You want to be a stay at home mom (or dad) but contribute to the household income or you dream of turning a hobby into a business and leaving the 9-5 job but aren’t sure how you’re going to squeeze that into your already packed life. Whether you are a blogger, an Etsy store owner, or are a brand rep, you are trying to balance life with your side business, and that can be difficult.
Let’s be honest, running a side business can take over your life if we let it. Juggling your personal life, your family, and if you work on outside job, your professional life can be daunting. It’s not going to be easy, but if you put the right tools and practices in place, it will be possible. I promise!
The Right Tools
- Gmail or another mail program that will sync to all your devices so you can work anywhere is vital.
- Evernote. This is a virtual notebook that will also sync to all your gadgets. I have separate notebooks for various areas of my business and can pull up any info I need or quickly jot down an idea. Whether you prefer digital or paper, always have a notebook with you!
- Dropbox. This program also syncs with all my devices. A virtual hard drive. I keep my product photos in Dropbox, for instance, and can write copy and upload a new product to Etsy while I would otherwise be idle. Getting my hair colored is a great example!
The Right Practices
- Review your current schedule. Not only for your available times but your energy and motivation levels. I run almost every day and trust me; I do not have the motivation to get any work done until after I’ve showered and eaten something. Do you need downtime when you get home from an outside job? Now you can go ahead and pencil in some tasks. Also now is the time to decide if you prefer an hourly schedule or a block schedule. I prefer block scheduling and then can move the whole block if I the need arises. Tab block schedules and on top of her regular job, her family responsibilities, and our blog, she wrote a novel, YES! An entire novel in 2017.
- Make goals realistic and manageable. Creating a goal of making 50K a year seems like a good idea but it’s totally out of your control! What you can do is make goals for action steps that would help you bring in that 50K a year. Do you need to redo some of your product listings? Improve the photographs? These are action steps: Redo three listings a week. I read once that if your goal will take longer than 2 hours to accomplish, break it down into smaller steps. I think this is incredibly important for those of us who have many irons in the fire.
- Automate what you can. Scheduling posts on social media is a perfect example. So many options are available. Find one that works for you or combine two that make the task easier. You should also be setting reminders for when orders are due, etc. Scheduling with online bill pay is one of my favorite things!
- If you can’t automate, delegate. Recruit your family or friends to help. They may not be able to help package orders, but they can take your daughter to ballet or pick the kids up from school.
- Use Found Time. Some days I have time waiting for patients or sitting in a waiting room while my tires are balanced. I can write copy, answer emails, or schedule social media posts while I wait. I listen to podcasts or a class while I drive, improving the skills needed for a successful business. Creating a to go office will give you a chance to work anywhere!
- Wake up early or stay up later. Again, this is dependent on your energy level. I’m a night person; Tab is a morning one. Which are you?
- Remove the Distractions. This is a practice I struggle with. I was an ER nurse for years, and my mind needed to go in 7 difference directions at once. Running a business with this mindset doesn’t work well for me. I need to concentrate on the task at hand before moving on to the next or I complete… umm, none. This includes distractions such as skimming Facebook, stopping to fold the clothes.
- Prevent Burnout. Take care of yourself, eat right, exercise, and go on dates with your partner and kids. You might have to determine a clock out time and put it away until tomorrow.
It takes a whole lot of focus, determination, and motivation to build a successful side hustle. Effective time management will help you reach your goals, relieve some of the stress, and prevent burnout while allowing you to maintain some kind of family relationship!