Plenty of entrepreneurs need a steady stream of income to get a business off the ground, and many lenders require proof of a paycheck before they will fund a startup business. Great entrepreneurs know that nothing is worse than having unpaid bills, so keep that full-time job income until your business is ready to pay your salary.
So how does one get a business started while punching the clock at a full-time job? Use these six time management tips to launch your business with a solid foundation.
1. Ask for Help
Are there household tasks like cooking, shopping, cleaning, laundry, or childcare that are getting in the way of starting your business? If you’ve got a family, then ask your partner or kids to shoulder more chores so you can free up some time. If family can’t help, consider using a little bit of your paycheck to hire some help so you have more time to devote to your business.
When it comes to business tasks, put that paycheck to work by outsourcing your weaknesses. Pay a virtual assistant or a bookkeeper to take care of those tasks that you aren’t passionate about or especially good at.
2. Eliminate Media Consumption
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2013, the average American watched almost three hours of television per day. Even if you aren’t watching TV every day, what other media consumption can you reduce or eliminate?
From newspapers, magazines, and the internet, most people have some form of media they could cut back on to free up time to work on starting a business.
3. Adapt a Long-Game Mindset
It’s easy to feel impatient when you’ve got one foot in each world: your day job and your startup business. You want to hurry up and become a raging success already so you can quit your job. However, building a strong business foundation takes time, and quitting your day job prematurely can cut off access to vital resources. It’s wise to pace yourself and your business so that you make consistent, steady progress, as opposed to burning the candle at both ends and watching your ability to perform at either task go up in flames.
The mindset to adapt for long-term success: consistent and steady progress. Dedicate a chunk of time every day to work on your business so that you can achieve stable, reliable growth and forward momentum without burning out.
4. Prioritize Money Making Tasks
It’s likely you have a long to-do list, and each item is competing for your attention. In order to succeed, eliminate activities that might be nice to do, but that don’t drive dollars toward your bottom line. When you feel overwhelmed, allow money-generating tasks to inform your business priorities. After all, if your business doesn’t make money, it won’t succeed.
5. Negotiate a Revised Schedule With Your Boss
If your business could benefit by gaining time away from the office while still meeting the demands of your full-time job, then consider reducing or shifting the hours your spend at your job. When pitching a schedule change to your boss, frame the time shift as a benefit to him or her, rather than coming from the perspective of what advantages you’re going to get out of it.
6. Work on Your Business Early in the Morning
According to the book Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy F. Baumeister, PhD and John Tierney, willpower tends to be strongest in the morning, and it wanes as the stressors of the day wear on us. It stands to reason that completing tasks associated with your business early in the morning before heading to your day job is the best way to ensure they get done. Otherwise, it’s too easy to put them off and let your business slide.
Even those who identify as night owls can adjust to an early-to-bed, early-to-rise schedule. You can reset your circadian rhythm by manipulating light cues and gradually waking earlier each day.
Launching a business can be exciting and rewarding, but it takes time and momentum in order to ensure success. It’s a smart strategy to transition slowly away from full-time work, rather than losing your safety net before you’re ready. In the meantime, use these tips to manage your schedule to get it all done.