Starting a business is never an easy road; especially if you’re already working full-time. There are many debts to pay as an entrepreneur and if you have commitments to family, friends and others you may be thinking to yourself, “When am I going to have time to start a business?” This was me less than three years ago.
My wife and I had just moved in together, we had our first born on the way and I was overworked, underappreciated, and not to mention uninspired (and underpaid) at my job. Despite a loaded 50-60 hour a week work schedule my internal cry for meaningful work, contribution and freedom tugged at my heart. It was time to make the leap.
Scared, tired and insecure I made up my mind to commit no matter what. Here’s how I jumpstarted my confidence, built momentum and eventually made the switch to a full-time entrepreneur:
1. Learn from Your Calendar– This may sound cliche, however the number one excuse I hear from aspiring entrepreneurs is, “I’m too busy to start a business” or “I don’t have time for starting a business”. I get it, we’re all very busy and I can empathize with your situation. But, I challenge you to really “get intimate” with your calendar. Stay with me here…
What does your calendar say about you? How much time do you spend on e-mail? Is it efficient? How many hours are you spending engaged in vague plans or organizing meetings? With both colleagues and friends. What are the benefits of these? How much are you accomplishing? How long has that weekend home improvement project been on your to do list? Have you made any leeway or started at all? How often do you find yourself “half committed” or procrastinating?
If we wanted to, we could have an endless lists of things to do. Learn exactly where you’re spending your time. Gain a better understanding of what you do with it. Then ask yourself, “Is this helping me get closer to my goal?” If not, what’s taking up (wasting) your time? Track how long things really take (to the minute), what zaps your energy, and where you’re distracted.
I can almost guarantee you will find at least an hour a day that is wasted on busy work, multi-tasking or procrastination. If you’re serious about doing work you love then you will make the time to take control your calendar.
2. Start with an Hour a Day– Building a business is a process and it’s known to be one wild roller coaster ride. Although, much of our culture is hooked on instant gratification, I advise not getting caught in that when starting a business. It’s important to maintain a good energy and an overdrive for instant results can leave you stressed, fatigued and frustrated.
Overcome procrastination by taking small, focused steps. Utilize the habit of consistency to build momentum, increase efficiency and the discipline to knockout bigger and tougher responsibilities. Remove bad habits that are keeping you “too busy”.
Shoot for getting in 5-6 hours of work a week. That’s only one hour a day Monday through Friday. This probably doesn’t seem like enough time, however after a few months you’ll be surprised at how much you learned and accomplished.
3. Filter Out Low Value Activities– Small steps will turn into a groove and you’ll feel an emerging excitement. You’re building momentum! You may also feel the pressure of being too “busy” again. Don’t worry, this is a sign that you may be ready for the next step.
Begin progressing by filtering out other low value activities. This may seem tough at first, everything seems important. Do an honest review of what’s really moving you forward, learn which tasks you’re under-appreciating and which ones to cut back on. Minimize, get rid of or, if possible, outsource any (if not all) activities that take up your time and energy.
Next, now fill your new free time with high value responsibilities. Choose activities that improve how you think and feel about your life. Take action on tasks and projects that get you closer to the comfort and revenue you need to leave your day job.
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” -Abraham Lincoln
Your dream of starting an online business doesn’t mean you have to quit your job…yet. The great thing about business today is you can start it from anywhere. With the advancements of technology and the access internet provides you can begin starting a business online from your home, in a coffee shop and while traveling for work. Begin the transition today.
No matter which approach you decide the easiest way to make a smooth segue into your own business begins with you. Commit to making your dream the routine and become the person who can fulfill it. Daily. The distance between you and freedom lies in your ability to meet the demands of your vision and create the life you want. It starts now.
What’s your current most difficult obstacle in starting a business while you still work? You can start or join the conversation by leaving a comment below or on our social media outlets.