The idea of starting your own business can be daunting, especially if you already have a full-time job. But just because you’re juggling a busy schedule with work and family life, it’s not always an excuse to say you “don’t have time” to pursue your dreams—you might have more time and energy than you realize.
Starting a business while working full-time is definitely possible, but it will likely require you to rearrange your life, make some tough choices, and (temporarily) give up some things you want in the short-term to achieve what you want most in the long-term.
Gary Vaynerchuk is a successful entrepreneur, social media guru, and venture investor. In 2008, he gave the TED talk Do What You Love, No Excuses, which, almost eight years later, still contains great advice for new entrepreneurs. Among Vaynerchuk’s many inspiring talking points is one particularly valuable lesson for people who want to start a business while working a day job—change the way you use your time. Here’s how:
Stop watching TV.
According to several studies, American adults watch an average of five hours of TV per day—that’s almost a full work day. So what if you could radically reduce your TV time to one hour per day, or maybe even zero? You would have many more hours available to devote to your business and you can start turning that couch potato time into money.
Avoid your family and friends.
It might sound harsh, but it’s true—if you want to start a business, you’re going to have to spend a lot of time working on it by yourself. You may need to talk with your significant other or family to prepare them for the possibility that you’re going to be busy or absent more often than usual. Or warn your friends that you’re going to be unavailable for a while because you’re working on a really important new project. You may even need to spring for extra childcare or order takeout more often to help free up more of your time. While you certainly shouldn’t cut off all contact with the important people in your life, give yourself permission to be a hard-working hermit for as long as it takes to get your business up and running.
Work a second shift.
If you already have a day job, working on your business is your “second job” and you should treat it that way. Give yourself a fixed set of hours each day where you work on your business, even if it’s late at night or early in the morning—your passion for your business will help keep you awake.
Commit to long-term success.
Just as you have to work hard to earn a degree or learn the ropes at a new job, starting a business has its own unique learning curve. You might need to make some serious short-term sacrifices to pursue your business, such as working an extra 20–30 hours per week on top of your regular 40-hour-a-week day job. It might mean staying at home on weekends—instead of going to movies or concerts or sporting events—and not seeing your friends for awhile. There’s also a chance that you’ll have to cut back on your budget and go without vacations, new clothes, or other comforts in order to invest more time and money in your business. But these short-term sacrifices will pay off in the end.
Another way to save time and boost the success of your new business is to lighten your workload by outsourcing tasks to professionals, like the ones available to you on Fiverr. As a business owner, you need to maximize every hour of your day by doing the work that is most essential. So hire a web developer to create your site, get help from a graphic designer to make an eye-catching logo, and find professional writers to craft the right words in brochures and press releases to explain your business’s value proposition to customers and investors. Whatever help you need to get your business up and running, you can find it—but you have to be willing to ask for help and to rely on the expertise of these dedicated freelance professionals.
So while you’ve probably been telling yourself that you’re too busy to start a business, you likely have more time than you realize. Not everyone is cut out for it—most people don’t want to work incredibly hard or sacrifice certain comforts in order to build their own company. But entrepreneurs are willing to live in a way that most people refuse to, in order to have a life that most people cannot imagine. And when you eventually have a successful business that lets you live the life you want, all those short-term sacrifices and late nights will be well worth it.
Do you have any tips for building your business while maintaining a day job? Tell us in the comments below!