re figuring it out for the first time now, or if you’ve constantly struggled with consistency, you know that your ability to stick to it will be a key factor for success. If you want to make progress in any area of life, we need to make it a habit so that when it’s time to wake up or transition from the last activity to working on your business, you actually do it. So many of us have great ideas that die because we never follow through.

How do we make this working on your business a habit that we follow through on time and time again? Through planning and accountability.

Planning means that you schedule it in your calendar. Planning means that you create consistent windows of time for you to create this business. Planning means that you acknowledge what obstacles might show up and you create a Plan B. What if you can’t spend an hour? What if you wake up late? What if you don’t feel like doing it? Creating a plan B or even C for each of these likely scenarios will help you be prepared to execute and make some type of progress even if it’s not what you originally planned. Over the years, I’ve used quite a few journals and planners to help me get ideas out of my head and onto paper – and then scheduled. If you’re struggling to organize your thoughts, here are a few resources and methods to help you with journaling and planning:

  1. Journal (like a Moleskine notebook or this one I am using) only and then plan your day in it as well (includes times of day/what you’re doing/gratitude/etc). I would have separate sections in the book for different areas like: weekly planner/business/podcast ideas/book notes/brain dump/Resources/Goals/etc.
  2. Journal (to take notes) + planner. This helps you stay structured with a daily planning methodology – keep it to 10 – 15 min planning if possible to make it consistent. I would still use a digital planner in addition to this (outlook/gsuite).

Planners I like are: High Performance Planner (by Brendon Burchard) or Best Self Journal. I also use the RPM method by Tony Robbins for deciding on actions and the 5 Minute Journal is something I’m going to start in the next couple months.

What I started with when I began journaling and planning was 2 things:

  1. Day by day note-taking in a journal and then use the back pages for Ideas/To-do’s/To-buy’s/Resources. Digital Planner (online calendar).
  2. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and the Morning Pages – this is a daily brain-dump

What I am doing now:
Best Self Journal + Digital Calendar + Evernote + Blank Journal

Accountability is more important than most people realize. One of the first things that people will say to me when they are in the midst of change is that they need someone to hold them accountable. We strange humans hate disappointing other people so if you make a promise to me or someone who will check on you feedback, you are more likely to commit to following through.

Deadlines

Lastly, you’ll need a deadline. I know that when I wanted to learn how to swim, I signed up for a sprint distance triathlon. Give yourself a meaningful date, something that you commit yourself to – for example – you tell people that you’re launching a business on a certain date means you’ll have a website ready by the date or a product or your service. Again, we work for as much time as we give ourselves, so even if it feels like a little bit of a stretch – know that you’ll get it done if you give yourself a deadline and external accountability coupled with it.

So in summary, we covered the reason  your “why” is going to be your driving force for this new endeavor, how to find time, sticking to it to develop consistency, accountability and deadlines. These are some of the most important things to start with when you’re creating time for a business.

Let me know what resonates with you and how you use this to start your business or make more time for what’s important. In this month’s Leadership group coaching, we’ll be covering the process and energy of achieving. We’ll dive into practices of achieving that don’t burn us out, but allow us to utilize our time and energy most effectively. If you enjoy these kinds of topics, you can go to www.mayempson.com/contact to learn more.

If you want to go even further on this topic of time management, I’m hosting a free workshop, Breakthrough Days, where we will structure your days and weeks so that you have the time freedom you need to move forward towards what you want the most. We’re going to start to live life and instead of life living us, so that you can look back at the end of the day, week, month and year and revel in how far you’ve truly come. Sign up at www.mayempson.com/breakthroughdays.com

Here are the resources mentioned today:

Disclosure: As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn small commissions from qualifying purchases made through links in this post.

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