Being an entrepreneur is often glamorized as this rosy, relaxed existence where you can ball out at ridiculously restaurants, work 2 hours per day, and have thousands of dollars coming in from your minimal work.
Not to be too gloomy, but that’s not what this life is about. It’s possible for it to be like that but that’s not all there is when it comes to entrepreneurship. Being an entrepreneur is a little like jumping from a plane and making a parachute as you go.
I started my entrepreneurial journey while working a full-time job and going to school part-time. It was the hardest thing I’ve done to this day as an entrepreneur. Doing the things I needed to get done wasn’t the problem, although it can become a very big one. The toughest part was finding enough time to do those things to the best of my abilities. In addition to finding the time to do a million and one things, making sure I was making progress was a constant worry.
Here are some tips on how I kept my head above water while trying to manage my career, school, and building my own business.
1.) Time is there, it’s just hiding in inconvenient places
Maybe it’s waking up earlier and squeezing in a concentrated hour or 90 minutes building your email list or scheduling blog posts. Maybe it’s setting up at a coffee shop right after work and getting an hour of solid work done. Whatever your preference is, make sure you have it in a calendar and you stick to it. You will have those days after an exhausting and long 8 hours of work, where your brain just wants to shut down for the day. You just wanna grab some pizza and cold beer and watch reruns of Fresh Prince all evening. That’s totally ok, I’ve been there. A few days here and there are fine but don’t make a habit of this while trying to build your business.
“I’ll just do it tomorrow” turns into “I’ll do this next week," which quickly becomes “ I’ll do this someday”. We all know what “someday” means.
Make sure to schedule time to work on your business whether that’s before work (what I did) or after work. Schedule it, set alarms, find an accountability partner, do something that will keep you on track.
2.) Set realistic goals
This is the hard part. Nobody wants to be spinning their wheels, spending countless early mornings and evenings doing stuff that doesn't matter. When it comes to building your business, you want to be focused and working on things that will pay off. Whether that’s creating an actionable giveaway to generate leads, or creating a blog post that will be extremely informative for your audience, you want to be working on stuff that moves you forward.
In order to do this, you need to know what your goals are. Do you want a certain number of subscribers in 3 months? Do you plan on launching your first product in 6 months? Do you have a revenue goal by a certain date? Having realistic, tangible goals will keep you on track on motivated as you’re building.
3) Take (Self) care
I can’t say it enough. It’s really tough balancing a full-time career while building your business. It can feel like a never-ending ride of self-doubt, haters (hi, haters), lack of energy, and time. You need to take care of yourself to make sure your heart, body, and soul are on point so you can keep growing. This means going to the gym regularly, meditating, surrounding yourself with positive people and energies, dancing like a fool in your room, etc. Whatever it is that makes you feel good, happy, and light should be part of your routine.
Too many entrepreneurs glorify the “working all night, no days off lifestyle”. That’s not a sustainable way to build a business. You need to take breaks to recharge and feel good. Working all the time leads to burnout.
4) No entrepreneur is an island
There’s always new buzzwords flying around like travelpreneur, workpreneur, and solopreneur for example. All of these cool words, coupled with HD pics of someone working hard in a coffee shop give the impression that it’s all about making it on your own.
Entrepreneurship isn't a zero sum game. Your success as an entrepreneur doesn't depend on the failure of others. Entrepreneurs in all industries have their communities, their “tribes” as they are often called. These tribes are there for support, accountability, and community. We all need someone to lean on - *cue the song*.
Yes, you took the initiative and wanted to start your own business. You’re in charge of the day to day of your business, and you’re ultimately responsible for the direction your business goes in, but that doesn’t mean it’s a lonely ride. You’re more likely to succeed as an entrepreneur by seeking out a community of people that will keep you in positive spirits, challenge you, and make sure you stay on track.
As DJ Khaled would say, this is MAJOR MAJOR key. It’s super important for all the people out there diving into the uncertain waters of entrepreneurship. You need to be patient with yourself and your journey. Yes, you're going to have those moments when you just want to quit your job ASAP. You’re going to have times when you want to throw in the towel and walk away. You’re going to get stuck and not know what to do next. It’s all normal and part of the process. You have to see it through and be patient with yourself and your business. You have to fall in love with the journey just as much as the end goal of having the amazing, thriving business of your dreams.
The message is this—if you really want it, you’re going to make time for it. There will be a learning curve and there will be times when you’re going to be at an impasse with your business. You can make the journey easier by being best friends with a calendar, taking the time to mentally and physically recharge, as well as finding a community.