There is a stigma that you have to go “All-In” in order to have the next billion dollar company. You have to drop your day job and commit to your side hustle. It’s what Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Larry Page all did. It’s a tale that has haunted many. Startups failures are the norm and the get rich fast, rarely occurs. However, there is a way to maintain balance and still run a successful side hustle.
Put In the Time
This sounds contradictory to the introduction, but if you don’t put in the time, your side hustle will never be anything more than a floundered idea. It’s about consistency. When I get home from my day job, I make myself dinner and get back to work on LIFT Protein Muffins. It’s all about consistency. If you work two to three a day on your side hustle, that’s 14-21 hours in the week. If you have a partner, that’s close to one full-time employee. Within a week, not much progress will be made, but in 4 months you will see progress and within a year, you can truly achieve something amazing! The key is to constantly chip away at your project and be consistent. Compounding is truly a remarkable thing, but remember, it will take time and it’s an on-going effort.
When you build it, they will come is never the case. It’s ongoing effort.
Another excuse for entrepreneurs is that you have to constantly work – no time to eat healthy or workout. And who has time for that, right? Wrong. If you jeopardize your health, how do you expect other areas of your life to be at their optimum? Taking care of yourself is priority number. Does that mean at least 7 hours of sleep? Maybe so, if you’re the type of person who requires sleep. Working out and eating healthy are essential as well. I find that I work best with 7 ½ hours of sleep, working out each morning for about 1 hour, and staying strictly Paleo.
When I get less than 6 hours of sleep, it ruins the next day. I have higher stress, decreased productivity and I just don’t feel like me. Sleep is crucial as a lack of sleep carries over and ruins all productivity. It’s not worth getting in the last bit of work to ruin the following day.
When I work out in the morning I have less stress, more energy and I am able to be more effective on taking on the day! I don’t get as wrapped up on a little task and I am better able to prioritize on what is MOST IMPORTANT.
Another helpful tip is to meditate. Mediation is key to being a successful entrepreneur. Even 10 minutes a day, can make all the difference when you’re having a tough day or just can’t stay focused on the task at hand.
If you’re not taking care of yourself how do you expect other areas of your life to be at their optimum?
Family, Friends, Relationships
I recently read an article titled, Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness, or Friends: Pick 3 by Jessica Stillman. She shares that if you are an entrepreneur you will have a dilemma – you will have an unbalanced life. I couldn’t disagree more. By being a successful entrepreneur you may have to make sacrifices. Your work, sleep, family, fitness, or friends may not all be at 100%, but the reality is, is anyone’s ever at 100%? You will have to make sacrifices no doubt, but that doesn’t mean that they should be abandoned. Let me speak specifically about family, friends and relationships. You should never abandon your family. If your startup fails, if you have advice, if you want a strong support system, that is what your family is for. In terms of friends, you don’t need 100, but if you do not have a single friend, that maybe saying something on how you operate. Why would anyone trust a person running a company without friends? Even if you have one solid friendship, that can get you through the hard times and you can have them to celebrate your victories. On the other hand, you may not be able to attend happy hours every evening, since you have to work on your side hustle, but pick a night to go out and not focus on work. It’s important to stay sane and have fun. It will benefit your business. Relationships…you don’t need to actively always be dating if you’re single. Sometimes being single and just focusing on the other factors works, but if you’re married or have a significant other, don’t kick them to the curb. It will get pretty lonely doing it all alone. One handy hack is to call friends or family during your morning or evening commute. With a 40 minute car ride each way, I have plenty of time to reconnect.
Work on the weekends
I strongly believe working on the weekends is essential to your side hustle’s success with a 9-5. That doesn’t mean not to have a social life, it means before you go out to the 10pm party, work for 4 hours beforehand on your side hustle. Few distractions with lots of time compared to the weekday (where there is never enough time). It just takes will-power to get to work, while your friends are drinking mimosas and watching Netflix on a Saturday.
You can drink your mimosa while working on your side hustle just skip the Netflix until after your work is complete.
Don’t be a workaholic just to work. Get the most important stuff done. Understand what is the most important thing to do. Follow the 80/20 rule which states 20% of the input produces 80% of the output. In LIFT Protein Muffins case that’s sales. In short, focus on the most important things and push aside the filler tasks that may not be essential to your success.
Don’t stay busy just to stay busy.
It is important to have balance in your life, especially when you have a side hustle. You must prevent burn out. If you’re feeling burnt out, it’s okay to take the night off and watch some Netflix. But if you start seeing a pattern of lack of work, you have to re-evaluate whether this side hustle is something that you even want to be working on. You should want to and enjoy the work you do, especially your side hustle. Remember, if you work on a side hustle commit and put in the time to see it be successful. Do a check-in to make sure you do have that balance.
Use a calendar to schedule time following your 9-5. Block out time when you need to do work and prioritize the tasks beforehand. Remember to use the 80/20 rule. Block out time for your workout schedule, sleep, or anything else to maintain balance but also achieve success with your side hustle.
There’s never a good time to take a vacation. So clear it with your manager and just put on your calendar. A non-working vacation is needed to refuel your mind and body.
Listen to your body. If you’re exhausted, take it as a sign to ease up a bit.
Business partners are key for your success, especially when you have limited time. My mother doubles as my business partner and covers most of the day-to-day operations. The two of us are responsible for different aspects of the business, depending on our strengths and interests. Have roles defined but other should pick up slack if need be. Your business partner can make or break the business. Make sure you trust them. If not, it’s not worth your time.
Mindfulness and Self-awareness
This goes with balance, but it’s a must to maintain mindfulness and self-awareness. Take personal development course or a hire a coach to help you if you’re lacking in any of the areas above. It takes time and practice. You must be constantly working on yourself, with a commitment for excellence. You can’t go from 0 to pro overnight. For example, when NBA players were allowed to go straight from high school to the NBA only a handful came out each year. The majority required sometime in college before being ready for the pros. It requires constant practice. You have to constantly work on yourself and constantly challenge yourself while putting yourself in uncomfortable situations. Motivating yourself only gets you so far. Growing requires doing new things, not just thinking about it.
In short, if you look to be a successful entrepreneur with a 9-5 it’s all about balance, health, routine, and constantly growing and sure maybe some sacrifice too.