This time of year is always a time to reflect and plan ahead. Some businesses are very busy, while others are less so as the silly season comes upon us. All routines tend to go out the window. Planning ahead tends to happen only after the New Year festivities are over, so take a little time for yourself in early January to think about what you want to be known for in 2019, and ask yourself the following questions:
December can be a crazy month for most business owners, but can also be a quiet time for some, time to reflect on what the year brought to the table, and a time to plan for the new year and all that is to come. It’s a good time to see how you can improve things in your business, perhaps automate certain areas of your business that take up your time, or delegate tasks to others in your team or to a virtual assistant.
You might think you can tackle all the ups and downs that entrepreneurship has to offer, but there will be times that something personal will impact your business; a family emergency, a bereavement, an illness or suffering a setback from an opportunity that you’d hoped would take your business to the next level.
Lots of people dream of being their own boss, dream of having more time to work on their own projects, work with people they want to serve, and have the flexibility in their day that the 9 to 5 can’t give them. The transition from full time employee to entrepreneur can be a challenge and requires some forward planning to avoid overwhelm or exhaustion at the early stages of your business.
There has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur. But when starting out in business, it can be tough to be the little fish in the big pond. The questions arise in your mind ‘Who is going to want what I offer?’, ‘What if I can’t help the client enough when they pay for my services?’, ‘Who am I to think I’m an expert?’.
So many entrepreneurs think they have to be able to do everything in their business. But focusing on the one or two things you’re good at means you turn up in your business ‘zone of genius’. This zone is where you combine your top talents and strengths with your purpose – it’s incredibly powerful when you are fully committed to it.
Sometimes you need to create the ideal dream job, the one that ticks all the boxes for you, the one that lets you be as creative or fulfilled in your daily working life as you want. It may be that your dream job is one that you have to seek outside of the normal 9 to 5, one that can’t be pigeonholed into a traditional role.
Whether you want to find a new job, set up your own business venture while working full time, or even something more personal like saving money or losing weight, it can be hard to find the time to organise and set daily goals to get you closer to the end result. Creating new daily habits that move you towards that goal can really help.
While many of us think of our business as our ‘baby’, this can be detrimental to how we make our business work. Being emotional around your business can make it difficult to see where the pitfalls are, or the areas that are not working for you.
So you are busy juggling and managing and balancing all the different areas of your life, and you are trying to get some spare time in your day to work on your side business.
What are the best ways to get this done without compromising any of the other things you need to get done in your day, the full time job, the kids (or pets or partner), hobbies (things you need for a work life balance), and time to relax and unwind at the end of the day.
Sometimes you need to create the ideal dream job, the one that ticks all the boxes for you, the one that lets you be as creative or fulfilled in your daily working life as you want. It may be that your dream job is one that you have to seek outside of the normal 9 to 5, one that can’t be pigeonholed into a traditional role. You might already have some ideas about what you like to do in your alternative entrepreneurial career, things that have been brewing in the back of your mind for a long time. So how do you turn your side business into that dream career?
1. Start Small: If you plan to develop your side business to see if it’s a viable option outside of the 9 to 5 cubicle, starting small will help you see if it’s just going to stay as a hobby or if it has legs to grow and develop into something more. If you want to write a book, start it as a blog; if you want to be website or graphic designer, try working on websites for family and friends in exchange for testimonials and referrals, if you want to start a bakery or cafe, start selling your products at the local farmers market. Starting small will give you the confidence to take those baby steps towards a fully fledged business.
2. Find your Flow: Find your most productive time or your ‘flow’ each day and time aside to work on your business, keeping you motivated and focused on the tasks in hand. If you are an early bird, get up 30 minutes earlier than usual to work on your business idea, otherwise do 30 minutes in the evening instead of bingeing on Netflix!
3. Focus! You might only have 20-30 minutes in your day to work on your side business, so make them count! The night before, see where your laser focused session is (perhaps lunchtime or after you put the kids to bed or walked the dog) and work out what you can get done in that space of time. Having 2-3 small goals each day will really make a difference to getting your side business up and running in a short space of time.
4. Network! Telling people about what you plan to do with your business idea is the quickest way to get the word out there. Meeting new people through Meetup groups, business networking events like BNI, Network Ireland, local Chamber of Commerce events will help you meet with like minded people who can refer your business to others or link you up with potential partners, prospective clients, and get your name out there.
5. Don’t get overwhelmed: Setting up a side business can take time and effort, especially if you are working a full time role as well as family commitments and hobbies to boot! Be realistic in what you can get done in the small pockets of time you have. Keep the goals realistic and if you have a bad day (or a bad week!), take time out for a day or two to recharge and start again.
6. Take Action! Nothing will come of your business idea if you don’t take action and focus on why you are spending time on this venture in the first place. Working on your goals in a manageable means every day is a step closer to creating the type of career you want, on your own terms.
7. Experiment! Not every idea will be one that can be a full time business in time. You may feel that it’s best kept as a hobby but don’t be downhearted, it’s better to find out early on in the process that it’s not going to work, instead of spending lots of time researching and over-analysing the ins and outs of the side business. Moving on to the next idea might be the better option, you never know, it could be the one that you enjoy working on the most.
If you feel that the traditional job is not for you, then it’s worth spending some time exploring what it is you really want to do outside the 9 to 5. Because the other option is to spend the rest of your life in roles that don’t challenge you, keep you interested or allow you to make a difference.
So what have you got to lose by experimenting with ideas that could turn into your dream business?
If you'd like some help with this, I offer a 30 minute Profit Plan Strategy call where we look at where you are, where you wnat to be, and how to get you there in your fledgling business. Contact me in the comments below or at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details!