Mar 252014


Build a business while holding a day job

I received a beautiful e-mail from a reader who is building her business this week. She described her vision for her  business which was so clear and inspiring. She also spoke of her struggle to find the energy to build a business while holding a day job.

She’s not alone. So many of you want to build a business building a business while still holding a full-time job. You need the job to pay the bills, and yet the job is killing all the energy you have to build a business that will set you free. The less you work on your business the more days, months and even years you have to spend in your full time job. It’s catch-22.

I wanted to share with you a few strategies to help you create more time and energy to build a business that will set you free

1. Use your best time for your business

When are you at your most focused, productive and creative? Is it early morning, lunchtime or afternoon? Or perhaps you’re a night owl.

How are you currently spending this time? Most people who are at their best in the morning spend it checking e-mails. Those who are at their best in the evening spend it watching TV. This is a huge a waste of brain power. This time needs to be spent on your most creative and challenging work if you want to make the most of your abilities.

So instead of waiting till the end of the day to work on your business, find out when you’re at your best and work on your business then.

A friend of mine wrote an entire PHD using this tactic. He would wake up an hour earlier and spend that hour writing. Within a year his PHD was complete. Did I mention that he has 2 kids and runs a global, award-winning business? He does.

If you can’t possibly wake up earlier than you do, could you negotiate a later start at work? If you peak at lunchtime, how about spending half of that time working on your business?

2. Get into the right frame of mind

If you’re a night owl, and your best time IS after work consider getting into the right mindset before you start work by using some of the following tips.

–       Leave your favourite tasks right till the end of your workday.

Working on something you enjoy gives you a sense of satisfaction and boosts your energy. Leaving work in this state will make it easier to work on your business when you get home.

–       Think of 5 things you’re proud of having accomplished that day.

This is a great way to give you a boost of confidence and energy. Do this on your journey home. Besides making you feel good, this strategy will also stop you from ruminating from all the things that went wrong during the day, which is a complete energy sucker.

–       Spend 10 minutes meditating when you get home.

Meditation has been shown to improve depression, reduce stress and even increase creativity. Read a good article about this here. Take 10 minutes to meditate before working on your business and you will be rewarded with more energy, clarity, creativity and focus.

3. Use micro-actions

This tactic is so brilliant it deserves (and will have) a whole post dedicated to it. In the meantime here’s a quick summary of what it is and how it helps.

Usually the biggest barrier to getting something done is starting it. The enormity of the task is off-putting and so you keep avoiding it.

Consider telling yourself you will only work on a particular task for 10 minutes. That’s all. Sit down and start, with the intention of stopping in 10 minutes’ time.

After 10 minutes, you can decide whether you wish to stop or keep going. It’s OK to stop if you feel like stopping. Do this every day and by the end of the week you’ll still have at least a whole focused hour that you’ve spent working on your business.

Chances are you’ll find that you’ve spent more than 10 minutes each day on your task. Once you’ve broken the ‘starting’ barrier it’s easier to get into flow. For this tactic to work, don’t punish yourself for actually stopping after 10 minutes. Instead celebrate that you’ve spent 10 more minutes building your business.

To make the most of this tactic make sure you have a clear idea of the task you want to work on and the action you will take before you start.

4. Create a habit

Habits are extremely powerful in that once they’re formed you tend to do them on autopilot. While it takes time and practice to create a habit, once a habit is formed you’ve literally hit a home run. You’ll have no more resistance to doing the habit. It becomes as easy as making that hot brew in the morning (which by the way is another habit).

Regardless of which strategy you choose, work on making it a habit.

Try to create one habit at a time. Less is definitely more when it comes to this. Do too much at once and you’ll get overwhelmed and give up.

A great piece of advice from Leo Babauta of zenhabits is this: Don’t miss two straight days. Leo suggests that if you do miss a day, treat it as “emergency status”. Let all sorts of alarm bells ring in your head and make sure you practice the habit the next day. You can read the full article here.

So there you are, 6 practical tactics you can use to help you find the energy to build a business while holding a day job. Which one will you choose? What other strategies have worked for you? Leave your thoughts in the comments box below.

Here’s to making a living AND a difference doing what you love

photo credit: kern.justin via photopin cc

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  3 Responses to “6 tactics to build a business while holding a day job”

  1. your advise has helped me take the plunge and do something I enjoy, when I feel overwhelmed micro tactics are genius!!

  2. Micro-actions really do work! I’ve been working at getting together quilts and projects to start a sewing business. Some days it’s daunting because there are so many projects I want to make! If I go into my sewing space with the intention of working for fifteen minutes, I almost always end up sewing for hours and getting a lot done. Thank you for posting this today!

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