Perhaps you dream of running your own business one day. Maybe you already have an idea and you want to get going, but you’re just not sure where to find the time. You do, after all, already work a full time job and maybe even have a family. Does this sound familiar?
Many entrepreneurs are in your exact situation. They have a business idea and want to work for themselves, but they can’t justify quitting their stable, full time job for a shot at self-employment. It’s just too risky, especially for those that have a mortgage, debt and children to support.
As a compromise, many small business owners start out by working their full time job in addition to growing their business. The situation might not be ideal at first, but if your startup proves to be lucrative, you’ll have more options down the line.
How to Balance a Full Time Job While Growing a Business
If you’re hoping to launch a side business while maintaining your full time job, these seven tips are sure to make a difference in how to manage doing both.
Set concrete, actionable goals.
How often do you set goals and forget about them within a week? To increase your chances of success, create actionable goals regularly. Not only should you be asking yourself where you want your business to be next year, but you should also be asking where you want it to be next week. What can you do today to make a difference tomorrow?
Example: Let’s say you run an online business. An example of actionable goals would be to promote your brand 10 times on Pinterest, grow your Twitter following by 100, create a business Facebook page or connect with five other people who work in your field.
Schedule out your days.
With so many different distractions all around us, it’s almost too easy to lose track of time. Schedule your day out in 30 minute to one hour blocks. This might seem like a waste of time, but try it for two weeks and see just how much more you’re able to accomplish. There are 24 hours in a day—use them wisely.
Your priorities will be different depending on your individual situation. If you have young kids at home, your evenings will look much different than if you live alone. Determine what your priorities are each day and base your schedule around that.
It’s OK to disconnect from your business when you first get home from work. Likewise, no one says you have to work until midnight each night. The beauty of running your own startup is that you’re in charge and you get to make all the decisions, including when you work and when you don’t.
Wake up earlier. It’s no coincidence that productive, successful people wake up earlier than the average American. People who rise before the sun are able to accomplish important tasks—whether that’s exercising or responding to business emails—before they head into the office. Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz wakes up at 4:30 am every morning to walk his dogs and workout, according to Bloomberg Business.
Take one day off each week.
Entrepreneurs typically work more than the standard 40-hour work week. If you’re growing a business plus working 40 hours at your day job, it’s easy to see how you could escalate to working 70-hours per week.
While that might be necessary at times, always try to give yourself at least one day a week completely off from work. This allows you to spend time with your family, recharge your batteries and, most importantly, avoid burnout.
Know your limits.
At times, your full time job will be busy and that might just coincide with when your business starts picking up. We all have limits, and it’s important to know when to say “no” and take a break. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your startup won’t be either.
Have a timeline in place, but be flexible.
Some people grow a business while working full time with the hopes of eventually quitting their day job. Others never plan on leaving their day jobs and plan on doing both for as long as possible. Assess your own goals and make a plan to achieve them. If you do wish to eventually quit your job, create a realistic timeline on how and when this will happen.
Write down your estimated profit projections, set savings goals to prepare you for when you quit your job, get health insurance lined up and determine how much money your business needs to be bringing in before you are able to quit your full time job.
Donny Gamble Jr. is founder of financial website, Personalincome.org, a published author, & investor. He is a contributor for HuffPost and other major media publications. Follow him at @donnygamblejr.