3 ways to manage the time limitations of a side hustle

You often hear people say ‘build up your business on the side of your job before your launch.’ It’s a great way to make that entrepreneurship is for you, and to know you have the security of revenue coming into your business before you quit. But it’s not always easy to manage. Here are some tips to maximise your chances of success without damaging your career.

Some of the questions I hear are:

  • How do you manage the tension of potentially appearing ‘uncommitted’ as you put time into your business and potentially share with others what you are doing?
  • What do you say about your business to your colleagues and your boss?
  • What can you post on social media (if at all)? How do you handle conflicts of interest?

Here are 3 ways to manage it like a boss:

  1. Find a way for the organisation to benefit from what you are doing 

If you are nervous about how people will perceive it, build a case for what you are doing by offering to provide a service for your organisation that relates to your business.

For example, if you are doing mindfulness coaching, run sessions with employees so that the organisation too can benefit from what you are learning and doing outside work. It’s great practice and people will love seeing you add value in a new way – win/win! 

Lastly, the more value you are adding in your job the more indispensible you are and the easier it will be to negotiate working flexibly or going part time to do your business on the side. So give it your best and you’ll set yourself up for more support when you need it. Your employer may even become a client!

2. Don’t neglect your responsibilities in your day job

It seems obvious, but do your job – even if you are not engaged. Your current employer is helping you to fund your new business and experience the stability of a salary. Respect and honour that. I know someone who does coaching sessions during her working day, but still meets her responsibilities and puts the needs of the organisation first. That is what is key.

3. Don’t get stuck in the corporate grind and lose sight of your vision 

While it’s important to keep adding value to the organisation while you’re working, if you are a Type A perfectionist or you are surrounded by them where you work, you may catch yourself in a bind where you are working 80 hours a week in your job and not progressing on your long term vision of starting a business.

If that is you, do the work on your mindset and develop an achievement orientation where done is better than perfect. Ask what is priority and do those things first. Negotiate. Let go of what people think of you and do what’s required in an efficient way. Be protective of your time: question whether you need to attend meetings based on the agenda – you and your dream are worth it.

If there culture where you work does not allow you to take a few nights out each week to work on your business, or you’re on the verge of burn out – you may need to consider a bridging job or career with fewer responsibilities, or a company with a different culture. You can also explore contract opportunities where you have more flexibility.

 

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