The trend of side hustles is not going away any time soon. According to a recent survey by Zapier, 40% of Americans currently have side businesses — up from about 34% in December 2020.
Without a doubt, starting your own business while still employed is becoming the norm. If you’re considering hopping on this trend and becoming an entrepreneur, here are some tips to help you get started.
Thoughtfully Prioritize Your Time
If you have an exciting business idea but your full-time job takes up most of your time, don’t fret. You can still make your entrepreneurial dream come true if you prioritize your time.
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Start by looking at your full-time work schedule and figuring out when you can fit in chunks of dedicated and uninterrupted time to focus on the tasks required to get the business off the ground. Also, consider using a time management app like Toggl Track to keep track of how much time you’re investing in tasks related to both your job and business. That way, you’ll know exactly where your energy is going — and ensure your new venture gets enough attention.
Set SMART Goals for Your Business
Working a main job and running a business on the side can be unsustainable if you don’t have a plan. So, before attempting to test the waters with a new venture, get as strategic as you can by setting SMART goals for your business. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.
- Specific: What exactly are you planning to do?
- E.g.: I will re-design and launch my website by Dec. 1.
- Measurable: How will you know if you’re achieving your goal?
- E.g.: I’ll accomplish this goal by hiring two competent graphic designers and one web programmer from Upwork.
- Achievable: How will you implement the goal?
- E.g.: I’ll implement the goal by working on my website and collaborating with the freelancers for five hours a week.
- Relevant: Does the goal connect to your overall objectives?
- E.g.: Revamping my business’s website design will better showcase my products and improve user experience.
- Timely: When will you achieve the goal by?
- E.g.: I’ll achieve this goal by Dec. 1, which means I’ll have two months (around 40 hours) to revamp my website.
Outsource Small Business Tasks If Needed
If you’re running your own business while working a 9-to-5 job, things could get hectic. You could avoid spreading yourself too thin by outsourcing tasks like website design, email marketing, social media marketing or invoicing. Remember to start by outsourcing tasks you’re not particularly good at or don’t enjoy doing. That way, you can focus 100% of your energy on the things you do best.
Upwork and Fiverr are both popular sites where you can find talented freelancers offering digital services in areas like UX design, copywriting and photography. Before diving head first into outsourcing your work, make sure the service provider is a good fit for your project by reading customer reviews so you know what kind of results to expect.
Build an Emergency Fund
Having a financial cushion to fall back on if things don’t turn out as expected can be a lifesaver when starting a business from scratch. So, if you plan on eventually leaving your 9-to-5 job to become a full-time business owner, set aside a portion of your paycheck or business income into an emergency fund every month.
Most financial experts recommend putting aside at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses to build a cushy emergency fund. To reach this savings goal, consider using a budgeting app like Mint or Personal Capital to keep tabs on your spending, track your monthly bills and categorize your expenses.
Don’t Give Yourself Too Much Pressure
Running a business is challenging enough without another full-time job on top of it, so if you’re attempting to juggle both, don’t be too hard on yourself. By taking it one step at a time and setting concrete goals, you’ll avoid burning yourself out and giving up on your dream. Remember, successes don’t always happen overnight, so bask in those small wins and give yourself some love along the journey.
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