If someone would have told me two years ago that we’d be holding our Happy Balance Planners in hand and that I’d add small business owner to my job description, I would have told you that you were crazy.
Side Hustle…Side business…hobby job…hobby turned business…all were completely foreign concepts to me.
But, just about two years ago, Jor and I took the leap into the small business world and while it was incredibly exciting, it also meant that we were adding another hat to the wardrobe and adding another thing to our plate.
To say that you are your own boss, that you are creating a business from the ground up and bringing your ideas to life has an almost magical ring to it, doesn’t it? Entrepreneurship is almost in the category of the “it” thing to do and be these days but now that we are knee deep, I can honestly tell you that beyond the glitz and glam and almost story-book feeling of owning your own business, is the simple fact that it is HARD WORK! There is no one formula for what makes a successful business, there is no one path to go down for guaranteed rewards, and there is no magic component that will turn your idea into something people can’t live without.
The magic sauce for creating a business that you’re proud of requires just a few things: YOU, belief, and unwavering determination and persistence.
What makes this even more challenging is when you enter into the juggling act of trying to grow your small business while maintaining your day job. Jor and I not only get it, we walk in those shoes and down that very same path each and every day.
Some days are easier than others and then you have the days where you are asking yourself: “Why am I trying to do ALL the things”, which ultimately leaves you feeling like you did NONE of the things!
Have you been there? Or maybe you haven’t taken the leap yet and you are sitting with an idea that you are itching to explore, that almost distracts you on the daily while sitting at your desk for your day job, but you just can’t seem to take muster up the courage to go after. All those feelings, emotions and struggles are very real and also very common. We have felt them and let’s be honest, still feel them even after two years!
While I can’t promise you that it will ever be easy, Jor and I have found some things that have enabled us to make the juggling act stay in motion while still having FUN! Yes!…FUN should be a requirement when doing this juggling act or why else would you put yourself through it?
Tips for juggling your day job with your dream job:
- Set Clear Goals for Your Dream Job: Just like you set yearly goals for your day job, require yourself to define clear goals and intentions for your dream job. What do you want to get out of? Is it something that you always want to keep as a “hobby job” or is it something that you want to replace your day job with? The answers to those questions will require a different approach to your business. No matter your long term goal, you must get specific in order to use your time efficiently on the daily and find forward progress to whatever goal you set for yourself and your side job.
- Prioritize: You need to tell yourself this on repeat, put a sticky on your bathroom mirror and make it your security password so you type it multiple times a day! If there is one thing that we know to be a solid truth, it is that there is such a thing as saying “yes” to too many people and things and being stretched too thin. As much as we all want to believe that we can do it all seamlessly once we find the perfect rhythm, the truth is that we can’t do it all and do it all well. We can’t give our best or produce our best when the plate is piled so high you can’t see over it. Even more important, we can’t be present for the people that mean the most to us or the moments that truly matter when we try to do it all. Prioritize your tasks and also prioritize your strengths so that you value your time most efficiently. If there are other tasks that you can outsource from your business (i.e. emails, packing and shipping product, etc.) or from your home life (i.e. cleaning, grocery shopping, etc.) invest in the help.
- Time Block/Designated Dream Job Time: Time blocking isn’t everyone’s thing and we totally get that. However, we have found that designating time for your side job has to be a thing! You have to carve out specific time where you can devote not just your time but your attention and focus completely on your side biz without distractions from anything else (including your day job). Maybe you are an early bird and you can squeeze in time in the morning before your day job, maybe you have 2 hours in the evening after dinner, or maybe it’s a larger junk of time on the weekend. You decide on the time, and devote yourself to it just as you would any other meeting or todo list item for your day job.
- Take Small Steps: Don’t expect to take giant leaps in your side business or see substantial growth overnight. You have to trust that the small steps will add up, just like we’ve talked about before with other goals and dreams. Here’s the thing, we all know that you could move faster, wider and longer if you didn’t have your day job (I’ve maybe told Jor this a hundred times…maybe twice that!). But while you do have your day job, you have to have realistic expectations of yourself and the growth that you can create in your business. The best way we have found to do that, is just like all other goals: break them down into smaller, actionable steps. We apply the goal funnel that is found in our Daily Happy Balance Planners to continually find forward progress even on the busiest of days.
- Radical Self-Care: That sounds a little on the extreme side BUT we have found that extreme is what it takes to carve out time for yourself and press pause on the juggling act. Ending your work day, taking care of the home/family and then squeezing in every last minute of the day for your side biz can be absolutely draining and exhausting. If you keep holding down the gas pedal without ever tapping the breaks, it is only a matter of time before you run out of gas and have little motivation to take another step. So, at a minimum, do at least one thing each week for yourself that feels like a refresh and reboot. Think of self-care as maintenance and fuel to help there be more of you to pour into all the people and things that you love most.
If there is an idea that keeps you up at night and is the star of your daydreams, give yourself the gift of exploring it! Yes, it will be challenging and will require more from you, but it also has the potential to be more rewarding and ultimately fulfilling than you can even imagine. And the bonus of the juggling act is that your day job can serve as your safety net while you have the ability to test, play and explore your dreams.
Bottomline: You can absolutely go after a side dream job while maintaining your day job! You simply have to make the choice and then walk down the path standing taller and more determined than you ever have before.