As I sit down to write this post at an hour way past when
I’d like to stop working, I found it very fitting to talk about balancing
a small business with a 9-5.
Most likely, if you are in the beginning stages of building
your own business, you are still working your day job. Now that may mean a
number of things – an office for some, a house full of children for another,
but bottom line…you’re daytime hours are pretty much spoken for.
Last year when I started my design business,
I was lucky enough to be working a few part time jobs that allowed me a lot of
flexibility during my day to work my business. In this season we’re currently
in, I am working almost full-time elsewhere so we are able to put away some
money for the season I’ll be home with this little human we’re about to meet.
(eeeek! baby!) So needless to say, I find myself sending design business emails
after 11:30 pm and, well, that’s just rude.
For the season of working a 9-5 while growing your business,
here are some (hopefully) helpful thoughts:
PLAN YOUR WEEK – I can’t tell you how much more
productive I am when I make a list of projects I’d like to work on for my
business and things I want to get off my plate. It really is amazing.
Usually, I’ll sit down Sunday night and do that, update my finances, and make
reminders for emails I need to return. When you have a limited amount of time,
you need to use it well.
ASK FOR HELP – When there’s dinner to make, laundry
to get done, and that one thing you’ve needed to pick up from Target for the
past two weeks, it’s obvious that you need people on your team. Ask your spouse
or roommate or whoever to maybe take on some of those duties while you’re using
your evening time to work on your business. For a season, that may just be how
it is and it’s so valuable to find people to support you in that and want to
SET LIMITS FOR YOURSELF – In the world of
running your own business, the to-do list never goes away. There is always one
more thing you could get done and one more email you could send. If you don’t
set boundaries for yourself, you’ll burn out super fast. Make peace with the
running list, shut the computer, put your phone down, and take time to rest.
Believe it or not, you’ll actually become more productive in your business if
you take intentional time away from it.
COMMUNICATE – If you are unavailable for the
majority of a traditional workday, make sure you communicate that with your
clients and customers. Let them know that you generally are unable to respond during
the day, but you are available after hours to talk over the phone or respond by
email. If you’re making a product, let your buyers know that you ship on one
particular day of the week or only answer Etsy messages at a specific time.
Generally, people are way more gracious and willing to work with you when they
know your availability and feel like you care enough to communicate often with
Overall, hang in there! There may come a day in the near
future that you will be able to run your business as full capacity without
having to work another job. Until that day comes, embrace the season and find
ways that work for you to keep things running on track. Remember, you are only
one human and you are in a business that serves other humans. Everyone is
limited and all you can do is the best you can with the time you have. Thankfulness
does the heart good!