Please welcome my friend Nell from the TheMillionDollarDiva. Nell is my Australian buddy who I e-mail late at night because she’s awake haha. She’s a really hard worker and has some great tips on side hustling. You can follow her on twitter as well.
So, you want to make some extra money from a side business? You’ve thought up a business model (freelance writing! website design!) and have a website (pretty!) and you even know how much to charge ($$). But you’re stuck. Stalled. There’s just one problem.
You’re so darn busy you don’t know how you are going to fit it in.
You Can Build a Side Business Without Losing Sleep (or Your Sanity)
You see all those other bloggers and side hustlers earning $3k, $5k, even $10k+ plus extra in side income a month and you assume they must be some kind of organization-ninjas or Vampires. Deep down inside you think it’s impossible for us mere mortals with jobs, kids, a social life, that re-run marathon of Buffy on TV to even think about trying to fit in a side hustle around all that.
But those successful side hustlers are just like you and me. With one tiny difference. They’ve figured out that with some smart tactics and a bit of determination that it is possible to build a side business while working a full time job (and, you know, living). In fact, put these tips in place and you’ll probably find that you have more extra time than you actually realised.
‘You can build a side business without losing sleep (or sanity)’ – Click to tweet
How Successful Side Hustlers Grow Their Business (in Limited Time)
1. Know What Your Goal Is
If you want to build a successful side business you need to know what your end goal is. Are you trying to build a successful blog full of engaged, thoughtful readers? Do you want to build your design business so you can do what you love for your own clients? Is your plan to build a passive income stream so you can spend your days traveling? Or maybe you just want a bit of extra money to pay off your mortgage faster?
It doesn’t matter what your goal is, or how ‘big’ or ‘ambitious’ it might be. But it is important to know what you want. Otherwise you will find yourself doing a whole heap of things that don’t fit in with your goal.
For example, whenever you get approached by a possible client, or find a new App or Widget for your blog, or even just a new social media platform you could be on, ask yourself ‘does this help me reach my goal?’. If the answer’s ‘no’, ditch it.
With only limited time to work on your business, you’ve got to make each hour count.
2. Systemize, Regularize, Organize
You’ve got to get regular if you want to make your business work. By that I mean, you need to build systems into your day and week. Yes, that means getting organized but it helps, I promise.
The key here is not to automate your life, but to reduce your decision making on the mundane so that you can focus your energy where it counts.
Think about how much time you spend wondering what to have for dinner each week and shopping for seven different meals. You’re wasting valuable evenings you could be spending on your business. Stop it! Cook three big meals and eat the leftovers.
Is laundry day whenever you run out of clothes? Do it every Saturday while vacuuming the house. Two jobs done in the one go, giving you more time to build your side hustle.
Spending 20 minutes each morning worrying about what to wear when you could be responding to blog comments? Have your outfits sorted for the week on Sunday and stop the stress and time wasting.
Why does this matter? Studies have shown that the more decisions that we have to make during the day, the weaker our resolve becomes. If you spend your day deciding on the mundane – red shirt or blue? chicken or fish? – you have less decision-making power for the serious decisions that require more willpower – such as work on my blog when I get home from work, or collapse in front of the television?
3. Stop Giving Your All at Work
This one is possibly controversial, but if you want to build a successful side business, you need to stop working so hard at your regular job.
Okay, so you don’t want to slack off so much that you lose your job – that totally defeats the purpose of a side hustle. But don’t expend so much energy that you have nothing left at the end of the day. If you are working overtime on that extra project that’s not in your job description, doing the work for your slacker colleague and trying to build a side business, you are going to collapse.
Make sure you know what your job description entails, and do a little bit extra on top of that. But that’s it. Why are you doing your job and your supervisors job on top of that anyway?
4. Know Your ‘Five Minute’ Tasks
The tips so far have all been about finding the time (and energy) to work in big chunks of time on your business. But what about those little bits of wasted time that we all have during the day?
Waiting for your partner to finish getting ready? Stuck in the doctor’s waiting room because she’s running late (again)? Sick of watching the same ads in between your favorite show?
Figure out what tasks related to your business can be completed in fives minutes and work them into your day. You could schedule some Twitter posts, read and comment on a blog, respond to an email, or come up with a blog post idea.
You’ll be surprised how much extra time you can find to work on your business by identifying the little tasks you can squeeze into random parts of your day. And with everyone carrying smartphones these days, you can do just about all those tasks from anywhere.
5. Combine Tasks for Maximum Efficiency
I’m not usually a big fan of multi-tasking because I find that I need to focus on one thing if I want it to be half decent. I can’t write with the television on for example – it takes me twice as long to finish an article and so completely defeats the purpose.
But I do love when I find two things that I can do at once successfully. It’s such a time saver and a great way to move ahead with your business at twice the speed.
For example, I usually ride a scooter to commute so I can’t normally listen to music or the radio (it’s way too dangerous to ride with headphones on). But my walk home is only 40 minutes, so while the weather is nice I’ve decided to leave the scooter at home and walk to work and back everyday. Now you may think that’s crazy – adding an extra hour or so onto my daily commute, versus just riding in.
But at the same time I’m walking I listen to great podcasts on building and growing an online business. Stuff like Smart Passive Income, Entrepreneur on Fire, and Small Business, Big Marketing. I love it because I feel like I’m getting a bit of ‘me time’, I get inspired to start working on my business as soon as I get home, plus I get plenty of exercise in as well.
Now walking to work might not work for you, but I’ll bet there’s other mindless things you do during the day where you could tune into a great podcast at the same time – doing chores around the house, taking the dog for a walk, or working out.
Building a side business isn’t easy – that’s why so many people give up before they see success. But the most successful business owners know that you don’t have to be Superman (or woman) to build a side business. You just need to get smart with how you organise yourself.
What tips have you got to combine working on your side business with your busy day? Leave a comment below.
Nell is a freelance writer and blogger for hire. Visit her site The Million Dollar Diva for more great advice on investing, saving money, entrepreneurship and building a life you love. Join the newsletter and get instant access to the ebook ‘5 Ways to Rock Your Finances in Your 20s and 30s’.
Editor’s Note: I absolutely loved the “5 minute” tip. I’ve been freelancing all this time, and I never thought to make a list of things that actually take 5 minutes. I’m always trying to write blog posts while waiting for the doctor, etc. but those things take way longer than 5 minutes and they get dragged out. Having a list of 5 minute tasks might make me feel way more accomplished – thanks Nell!
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