How to Balance Your 9-5 With Your Business
As someone who always juggled more than one job, I can tell you a thing or two about juggling the job that pays the bills and the career that is near and dear to your heart. Balance is something most of us have a hard time executing. I remember when I was in high school, I was a “kitchen” stylist and an intern at a local bank. There was always a schedule to keep with homework, the after school job at the bank and weekend clients. I later grew into the same lifestyle as an adult. The most important thing that I’ve learned was planning to stay ahead of time. Staying ahead of time means that I had to wake up early to do homework or stay up late, which was a bad idea since I had to get up a few hours later. Besides homework, I needed to promote my hair business and keep a good reputation at my job with great work ethic. I had to learn to balance it all plus spend time with my family. I have 4 crucial things that you must do in order to balance your business with your 9-5.
Create a CLEAR plan for your business
The most important step you have to do to balance is know WHAT you need to balance. You must know exactly what you want to do and when you want to do it. If there is something you need to learn how to do, you need to plan to learn this too. Creating a clear plan is the very first step. When do you want to launch your products? How do you want your customers to feel about your business? Choose a deadline, consider your starting point and make a plan to get there. If you are starting from scratch, I’ve developed a simple yet creative brand plan to help you map out your thoughts for your business. Make sure you create an actionable plan with deadlines to help you achieve your goals. Writing your goals down in an actionable business plan format helps you keep yourself accountable. Revisiting your creative business plan also helps you stay on track and track your progress.
Use clouds to save your data.
Keep all of your documents, photos and graphics on a cloud so you can access it on any device. You’ll be able to open and edit or download anything at any given time! I use Google Drive for everything that’s business or related to business. Create folders for every category for your business such as emails for subscribers, website blogs, promotional campaigns, clients with sub-folders per client name, website content, etc. You can even create folders for all of your pictures if you have a portfolio or gallery, etc and separate those in categories. Utilizing clouds for storage will save you from spending time on your computer if you are traveling or when you don’t have access to your computer at all.
Create a plan to stay ahead of time
Staying ahead of time means not waiting until the last minute to get things done. Make a weekly editorial/content calendar template, or purchase pre-made content calendar templates, to have your weekly schedule written out so that you know exactly what you’re going to create or do for the week. Decide on which time you would tackle each task and stick to making it happen.These times can be early like 7:30am, on lunch and after work.
If you need to write a blog, plan each section of the blog according to your free time. Pick different times for outlining, drafting, editing, and creating promotional and website graphics. If you are one of those people who can’t leave things “undone”, write your outline and draft together but you must proofread and edit at a different time. Revisiting your blog draft at a different time is like rebooting your brain from remembering what you intended to write to reading what you actually wrote with a clear mind and making the right edits as needed.
Another way to stay ahead of time is to pre-create graphics. If you know you need to post your promotional material on Monday mornings for the next two months, take time to create the graphics or content that your customers will read ahead of time. Place the content or graphics in a cloud such as Google Drive or Dropbox so that you can copy/paste into the platform when it’s time to post your content along with the appropriate graphic.
Maximize downtime and breaks at work
I know some people are serious about each break they get at work and they like to spend their breaks for their quiet time. If you need to take advantage of your break time for a little time to yourself, that is totally fine. Tasks completed on your breaks and during downtime don’t have to be tedious. This time can be used to prep your evening work. For example, you can outline course materials or write price package content for a promotional campaign you will launch. Remember the goal here is to stay ahead of time so that you don’t find yourself drained or feeling like you have been nonproductive because you are tired and used all of your energy doing things at the last minute.
Maximize your breaks and downtime at work by staying productive during those times with your business. Create or complete content on any downtime or breaks that you get. Working on your business during downtime at your 9-5 can definitely save time in the evenings or can add more time for you to get things done. Staying proactive with business on breaks will also help with family time after work. Don’t shoot the messenger, just try it out! You might like it. :)
P.S. The more productive you are with your business, the quicker you may be able to get away from your 9-5 and into the lifestyle you’ve always desired. Just saying. Let’s move to the next point.
Use automated tools to record and write for your business. Find a quiet place to write or record your content. I recommend finding a voice-to-text application to help you produce content quicker. Although there may be some editing, it’ll save you beaucoup time from typing. You could also consider a tape recorder for notes if you prefer that method.
Take advantage of scheduling tools on Facebook and your website. Squarespace and Wordpress both have scheduling tools that allow content to be pre-scheduled ahead of time. You can also use automated tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer to automate social media content on Twitter and Facebook as well. Execute points 1-3 from this post and put the final product into automation!
Balancing a job and your business can really take a tole on you especially if you don’t implement a clear strategy and stay organized. It’s enough stress to juggle so much plus spend time with friends and family. Whatever it is that you need to do to create the business you want, schedule times to get things done according to your free times you get before, during, and after work so that you can have less stressful experiences when it’s time to promote your business.
What is your most effective strategy for balancing work that pays the bills and your dream?