We want to do it all, and we want to do it well. But, at the end of the day we only have so many hours to get things done. When you're working full-time on your in-person job, the last thing you want to do is go home and do more work.
But, if you're working on a side hustle or trying to bring your business online, it's often necessary despite being a little tricky to balance.
Working a more traditional job while having a side hustle is entirely doable with the right strategies and play, a lot of it just depends on you working smarter, not harder.
Whether you're looking to continue balancing your job and side hustle, or take your side hustle full time, these strategies will help you make the most of the time that you do have and automate parts of your business to save you time.
Define your “why”
I found that the biggest way to find motivation to do things I might not necessarily want to do after work, is ask myself exactly why I'm doing what I need to do.
It's easier to find motivation if you have a reason why you're losing that extra sleep1, or missing out on spending a few extra hours with friends.
Whether your motivation is to earn enough to cover your kids’ piano lessons each month or you're saving up to travel the world, keep that motivation in mind when you're feeling the least motivated.
Set a goal
Do you want to balance the two for forever? Or are you hoping that one day your side hustle will be lucrative enough that you can quit your 9-5. Your goal will really impact the approach you take.
For example, if you’re hoping in three months you can quit your day job, it’ll be easier to make sacrifices to work on your side hustle.
On the other hand, if you’re happy with your day job and are working on your side hustle for fun, you’ll likely get burnt out if you’re devoting 3 hours after work every night to your side project.
Piggybacking off the goal-setting step, you want to set boundaries. It’s so easy to get completely consumed by work and begin to feel burnt out. That’s why it’s important to know that you won’t work on Monday nights, for example.
This is a good time to talk to loved ones, too. You might be thrilled by the idea of holing yourself away every Saturday night to work on your project, whereas your significant other will be left bitter at the loss of date night.
Automate what you can
My favorite business-related word is automation. Basically, automation means you are able to run parts of your business on autopilot. No matter how much time you’re willing to devote to your side hustle, automating what can be automated allows you to free up time for more important tasks.
There are a lot of moving parts in an online business in automating as much as you can will allow you to focus your energy on what's most important.
Things to automate:
- Social media: Here at Teachable, we use a program called Edgar to automate our Twitter shares. Every week I spend maybe ten minutes inputting tweets, and yet we have dozens of pre written tweets go out each week. I don’t have to sit down and write those tweets, so I have time to spend writing blog posts like this one.
- Email monitoring: The best thing I ever did for myself was write copy-and-paste email responses to the most common questions I get. For my personal blog I get a lot of guest post requests, and instead of having to write out my response to each emailer, I can copy and paste my canned response. I also use Unroll.me to keep all of my promotional emails in one tab instead of distracting me throughout the day.
- Data backup: I remember in the days before Google Docs, your computer could crash and you’d lose everything you’d been working on if you weren’t meticulously saving. Working within programs that backup your data saves you time and headaches.
Outsource what you can
Balancing a full-time job with your side hustle gives you one unique advantage: You likely have more disposable income to help your side hustle take off. You could save it for a rainy day, or you could hire someone to help grow your business.
If you're looking for assistance in your online course business, you can hire a Teachable Expert to assist you. Our experts are freelancers (not Teachable employees) who have a portfolio of successes in their field of expertise.
There are also a lot of websites like Upwork that allow you to hire people to do the tasks that you don’t have time or energy for.
When it comes to running your online business, there are the things that only you can do (i.e. you’ve got a unique skill set your business needs) but then there's everything else. Every business has an inbox to monitor and social media channels to stay active on. Why not outsource those tasks?
If you’re spending 8 hours every week designing and creating promo graphics for social media, you can find someone else who can do just as good a job as you (if not better) and you’ll have 8 extra hours to devote to more important areas of your business.
Tasks to outsource:
- Email monitoring: During busy times, I’ve hired someone to monitor my inbox. They respond to emails that have an easy answer, and forward me emails that don’t.
- Graphic design: If you aren’t a natural born designer, it can require a lot of finessing to create graphics you’re happy with. Outsourcing can save you time and provide more beautiful results.
- Copywriting: Writing is some people’s jam, other people hate it. If you fall into the latter group, you can hire a ghostwriter to create copy for you, but you can still put your name on it.
Set dedicated working hours
If you’re serious about treating your side hustle like a business and helping it grow, consider setting up dedicated work hours and treat it like a second job that you’ll be held accountable for.
Personally, in addition to working at Teachable I have a blog. And everyone who knows me knows not to make plans with me on Sunday mornings because I’ll be writing or photographing or catching up on emails from 8-12.
You can decide that every Tuesday and Thursday you’ll work from 6-8, or cram all of your hours in on the weekend.
Of course, you’ll likely have to spare twenty minutes here and there for your business outside of the scheduled hours, but you can get the majority of the work out of the way during your “work time.”
The important thing here is to stick to the hours you set and really treat that time like you would a “real job.” If you cheat (even once!) it’ll be easier to cheat again and make excuses for bailing out on work.
You’d get fired if you didn’t show up to your 9-5 because you didn’t feel like it, so hold your passion project with the same regard.
Have a plan
The biggest thing I’ve learned balancing my blog and my job is that I can get 10x more done if I have a plan of attack.
Don’t just say, “I’m going to work for a bit on Sunday.” Instead, say, “I’m going to work for four hours this Sunday and accomplish X, Y, and Z by doing A an B.”
What stage are you at in your online business? Have you gone full-time, or are you still working a 9-5? Or maybe you're somewhere in between. Let us know in the comments!