One of the biggest questions I see when people want to start a business is how to start a side business when you work full time. As someone who worked 40+ hours a week at a full time job while starting my business – I can tell you – it’s not easy.
It can absolutely be worth the effort, tears, and stress when you finally get to quit the day job and be a full time entrepreneur. It takes a lot of dedication, hard work, and a set schedule.
The one thing that stops most people from starting their own side business is lack of time. The problem with this type of mentality is there is time just a lack of management in that time. If starting a side business is something that you really want, you can manage all of it.
There are several ways that you can make this process easier.
First, you need to figure out exactly what it will take to make this business successful. Do your research for a few weeks, just don’t get sucked into analysis paralysis. This will prevent you from actually starting your business because you will spend so much time just analyzing what it takes to make it succeed.
Next, you will choose your business of choice and start researching others who have been successful in their own versions of this business. I want to caution you here. Do not play the comparison game. No two success stories are the same so your will be different from someone else’s. Additionally, you cannot compare your beginning to someone else’s middle or end.
Finally, you will follow some of the steps I’ve laid out below to starting and running your side business while working full time. These are the exact things I did to start a successful business called Virtual COO Solutions (that allowed me to replace my 6 figure income in just 6 months) while I was working full time.
Know What You’re Getting Yourself Into
You should know ahead of time that the task you’re getting ready to take on is not an easy one. Starting a business under any circumstances is stressful and a huge time investment, but starting a side business alongside a full-time job means all the stress without having nearly as much time to devote to it.
If you’re serious about your decision to start a side business, know that there are going to be sacrifices. It will likely mean passing up nights out with friends, time spent on other hobbies, and time you may have spent doing something more relaxing such as reading or binge-watching your favorite shows.
While I caution you to take these things into account before you start a side business, I also wouldn’t consider these reasons not to. In the three years since I started my first business, I’ve absolutely found those sacrifices to be worth it!
Do Your Research Ahead of Time
When I first started my first business called Virtual COO Solutions, I was unprepared for the task of running a business. If you’re starting this journey with the intention of starting a real business, you’ll want to do some research up front.
Take some time to consider what kind of business you’re starting, what services you’ll offer, and who your target audience will be. This will make it so much easier to start creating, whether it be a service, a product, or online content. It will also make it easier to make a marketing plan because you’ll know exactly who you’re marketing to, where they hang out online, and what it is they need from you.
I Kept Going Even When it Was Hard
Building a business from scratch is hard, especially if you’ve never done anything like this before and don’t have a business background. And all the new things you are learning like SEO and social media are particularly challenging because you are at the whim of an algorithm.
Inevitably, there were times when I started to doubt myself. I’d worry that people wouldn’t be that interested in me or they would disagree with what I had to say. Whenever I’d start thinking those thoughts, I would remind myself of a couple of things.
First, I would remember that there is a person behind every single email address and member in my community. They mattered. I was here to show them what was possible, even if they didn’t believe it for themselves (yet).
Second, I would remind myself that failure is inevitable if you don’t try at all. So if I gave into the doubt I would definitely fail.
Third, I had to redefine success. I couldn’t control who signed up for my challenge, masterclass or a call with me. Or how many people actually took action while working with me. What I could only control, was my actions. And so I focused on what I could control: showing up and creating quality content week after week. To serve my community and clients and believe in them wholeheartedly.
Invest in Your Business
One of the great things about building an online business is that the start-up costs are quite low.
I spent very little money when I first started my Virtual COO Solutions business. Since then, even as my business has grown, I’ve still been able to keep my expenses low.
When I started the Two Week Notice Society, I was aware of the investment needed up front, but I recommend limiting those costs as much as possible. You might also consider cutting costs in other areas of your life so you have more money available to put toward your business before you start bringing in an income there.
Your costs up front will likely include a domain and hosting service. You also might consider an email marketing platform and social media marketing tools. If you’re creating a physical product, you’ll have even more start-up costs associated.
I also hired a business coach and purchased a course to help speed up the process and eliminate any potential mistakes I could be making.
Set Goals and Hold Yourself Accountable
I have found goal-setting to be hugely beneficial when it comes to growing my business(es). It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day tasks of working with clients and promoting my business on social media, and sometimes you can lose sight of the big picture and other projects you might like to take on.
I like to find balance by having a few big goals that I’m working toward along with my normal day-to-day business routine. Most notably, those big goals have included starting a podcast (coming soon!).
It can be so easy when your business is a side-hustle to set goals for yourself and then find that you never actually get around to accomplishing them. Find ways to hold yourself accountable to your goals such as writing them down, setting deadlines, and sharing them with others.
Manage Your Time Wisely
There’s no doubt about it, you’re going to have to get serious with your time management if you’re going to start a side hustle. If you’re working full-time, that means 40 hours every week that you won’t be spending growing your business.
Your evenings and weekends will suddenly be worth their weight in gold for your business. I like to make the most of that time by making sure I’ve outlined ahead of time what tasks I need to get done. You can also try to take advantage of early mornings and lunch hours (if that’s an option for you) to sneak in a little extra work.
Everyone eventually figures out a system that works best for them, and it’s different for every business owner. I typically spent a couple evenings each week working on my business, as well as one full day on the weekend if I can manage it (on weekends where I’ve got a lot going on personally I’ll just make up for that lost work by putting in more hours during the workday evenings).
Ask For Help
Starting a side business no matter what the ultimate goal of it is – is a difficult task. You need to learn to ask for help. If the house needs to be cleaned but you have a deadline looming, ask your husband to help. If your business needs your attention call in a babysitter.
This is all about learning to delegate tasks so that you can get more done. Of course, if you are going to delegate learn to actually delegate. Don’t hand out tasks and then stand over the person doing them and micro-manage. Trust that they can do it and go do what you need to do.
Even if it’s not in your nature to ask for help it’s important to learn to do it anyways. Even a side business will require a bit of attention until you have it running on autopilot. There is no such thing as fully passive income. Everything requires time and attention in order to make it successful.
By asking for help you are then able to focus on the tasks that need to get done in your business. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help within your business, or even just so you can get some time for yourself. One of the best things I did early on in my business was to hire a Virtual Assistant to help me with tasks that took up too much of my time, and that could easily be done by someone else.
Network, Network, Network
As I mentioned before, more and more people are choosing to become entrepreneurs while also holding a full-time job. This means you’re in good company and there are tons of like-minded individuals online doing what you’re doing!
Forming relationships with other online entrepreneurs and business owners has been truly invaluable to growing my own business. First of all, it has helped me to grow my business by allowing me to find individuals who are interested in what I’m doing.
It has also allowed me to make online friends whom I can lean on and who understand the pressures and stressors that go into this world of online business.
Just a quick search on Facebook will allow you to find countless Facebook groups of like-minded entrepreneurs!
BEFORE YOU GO
Do you have a side business, or are you planning to start a business while working full-time?
Leave a comment and tell me about your business so I can check it out!
P.S. If you’re ready to start or grow your side hustle, I want to invite you to join my upcoming Masterclass on how to make a full-time income in your side hustle! Register HERE.