Let’s be honest, we live in an age where being an entrepreneur or a “side hustler” is thriving in popularity, some for good and some for bad; Majority are looking for ways to diversify their income which I highly encourage and is never a bad idea, but we must face the naked truth, it is a lot of work.
While I’m still hoping to win the lottery one day, I’m no stranger to the 9-5/side hustle department because I’ve been running my blog for a few years and Flair By Ashi for a little over 2 years while working as an accountant in the oil and gas industry. If anyone can tell you about accounting, it isn’t the most convenient when it comes to work schedules, you’re constantly working with little or no downtime so it’s one of the major challenges I had to deal with starting off. If I can get a dollar for how many times I’ve been asked how I manage my 9-5 job and business(es), Davido singing “30 Billion for the account oh” will have nothing on me. This by far was my most asked question of 2019.
My answer is always “somedays I have it figured out and other days, I want to rip my hair out #balance” but all in all, still figuring it out and “Hannah Montana-ing” it one day at a time.
In a perfect world you’d have all things figured out but quite frankly we all know that’s never the case. While I have no intent on quitting my 9-5 anytime soon, I‘m sharing a few things and tools that have helped me to find balance so far.
Before diving into the main helpful tips, there’s one big step you must take, and it is very crucial before doing anything else which is:
This is something I had to learn the hard way; thinking I had most things figured out by doing everything, but NO. I can’t stress this enough, before starting off any task, I highly recommend you ask yourself these essential questions.
- What stage are you in?
- Are you a beginner? Someone that’s just starting their business, and needs to know what to do?
- Are you intermediate? – Someone with little experience that needs their skills sharpened?
- Or an expert? – Who has years of experience but needs a few changes?
- Find what areas are working, what’s not working and how it can be fixed or eliminated then the necessary steps you’ll need in order to improve. If you can’t identify what level you’re at then you will be unable to pull off the other steps.
Trust me, the biggest way to be overwhelmed is trying to do everything at once and hoping you’ve figured it out, but I hate to break it to you, you will be frustrated. That’s why the audit is super important. Last year I put less of my time into my Irony of Ashi blog and more into Flair By Ashi because that demanded more of my time and improvements. Once you identify the areas you need to work on, you prioritize them before others and take it one step at a time. One thing that has really helped me is working on event time and not clock time.
- Clock time is winging your tasks whenever you feel like it.
- Event time is setting a time to complete tasks e.g. I give myself an hour to respond to all my emails, once my time is up, I stop and move on to the next task.
Plan & Automate
Write down your goals, journalize! Create a daily routine, your brain is not a bank- well it could be if you’re just cool like that, but you cannot operate a business based on your brain that’s why journaling is so important. Categorize your goals based on Finance, Fitness, Health and Spiritual. I use my notebook app on my iPhone a lot, I have Caption ideas, business ideas and hashtags for social media posting.
There are also so many online platforms that help with scheduling and planning, some free and others paid, I’ve used Hootsuite and Buffer which turned out to be super pricey for me to maintain, these seem to be my go to apps below.
- Planoly and Later are great for Instagram scheduling are very reasonable with prices.
- Tailwind is great for Pinterest scheduling.
- Google calendar (free) and Calendly (paid) is great for scheduling meetings.
- Lightroom, airbrush and VSCO for presets to quickly edit my photos.
- Preview or Unum to organize my layout feed.
- Convert Kit and Mail Chimp to manage newsletters and email marketing.
- QuickBooks and PayPal for book keeping, spending and invoices.
- Canva to create graphics and templates for your websites and posts.
I set out some time in mornings before work to put into my business between 4am-6am, during lunch breaks between (11:30 am -1pm), I work on posting content/replying to comments and messages on my social media platforms and after work (6pm-whenever), I dedicate the rest of my time to Flair By Ashi and squeeze in a quick 30min-1hr workout *on a really good day*.
On weekends I do a bulk work of planning and working on posts and arrange time to spend with my family, boyfriend or travel.
Since most of my weekdays are occupied with work, I schedule most of my photoshoots on weekends.
If I ever do shoot on weekdays, I wake up at 5:30am to do my hair and makeup and head out for my photoshoot to start at 7am (5-10 outfits per shoot) then roundup to be at work 9am.
I organize and plan all my outfits the night before as well as the location (preferably one close to my place of work), practice poses, and accessories then arrange them in my car trunk for the shoot (not advisable if you do not have a car garage).
Delegate – Get Help
One of the pros of having a 9-5 is having steady income; the money earned can be used to fund your business by hiring experts to help build your side hustle, cause let’s face it, you can’t do it all by yourself;
The goal should always be to work smarter.
With the help of websites like FIVERR and UPWORK You can literally hire virtual assistants that will help with any assistance you may need. I currently have an assistant helping with majority of Flair By Ashi administrative work and she’s been such a life saver while I put my creativity into my business to avoid burnouts. So, I encourage you to go seek help as soon as you can.
Working on your passion may involve you forfeiting a few things; one of them being happy hour, brunch with friends- bottomless mimosas (yum) or sometimes that trip out of town that involves your time and money and even the bulk of time you spend watching tv– I enjoy doing all but in moderations. Also, you’ll have to forfeit most weekends and have long nights just working on your side hustle but be ready for it. I have a rule about meeting with people – if the meeting doesn’t involve adding money to my pocket or making me a better person – it’s a no for me -most times.
Research & Invest
Never stop learning more about your business, always research for better processes and technology updates, be open to constructive feedback and make updates on those things. Invest in your yourself, take classes, pay for coaching and better business tools so plan on putting off some money from you 9-5 job in these areas.
Learning about your business also involves meeting like minded people in your field, you can help you with accountability, so network and connect with other people in your related field, ask questions and support each other. Engage on their social media accounts and it’ll be reciprocated as well.
One of the back sides of trying to manage both a 9-5 and side hustle is, you may not dedicate as much time into your side business as other full time entrepreneurs, so, the habit of comparing your progress to theirs springs up, please do not entertain this thought at all. Focus on your journey and the in beauty of becoming, give yourself credit for doing what most people struggle to do, everyone runs their own race at their own pace so always be proud of yourself and never compare.
I saved this for last because I want to emphasize on its importance; I reached a burnout phase in late 2018 after working myself tirelessly, handling way too many tasks at once, then going through a break up; my 9-5 job at the time was so demanding and I was also running my business all by myself- reason I advise delegating tasks and working smarter, I was miserable, didn’t want to do anything or go anywhere, I isolated myself from friends and family because I was burnt out and unhappy, I had people angry at me because they thought I wasn’t being friendly but little did they know. In 2019, I decided to prioritize my mental health and be more intentional about where and what I spent my time on. Please no matter what you do, always take care of yourself first, your mental health is so important! There are a few studies that link entrepreneurship with depression so don’t fall a victim.
Focus on Finding your happiness first, sustaining your business second.
My form of self-care I practiced was traveling to places where I could unplug and relax my mind, turning off the radio on my drive to work to process my thoughts, started a gratitude journal. This truly helped me out a lot. Other ways could be through meditation, yoga, working out, getting massages, beauty rests and so on.
Clap for yourself! Managing a 9-5 job and side business or hustle is one of the most challenging things you can ever do. Don’t beat yourself if you haven’t figured it out, we are all still trying to figure things out! so don’t forget to take it one day at a time and practice patience.
Do you have any tips on how you manage your 9-5 job and side business / hustle? Please share I’d love to know!
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