Are you working full-time and trying to start a coaching business on the side? It’s exciting to think about leaving your doldrum job to launch a business that is meaningful and purposeful. But launching a business takes a fair amount of creative thinking, strategic planning and hard work to implement. How do you juggle the demands of work and make time to start your business?
I’ll share my 6 top tips today – and a link to other tips in my previous episode on this topic.
Starting a side hustle is pretty common. In September 2022, ABC Australia stated that more than ever, Australians are creating ‘side hustle businesses’, with a record 167,646 new businesses in the 2020/21 financial year.
Of those, more than 80% were sole traders, where people were monetizing a hobby.
What we know is that trying to juggle full-time work and a side hustle that becomes your part or full-time gig is stressful, time-consuming and can lead to burnout. Even if you’re a health and wellness coach with all the tools to stay resilient, we all have the same amount of time and are subject to pressure, stress and overwhelm that gets in the way of starting a business.
I’ve had several conversations in the past four weeks with coaches who are facing very busy periods and finding themselves stalling and procrastinating about their business.
Some of you are listening. I hear the stress in your voice. I hear the despair and the frustration and the ‘two steps forward, one step back.’
I understand that when the pressure of your job and life get too great, you can’t achieve your business startup goals and you feel despondent and start to doubt yourself.
So how do you make the transition a bit easier?
This might seem obvious but if you commit yourself to starting your business then you’ll find the motivation, persistence and grit you need to succeed.
If you have a ‘let’s try and see how it goes’ attitude, you will probably lack the commitment you need to make it work. Half-hearted attitudes get half-baked results.
You need to commit to yourself that you will start a business and make it work in order to visualise what it will look like, why it matters, and identify the critical path and related goals to get there.
My clients talk a lot about needing space. So my first tip is to start by giving yourself a distraction-free, special place to create, brainstorm, plan and get immersed into your business.
Make it pretty, compartmentalised, and appealing so that it feels like a sanctuary where you can do great work.
Further, make sure you have that same separation in your business tools. A unique email address. A unique Dropbox folder or Google profile.
And set up a specific planner with all your tasks listed so that when you arrive in your special place, you open up your business-specific stuff and know exactly what to do, without distraction.
When I was in my late teens I started an exercise book where I could jot down all my crazy ideas. The front cover says Crazy Ideas in big letters.
The function of this idea diary is to get all the stuff out of your head and onto paper so it doesn’t swirl around in there and create a big pile of things that you feel you have to remember, and so that you can sort through it later and weed out all the good ideas that are realistic and achievable.
This is so important if you’re working full time, because you have a thousand other things in your head, and it’s disappointing to lose a good idea and stressful to try and hang onto them in your head. It can create tension, overwhelm and fear of forgetting things so you end up ruminating in order to try to remember everything.
The ideas diary is amazing. Carry it around with you to get all that good stuff out of your head and make sure you capture it all. Later you can review and refine your ideas.
The act of writing it down is also important to avoid acting impulsively in the moment and heading off into uncharted waters that go nowhere. Often, what seems like a good idea in the heat of the moment often ends up being trash – but you don’t see that at the time and it can be tempting to just take action due to time limitations, without really considering if these ideas have merit.
When you revisit your diary you can weed out the great ones. Sometimes there are even learnings in the crazy ones.
Do this and you’ll get better at decision-making, evaluating ideas, and choosing a focused, realistic and workable path.
When you start a business outside of a paid job, you have small windows of time to generate ideas and concepts for your business. In that time-limited situation, it’s easy to fall into the trap of second-guessing your ideas and doubting whether they are sane and realistic, simply because you don’t have the time to fully explore evaluate and stress test your ideas.
That’s why the ideas diary is important.
But further, when you have great ideas, don’t keep them secret – start sharing snippets of them with people you know. Friends, business associates, colleagues, and potential clients. Get their feedback.
Each little snippet of feedback helps you validate your ideas and see different perspectives.
When I have an idea, I always run it past at least two people to gauge their reaction. Often, the positive response helps me to feel invigorated about my business. Any neutral feedback allows me to re-evaluate my ideas.
Here’s one example – podcast topics. If I’ve run out of ideas, I might brainstorm a few and ask people for opinions on whether that’s of interest and why. Or I might even ask someone else for suggestions!
Your business is a living, evolving thing that requires constant attention, thought and iteration. If you’re constantly working late, putting other people first, doing things you don’t want to do for someone else’s sake, or taking on too much, then your business will suffer.
It’s important to both schedule dedicated time for your business, and to also protect the time you set aside to work on your business so that you give it the attention it needs and so you can achieve the goals you set for yourself.
Creating boundaries also applies to carving out not-negotiable time to see clients if you are in a service-based business.
The saying goes, it’s no good rowing hard if you are heading in the wrong direction.
It’s so relevant to your business, especially if you have limited time and are trying to keep moving forward despite everything else.
You will absolutely move forward if you are focused on one or two things, you can more easily set realistic and achievable goals and actually succeed.
The 5-4-3-2-1-90-30 planning process I use with my clients is a testament to how focused outcome goals create clear action steps that are easily achieved.
Just last week, one of my clients finished a 5-month block with me and she mentioned how much more she got done because she had clearly identified her focus areas for that time.
She felt good because she’d set and achieved goals, and we’d celebrated them.
It’s not rocket science, and it works if you are consistent with it.
Having a business is exciting but it takes a lot of time and energy, especially if you are working full-time and building the business on the side.
Today’s six tips; creating commitment, creating a special workplace, using an ideas diary, refreshing your ideas and mind, creating boundaries, and setting focused and achievable goals, are a simple formula to help you get your business ticking along in the background in a focused and efficient way that is both energizing and rewarding.
Which of these tips will you try first?
Other episodes on this topic include:
Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.
Learn more here: