When I quit my day job to start working on my own business full time people expressed a lot of concern. I suppose that most of them assumed that I was going to venture out and start something new… building from the ground up. That wasn't the case. The truth was that I had spent 8 plus years growing something steadily on the side.
Before I say anything else let me state how important it is that you truly give your employer all the time, energy, and passion they deserve for employing you. This is not an article about how you can do 40 hours of work in 20 hours so you can steal time from the company to build your thing. During the last five years I spent at my job I worked hard to not only give them the expected 40 hours a week but extra hours, my dedicated energy, and passion. When I started to feel too distracted to give them what they deserve I left. You should too.
If you are an employee of a company and also have a side business you are working on I can relate. Today I'm going to outline some of the key tools I used to manage my time in a way that I was able to grow the side business while still being true to my employer and the time I was morally and legally obligated to give them.
You Need Technology
I leveraged a lot of modern tools to allow me to keep my day job while growing my business. Some of these tools including file storage and sharing tools like Dropbox and Google Drive. Tools that made it easy to jot down quick notes or thoughts from anywhere I was like Evernote and Google Tasks. Identify the challenges in your work and business systems and find technology to solve the challenge for you.
You Need to Out Source
You don't have to do everything in your business. Identify the tasks that can be out-sourced. Stretch yourself here… it can be very difficult to let go of things that you somehow believe that only you can do but it would be necessary eventually any way if you ever hope to have a big business and it is certainly important now if you want to keep your day job. As an example, I hired someone to take all my business phone calls. That was anywhere from 30 to 100 phone calls a week that I decided I didn't need to answer anymore. Now that I quit my job do you think I want to answer those calls? NOPE. Happy to keep the arrangement working. I also started to hire people via Elance.com to do a lot of data entry and online research work for me. Things that really anyone with the time and limited expertise could do but that frankly I didn't have the time for. (more on outsourcing here)
You Need to Work More Hours
Inevitably during your 8 hour employed work day some things are going to come up from your side business that you are going to have to deal with. An email here and there… an emergency on occasion. The fair way to make this all work is to build in extra hours for your employer outside of the standard 8. I got to my day job 30 minutes early every day for 5 years. I also made it a point to look at and respond to emails during the evening. If my employer ever had any concern about an personal email that I took now and again they would have been reassured by the above and beyond work hours I was putting in. That is what it takes to deal honestly.
You Need to Batch Tasks
There are a lot of things both in your day job and almost certainly in your business that take up a lot of time. Can you batch these together to save time? Over the years I was able to find routine tasks that I used to do as they came in or daily etc… and change my system to doing them all at one time each week or month. Forcing myself to batch tasks saved a lot of time. For one example, I used to do daily accounting… entering in expenses and sales every day. Then one day I realized… I could do this monthly. Sure it may take 4 hours once a month but that would be better than 20 minutes almost every day all month long.
You Need to Focus on the One Thing
Above all else you need to learn to prioritize. To eliminate the minutia and focus on doing the most important things each day. I had a piece of paper taped to my office wall that read “What is the one thing that by doing now will make everything else easier or unnecessary?” I looked at that everyday. My employer and my business prospered because I was focused on getting the most important things done first. (The ONE Thing Book Review)