Today I am here to give you a list of 10 things you need to know if you are trying to build a business while working full time.
Now, you’re probably wondering who am I and why you should listen to me. About five years ago, I was trying to get my own side hustle going by creating a portfolio of websites. While I was doing that, I was still working full time, busting my butt after hours, and trying to figure out how to make it work.
A lot of people have been asking me about this lately, so I thought I would write a post about it. Here I have outlined 10 different things that you need to know while you’re going through this process.
That being said, let’s go ahead and get started.
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1) Keep Your Job
Number one is that you need to keep your job while you do this. If not your job, then you need to do consulting or something like that. Most people say this is crazy, but the reason I suggest it is that you need to have finances coming into your bank account while you’re starting your business.
If you don’t, your back is going to be up against a wall and you’re most likely going to make some bad decisions for the sake of making money, as opposed to growing your business for the future.
I was really lucky when I went full time because I had some consulting work from my previous employer. I asked them if they’d be interested, and thankfully they said yes. That way, I was able to make some money while I was building my business after I left my full-time job.
2) Use Your Time Wisely
Number two is that you have to use your time wisely. There are only 24 hours in a day. If you break that down, you have eight hours of sleep and roughly nine hours of work/commute, leaving you with seven hours left over.
What are you doing with those seven hours? Are you watching Netflix or Hulu? There are some great shows there, but that’s not the best use of your time.
If you’re going to hang out with your family, I understand that. But the reality is, you’re going to have to sacrifice something in order to make this succeed.
Sleep could be one of those things, but that’s negotiable. You really need to be able to sleep, so I think you should look at your schedule every day and figure out what you’re doing that you could probably cut out. Instead of using that time to do whatever you were doing, you need to focus on your business.
When I was going through the process of starting my business while working full time, I had an hour commute to and from work. During that time, I listened to podcasts. They are incredibly powerful. They will teach you so much information in such a short period of time. There aren’t many things you can do while you’re driving, but podcasts are a good use of your time.
3) Get Something Done Every Day
Number three is to focus on one small thing every single day. I call this the “One Small Thing” method. It’s pretty simple; every single day of the week, Monday-Sunday, get something done.
If you get something done every day, then by the end of the week, you’ve now done seven small things that add up to one big thing. Over time, you’re going to realize that all these small things are going to make big achievements.
If you complete 365 things each year, you’re actually getting pretty far along. Plus, on the weekends you’re probably going to complete more than one small thing. You’re going to probably complete a lot. Just make sure you stay consistent and keep your eyes on the ball.
Each small thing should take about an hour. An hour a day really isn’t too much, but you will get momentum going and your business will start moving forward.
4) Outsource Your Tasks
Number four is to outsource your tasks. The number one thing that drives me nuts is when people aren’t willing to outsource. The thing you need to realize is that, whatever you’re really good at—whether it’s writing, speaking, sales, video editing, or social media—there are other people who are better than you, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
If they’re not better than you, you could probably hire someone fairly cheaply and train them to be just as good. Eventually, they might even become better than you.
You need to do this in order to buy back your time, because your time is limited right now. You have to think of it as an investment in your business rather than an expense.
When you spend $50 on a video editor or something like that, you’re not just throwing away money. You are hiring someone to do a task that would have taken time out of your day to complete.
This is what I always say: when you’re on your death bed and your family is gathered around you, you’re not going to look up at them and say, “Man, I really wish I had posted more social media posts,” or, “I really wish I had edited more videos.” No, you’re not going to say that.
What you’re going to say is, “I wish I had more time.” That’s what everyone wants on this earth—more time. Outsourcing allows you to buy that time.
5) Choose Your Business Model Carefully
Number five is to choose your business model carefully. The thing is, you need to be able to build a business that you can do while working a full-time job.
Personally, I have chosen to create a portfolio of websites and I now make about $25,000 in revenue every month. I’m making way more than I ever could have with anything else.
The reason it went so well is that it’s passive and doesn’t require me to always be on top of the business. If you are opening a storefront or something like that, it might be a different story unless you hire someone to help.
Make sure you choose a business model that works with your schedule and fits with what your end goals are. If you’re looking at passive types of things, you’ll want to consider a website, or a YouTube channel.
A great place to get started is on my homepage, where you can read “The Truth About Online Business,” which I wrote about things I’ve learned. You can also get a free mini-course there, which is really helpful if you’re interested in understanding how to build a website.
6) Patience Is Critical
Number six is really important. That is, patience is critical. Overnight success isn’t real, so don’t fall for that trap. Don’t think success is something you’re going to achieve right away because you’re not going to.
It’s likely you’re going to fail more than once, and that’s okay. I did it, and every successful entrepreneur out there has done it. Overnight success is something that the impatient are striving for and realistically, it’s probably not going to happen to you.
What I usually say is, focus on your project for a full year before stopping. If you’re going to start tomorrow, that’s great, but give yourself 365 days to focus on that as much as you possibly can in order to succeed. If you don’t do that, you’re going to end up hitting some type of speed bump and you’re going to stop.
Don’t be that person. Know that you have to give it patience, and know that you have to give it a full year before you adjust your strategy or end up quitting altogether.
7) Get Excited About Momentum
Number seven is to get excited about momentum. I used to compare myself to others out there getting 100, 5,000, 10,000 people a day visiting their website and I couldn’t do that when I was just getting started.
The thing I got excited about was seeing that one week I got 100 in traffic, the next week I got 150, and the week after, 175. I liked seeing a positive swing in momentum.
The reality is, when you’re starting a business you’re not going to get a lot of people coming through the doors right away. In the beginning, it’s not going to blow the doors off the place, and you’re not going to get many sales.
Though it takes time to build that foundation, the good news is that the sky is the limit after that. In the beginning, just get excited about momentum because that’s really all you’re going to have.
8) Use Your Disdain For Your Job/Boss as a Motivator
Number eight—and this was huge for me—use your disdain for your work or for your boss as a motivator. I can’t stress this enough.
To be honest, I didn’t really dislike my boss. The thing that really killed me was the commute to and from work, and having to answer to other people—not just my boss, but pretty much anyone.
It wasn’t something that I enjoyed, so if I had a bad day at work, you know what I was doing? I was putting in four to five hours while working from home on my own business.
Sure, I was tired at the end of the day, but I’d motivate myself anyway. Every time I wanted to stop, I thought, “Well, if I stop today I’m not going to get to that end point of being able to work for myself.”
So, if you have a bad day at work, awesome, use it as fuel. Take the time to get upset about it and get angry about it, but then go home and work your butt off to try to create your own business.
If you use this strategy, then the more bad days you have at work, the more you’re going to work harder and faster on your own business.
Number nine is sacrifice. It’s not comfortable, and not something you like to do, but you have to do it.
When I was transitioning from my full-time job to working on my websites, I moved to a really nasty apartment. I mean, it wasn’t the worst thing in the world, and I shouldn’t be that dramatic about it, but I legitimately had cardboard boxes as tables. My wife still laughs about that.
I barely had any furniture at all. I had one chair (that was one of those gravity chairs) and a blow-up mattress. But I didn’t care.
I was lucky in that I didn’t have a family and I was able to make that sacrifice, but I literally lived that lifestyle because none of that mattered to me. The thing that mattered to me was the success of my business. To this day, that is still a very high priority on my list.
There’s nothing better than being able to work for yourself and create your own schedule, so you need to sacrifice. However, I’m not a big believer in people saying, “You should only sleep five hours a night.” I think you need sleep to recharge, but if you do lose an hour of sleep here and there, that’s okay. Just don’t overdo it, as sleep is essential.
In addition to that, you need to have fewer evenings focused on TV or Netflix, and more evenings focused on your business. Use the time that you’re normally unproductive to do some great stuff.
Also, remember to downsize. If you have savings and you’re doing okay, that’s great. I had savings, and a nice condo in the Chicago area, but I was like, “You know what? I have to downsize to make this work.” My bills were just too high, so I moved to that apartment.
Make those sacrifices and downsize your life if you have to, in order to temporarily reduce your bills. After your business grows, you can absolutely go big again and live the life that you want to live.
10) Do Something You’re Passionate About
And finally, number 10. This is not a requirement, but I think when you’re first starting a business, you need to do something you’re passionate about.
The reason I say this about your first business venture is that there are going to be a lot of days when it sucks. It’s going to be really tough, you’re going to want to tear your hair out and quit. But there’s no reason to do this.
If you’re passionate about something, then when you get that inclination of quitting you’re going to say, “No.” For me, I’m passionate about helping people. Some days one part of me wants to quit on one of the websites I’ve created, but the other part of me says, “No, you can’t quit because there are a lot of people who are looking for this help.”
That’s what motivates me way beyond the idea of eventually making money. You may not be doing a website yourself, but whatever business you do, find that higher reason for doing it so you’ll be motivated and passionate about it.