“Hi Laura, How do I find the energy to build my side business? I’m trying to juggle family, and my day job as a head of social media and content marketing.”
Let me first say, thanks so much for asking this question! I think this is a common feeling amongst those who are yet to make the leap and on some levels something all business owners struggle with. When you’re a startup business owner, you’ll ask yourself “How do I find time to work on my business, when I’m working in it?”. Same struggle, slightly different context.
Firstly, make sure you’re only working on things that will give you the most leverage when you make the leap. You already know the huge value of great content and social media so make sure you’re doing that for you!
Now I want to dive a bit deeper and throw some tough questions in here to help others understand their own position on your struggles.
How much do you really want this?
When we are driven to do something in our lives that is important to us, it doesn’t matter how tired we are we do it anyway. Personally, I really struggle with improving my fitness as my drive to be fit is low but when it comes to business my ambition is so strong that I push myself beyond my limits, admittedly to the detriment of other things in my life. I speak for many others when I say unquestionable ambition to build a business pushes you through any energy, time, resources issues. You just make it work and if you do make the leap, you’re going to have to work much harder than you do now anyway. Flipping your question on its head, do you have the energy to make your side business your full time?
Is your partner on board?
I can really appreciate how hard it is being a parent, in a high pressure day job and wanting to build your business. I wear the “been there, done that” t-shirt on this subject and for the biggest part of my twenties I did this alone, with 2 young children and whilst at university full time. When I met my husband and decided to leave the corporate world I found myself in, I was very honest about what was going to lie ahead (unpredictable income, stress, sacrifice, pressure). I needed his support to make this happen and we agreed that I would take a back seat on anything that he could manage in order to focus all my time and efforts onto building our future. Whilst I technically have and could do this without him, I wouldn’t have a marriage if we weren’t in this together! We made the decision as a family, children included, and although it wasn’t easy to begin with once the profits starting building and life got more fun we all agree the sacrifice was worth it.
Are you making sacrifices?
Coming onto the point of sacrifices, are you making them in order to grow your side business? When you come home from work and your parental duties are done, are you spending your time watching TV or other hobbies or are you building your side business? When you take holiday time off from the day job, are you building your side business or sunning yourself on a beach? Are your weekends spent playing golf, or building your side business?
If you really want your side job to be your full time gig you’re going to have to make some sacrifices in your life to make it happen and put “me time” on the back burner for now. If you aren’t willing to make those sacrifices or you have a tonne of reasons why you can’t make those sacrifices then chances are you’re not an entrepreneur and that’s ok.
Entrepreneur or intrapreneur?
An intrapreneur is someone who thinks and behaves like an entrepreneur, but within an organisation. There are many people who think they want to be an entrepreneur, but whilst they have that spirit their talents truly lie in intrapreneurship. I’ve often reflected on this personally, particularly when business life gets really challenging, but being anything other than an entrepreneur is just not something that’s in me. Gary Vaynerchuk talks a lot about the fact that if you’re in a day job, you might have entrepreneurial spirit but you’re not a true entrepreneur and I would agree. Let me state that there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with this, the world needs more of you believe me.
My final thoughts on this are that if on reflection, you decide the entrepreneurial life is just not that important to you then there are literally thousands upon thousands of business owners like me who want an “intrapreneur” to lead their business. Perhaps your focus could now be finding that ideal role that allows you the freedom you need, whilst giving you the stability you want for your family.