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Balancing a day job and your own business

Discussion in 'Get productive' started by GlensWebDesign, Jul 2, 2014.

  1. GlensWebDesign

    GlensWebDesign Member

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    Here's one I'm interested to hear people chime in on

    I run a business part time as a freelance web designer and I have a full time day job. The day job is an office job. Nothing related to web design in the slightest.

    My day job start and end times vary week to week on these following sets...

    7am - 3:30pm (requires I wake up at 5am to there on time, shower, 2 trains)
    8am - 4:30pm (requires I wake up at 5:30am, shower, 2 trains)
    8:30am - 5pm (requires I wake up at 6pm, shower, 2 trains)

    By the time I get home I usually need to fit in 30-45 minutes of gym work
    Sometimes I pike on the gym, sometimes I dont

    And I find I only have so much "fuel" before I eventually hit a wall and need to get to bed

    Procrastination is the enemy mind you

    Question is this

    Anyone out there in a similar situation? what do you find to ensure you hit the floor running as soon as you get home from your day job and how to you best balance it so you do not burn out too soon before its due to hit the hay

    Im normally heading off the bed around 10pm-ish..... 10:30....sometimes its 11......
  2. LucasArthur

    LucasArthur Renowned Member

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    Howdy Glen

    Mate been a while since i have been in that boat, and bloody hell i tell you what the darn thing had a slow leak from day one.. and was doomed :)

    What i mean is that burning the candle at both ends can tear apart both efforts.. Work and Business.. Its the same time old adage of simply managing your time..

    When i worked (city corporate job) in the CBD i was required to start at 7ish and my days never ended til 6-7 and then was food or drinks with colleagues 2 or 3 days a week.. So not only did i have business commitments that were awkward to manage although i also have a family with 2 kids...

    My way of managing was a little unorthodox and suited my personal process.. I would work the day job, take lunch for myself or coffee for 15 minutes or so during the day and spend approx 45 minutes preparing what i needed to accomplish in my personal sphere once i got home.. As the business was more 'rewarding' for me and was certainly what i didnt want to falter, i tended to spend a few hours a night after dinner completing my erroneous tasks which tended to be from approx 8ish til 11.. I found once i started, as the work load was already planned ahead, i could accomplish in 2-3 hours what would normally take me considerably more if i was doing just the 1 job.. Hope that makes sense?

    In the end though, one had to give... it wasnt sustainable, i pushed for 2 or so years and then circumstances forced my hand of which i would never look back on..

    Look forward to others input, and not sure if that is what you wanted to hear or not.. but so be it :D

    Cheers
    Jason
  3. GlensWebDesign

    GlensWebDesign Member

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    Hey Jason

    Yeah funny you should say that about planning ahead and powering in just those 2-3 hours.

    I think thats what I might just do.... insteading of getting home from the day job and boom, straight onto the computer.

    Better to recharge a little... then check off each required thing for the night.

    They have this thing called the Pomodoro technique. You can get an app for it, pretty common. Like an oven timer, ticks for about 15 minutes, during that time, nothing but focused laser beam style work. Then bell goes off... 10 mins rest... repeat cycle until the work is done.

    More often than not though... the common misconception is I think when I DO procrastinate, its under the presumption subconsciously that it will take 8 hours when it actual fact once I have a plan and have rested from getting home BEFORE I start that it will in fact only take 2-3 hours.

    Good tip
    1 person likes this.
  4. angelarodgers

    angelarodgers Active Member

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    Hi Glen,

    As someone who has just launched the business this year, this is all very fresh in my memory.

    But I did it quite differently to you. Just last year I was working for another company, but it wasn't really where I wanted to go, so I made the decision to quit my job before Christmas, and see what happened after that. I toyed with the idea of starting a business and also applied for some jobs.

    Then my contacts started referring clients to me so I figured I should start my own business! So I was quite lucky to be able to devote my time to this fully from the beginning. I honestly don't know if I could have done it part time.

    One thing to note, though... it took awhile to reach the point where the business became profitable and viable. Luckily I had some savings to live off :).

    So without knowing your personal situation, I would say... if you've got some savings, just go for it. It will help you learn and grow MUCH more quickly and it will be doing something you are passionate about. It's higher risk, but you stand a lot more to gain than you do to lose, in my opinion, especially because your current job doesn't help you get more experience in web design.

    I like to look at the worst case scenario... for me, it was moving back in with my parents and borrowing a little money to stay afloat, then going to find a new job (albeit with a whole lot more experience under my belt!). Honestly, that's not too bad. And the best case scenario is to be living my dream, doing what I love from home.

    Hope this helps you see thing differently maybe?! :)

    Best of luck!

    Angela
  5. tomwhite

    tomwhite Member

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    Its an interesting question. I've used the Pomodoro technique and it really does work, and think if you focus on income generating activities (not busy work) you really can get a lot done in not much time.

    When I was in the same situation I would work in bursts, for a few days a week put in late nights and then take a few off so you don't get to the point where you feel like your business is another job you have to go to every night.
  6. MissSassy

    MissSassy Renowned Member

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    Hi Glen

    This is common for a lot of small business owners to have an overlap from employee to business owner.

    A balance will never occur - one will suffer to some degree

    Plan forward to when your exit can and will be as this will give you peace of mind for the growth of your business.
  7. Calcul8or

    Calcul8or Active Member

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    When I was in a similar position, I think the best advice anyone could have given me would have been to take the plunge. And many did.

    If the business idea is feasible, it will work, and you will scrape by until you're earning enough to feel respectable again. If it's not feasible, you'll crash and burn, dust yourself off and move on to the next challenge.

    Young folk these days have come up with the idea of "launching and failing fast", so you can reach success much quicker.

    Once I left the security of my fulltime job, there were plenty of very scary moments, where I had no idea where the next job was going to come from. And there still are. But now, I've worked out a strategy that seems to be working for now, so I'll keep going and see how far it takes me.

    Take the plunge. If it doesn't work out, put it behind you and make a beeline for the next big idea!

    All the best!
  8. Johny

    Johny Renowned Member

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    There is nothing you can do while sitting on the train?

    Even if it is just planning and plotting, or at least spend that as your procrastination time?
  9. Johny

    Johny Renowned Member

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    Very true.

    Unfortunately many of them don't spare a thought that sometimes their "fast failing" and moving on to the next half baked idea has the capacity to burn others occasionally.
  10. GlensWebDesign

    GlensWebDesign Member

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    All interesting points.

    I have thought about making the train trip productive.....have to give some of that some thought

    Not working until 8pm sounds intriguing... a break before getting stuck in sounds like a good idea.

    Working only part time on the business is a possibility too....though me being me, the temptation to just do the work to get it done with the promise of getting more done each week is too delicious not to think about :)

    And "the plunge". Ah yes, the plunge. My plan currently is to save half a years wage at the minimum given my personal circumstances financially... and then "take the plunge".
  11. PerfectNotes-Kathy

    PerfectNotes-Kathy Active Member

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    Hi Glen,

    The other thing that I can see that would help is to reorganise the gym time. Depending on what you do at the gym, you could think about getting off the train a couple of stops early and doing at least most of your workout on the way home. Maybe pack a pair of tracksuit pants in your bag so that you are not trying to run or stretch in a business suit, but this would mean that you could shave some time off your daily routine, letting you feel clear to work on the business earlier. Particularly combined with doing some planning/prep/initial work on the train, that should get you back some spare relax time to recharge the batteries.

    HTH
    Kathy
  12. topdog

    topdog Member

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    When I was where u are I got creative I did my own business setting up , work, etc in there time hahaha. I still did enough at the day job to fly under the radar and got to a point where I had a months worth of sick leave annual leave took it absolutely smashed what needed to be done on my business got a months worth of clients booked in and have never looked back . Just think of your dream use time wisely and you'll get there all the best
  13. Professor

    Professor Member

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    You need to develop a schedule, and stick to it. It's not difficult if you have the right mental capacity to be that entrepreneur you dream about. Each job creates a break from the other, but don't procrastinate and "just do it".

    In my 20s I had one full-time job (9-5), a morning cleaning job (6-8), an evening photography job at a pub/music venue (7-9), an evening cleaning job (9-9.30), rented a home and sublet the bedrooms, and studied two subjects at University. I earned 3 times what my full-time job paid and had a lot of fun, still having time for socialising.

    Some people are not cut out to be go-getters, whereas others can easily do what they want with a little effort. Just work out who you are and follow the most suitable strategy.
  14. help4bis.com

    help4bis.com Active Member

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    Reading this, makes me realize how "blessed" I am. I am one of those people who does not need much sleep. So my days are generally 20hrs :) (Yea yea I know).

    I was lucky enough to work in different industries early in my career, due to my qualifications and being at the right time at the right place. So, starting a consultancy company was pretty much a natural progression.

    After working 10yrs pretty much non-stop, hopping from one country to the other I had enough, wanted to slow down... Well that worked :). Now I still have the Business Consultancy, but added a Farm, and a help4bis company (this is where my passion is, as you might have noticed LOL), two kids and still time left over :).

    Not what you want to hear, but it is all about patterns and habits. Over time get up a bit earlier eg instead of 5 get up at 4. Try to get to bed earlier...the hours before midnight count double... an old man once told me... it is true... :).

    I found that if I do some work in the morning and hit a problem, by the time I get back from my "day job" I had found a solution (the brain is a funny thing) yet it would have kept me awake (determined to find a solution) would I have had the same situation after my "day job".

    Set times for set things, family has priority, but like everything there is a pattern and once you know that you can set time aside for that.

    Just my 2 cents, does not work for everybody though :).
  15. Qinnie(OzFairTrade)

    Qinnie(OzFairTrade) Member

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    Hi I'm in a similar situation, managing a full time job and a start up ecommerce based charity. I use my iPad mini a lot throughout the day whenever I have small breaks to reply to emails, research, improve website, post to social media etc. There are lots of useful apps now to dramatically improve productivity and allows you to work on your business from anywhere and at anytime. I would also make use of exercise time to multitask. I often watch useful TED videos while I'm on my exercise bike.

    It's hard work, but the end result is totally worth it. Good luck!
  16. Luke Jones

    Luke Jones Member

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    I have a ton of respect for everyone who is able to manage (not balance) working full-time in a 9 to 5 job then moonlight with their own project. I tried this for a very brief period but was unable to keep up the required schedule. The closest situation for me was doing almost full-time study while working full-time. The only way to balance friends, family, work and study was to pick three of the four. Sticking to a strict, no excuses, schedule is also critical.
  17. markgrogan

    markgrogan Member

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    Life is pretty tough but at the same time very rewarding too I must say. People always say you have 24 hours a day so you need to make time and not always repeat that you do not have any of it. Sometimes it is indeed pretty much easier to say it than to get it done. People are not in our shoes, so they do not fully understand our situation. Nevertheless, for me I manage my storage facility by day then by night I squeeze in any other forms of errands or hobbies in between and sacrifice 1 to 2 hours of sleep. I think at my age I can do with that little bit off my hay schedule.
  18. lookbizy

    lookbizy Member

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    Hi Glen

    My routine at the moment is to get up at 5am to punch out a couple of hours on my side project. Then i go to work, do a gym session at lunch, get back to work again then go home. I'll usually finish the night with an hour or two on the side project then clock off.

    Hope that helps - I find the early wake up is key.

    Joel

    www.lookbizy.com
  19. tonyk

    tonyk Renowned Member

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    A good technique worth considering is breaking down work into two hour blocks and then taking a 30-minute nap. It proved to be effective for Davinci.
  20. MD Clean

    MD Clean Active Member

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    I think your 6 months income before you fly solo is a very good idea - maybe even extend it to 12 months or more - the more you have, the lower the risk of ruin.

    I hate to be the naysayer here but when employed, I always gave 100% for the money I earned and made sure that I did earn it.

    I had an extremely busy job and a side project for about 5 years before going in a very different direction.

    For me, the job was the priority and the side project came a very clear second.

    I definitely found myself working on the side project for extended period in moments of inspiration, or when I felt particularly energetic, then laid off when I needed a rest.

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