How to Run a Business While Working Full-Time

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More people are joining the side hustle nation every year. Are you thinking about taking the leap? If you are looking for some helpful tips on how to start and run a successful business while working full time, read on!

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Background Photo by Freestocks on Unsplash

If you’re looking to make more money and improve your financial situation, there is hardly a better solution than starting your own business. Even if you have a job that you love, there are limitations placed on your financial freedom. In most cases, you’ll have to wait for your yearly review before you can see a change in your paycheck. Starting a business is one of the most liberating things you can do. It’s something that is completely yours and you can build it from the ground up.

As a result, there is a change happening in the business culture. More people are having their cake and eating it too, they run a business while working full time. In my opinion, it’s the smartest way to maintain your lifestyle while working to improve it!

I started my first business in 2014, at the time I was working in the production department for a television network. Today, and I’m still running that business and working a full-time job. I’m also working to build this blog into another stream of income.

At first, I was afraid to admit this to anyone because I thought if I told my secret it would discredit me. Why would anyone want to listen to someone talk about entrepreneurship when they don’t even do it full time? But I quickly realized that I have a perspective that is not only important but something many can relate to.

The life of an entrepreneur can be an unpredictable roller coaster and if you are like me, that just isn’t going to work. We have responsibilities and bills that have to be paid. It’s just not feasible to quit our stable income. And some of us aren’t looking to quit at all, we just want a little extra income.

Why Should You Run A Business While Working Full time?

You may be thinking…

Running a business is hard enough. Why would I want to tackle that while working at the same time? That sounds like a lot of work.

And you’re not wrong in thinking that.

It’s true, this lifestyle is not going to be for everyone. The constant juggling act and time management that goes into doing both is something to be marveled. It requires years of finesse and constant reinvention, but I believe it is worth it.

The great thing is, a side hustle can be what you want it to be. It can replace your full time job, or just supplement your current income. You can use the money to pay off debt, save for a house, or get ahead on your bills whatever you want!

Having something you do outside of your job can give you a sense of purpose. It can make you happier and improve your creativity.

So how do you run a business while working full time? I’ve got a few tips:

Keep Things Organized

If there is one thing I would say about trying to run a business while working full-time it would be to stay organized! And I mean this from the most basic things in your life to the most complex. When everything has it’s place, it removes unnecessary stress from your life. This goes for any and everything, from cleaning your desktop to organizing your tasks to cleaning your home.

You don’t want to be on a conference call rummaging through your house trying to find a pen to write with or spending precious time trying to search for a document someone emailed you about an upcoming project!

The light bulb moment for me was when I realized my personal life is connected to my work and vice versa. Instead of thinking only about my business tasks and organizing those, I see it is connected. Now, I make an effort to organize my life not just my life in business.

Another way I like to stay organized is writing things down. I definitely suggest having some sort of planner tool to help you keep up with everything. You are very likely to forget things if you don’t put your thoughts somewhere.

I have three ways I like to write things down. I like to use any.do, google calendar and my handwritten planner. You don’t have to do all of that, but for me, it really helps.

I write down what I need to do each day in any.do and I also put any future deadlines I need to meet so I can keep it at the forefront of my mind. I also put my deadlines in google calendar because I use a lot of google apps and so it’s really easy to check google calendar. And lastly, I keep the handwritten calendar as a backup. If I’m ever out and my phone dies or if I leave the house without the handwritten planner I am always covered. If I did not organize my life like this, there is no way I could get everything done that I do and remember every appointment and deadline.

Have A Thorough Plan

It’s important to plan out your larger more time-consuming goals and tasks! You can do this by having weekly goals and monthly goals.

Having goals without action is just wishful thinking.

A clear and concise plan allows you to develop actionable steps. It lists our your intentions and the strategy you want to use to make those intentions reality. If you take the time to break down goals by the day, week and month you are less likely to become overwhelmed.  I recommend having one day a month where you plan out your monthly goals, and one day a week where you plan out your weekly goals.

Prioritize What’s Most Important

When you are planning out your day, week and month always start with the things that are most important. What are the things that are really going to propel your business forward?

When I sit down to plan my day (which I usually do the day before) I try to break it down into to blocks. A few hours working on one thing, a few hours working on another etc. I also make sure to sprinkle in some breaks and a little down time if possible. Don’t forget your mental breaks!

Creating a system that works for you will require some trial and error. So I say get started as soon as you can! You can modify as you go along.

Do One Thing At A Time

Multi-tasking may seem like a great idea but I know from personal experience that it isn’t always the best method. When I first started my business while working at the TV station, I would multitask like a crazy person and even though I got things done, I always felt drained and completely scatterbrained. If you feel the same, I would suggest blocking out your time and putting your focus on one thing for at long as you can. It can really do wonders for your productivity!  Do your best to minimize distractions.

Don’t get Distracted by Details

It is so incredibly easy to spend your entire day trying to fix your website to look exactly the way you want, or chatting with other bloggers on social media, or reading interesting articles about building your brand. I have definitely had my fair share of days where I spent way to much time doing something very small that wasn’t really that important.

Managing your time well will make your break your success. If we are constantly nitpicking about small things we’ll never achieve our real goals. Put these smaller tasks lower down on your priority list (see above) and tackle them after you complete the more important things.

Except That Some Things Will Have to Take a Back Seat

You can manage your time with the best of them, but there are only so many hours in a day. I’ve been the girl working my 9 to 5 only to go home and work until the wee hours of the morning only to do it all over again, it doesn’t work out in the long run.

You will be grumpy, unhappy, and unfulfilled if you take this route. Don’t be like me.

Yes, sometimes you won’t be able to avoid those late nights but I recommend choosing your battles. Make sure your main priorities are always at the forefront, and if things fall short, it’s okay. You’ve got a lot on your plate! As long as you stay focused on your priorities and track your progress, that is all that really matters.

Run A Business While Working Full-Time

You are doing an amazing thing. Getting involved in the marketplace, uplifting others and maybe creating some jobs along the way! With determination and discipline, anything is possible. I am fortunate to say that I love everything that I do, including my 9 to 5 job. That makes it a whole lot easier when things get busy and completely crazy in my life.

Do you run a business and work full-time? What are some tips you could offer to someone who is just starting out? Sound off the comments below! Thank you for reading!

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Olivia Johnson
Olivia Johnson is a videographer, photographer and freelance writer in the Atlanta, GA area. She works with soloprenuers and businesses to create video content that resonates with their audiences. Her full-service video production company, Silver Iris Entertainment specializes in commercials, business profiles, and event videography. She is also the founder and main contributor at Creatlivity, a lifestyle blog for women in business. She contributes articles about entrepreneurship, marketing, videography, photography, and tech.
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