There is a stigma that you have to go “All-In” in order to have the next million 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. However, it’s a tale that has haunted many. Startup failures are the norm and the get rich fast, rarely occurs. But, 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 an 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 hours 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 an ongoing effort.
Another excuse for entrepreneurs is that you have to constantly work – no time to eat well or to 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 one. 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 feel more stress, my productivity is decreased 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 taking on the day! I don’t get as wrapped up on a little task and I am better able to prioritize as to 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 function 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 or if you seek advice, your family may provide a strong support system.
In terms of friends, you don’t need 100, but if you do not have a single friend, that may be saying something about you. Even if you have one solid friendship, that can get you through the hard times and you can share your victories. In order to stay consistent with your side hustle, you may not be able to attend happy hour every evening. That doesn't mean you can't go out. It’s important to stay sane and have fun. 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.
When it comes to relationships, you don’t need to be actively dating. Being single and focusing on your work is fine too. 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.
Work On The Weekends
Working on the weekends is essential to your side hustle’s success. This doesn’t mean a social life is non-existent. It means before you go out to the 10 pm party, work for 4 hours beforehand on your side hustle. There are fewer distractions and more time during the weekend. Working on your side hustle on a weekend takes willpower. Sure your friends may be drinking mimosas and watching Netflix on a Saturday, but at least you're trying to change the world.
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 Netflix. But if you start seeing a pattern of a lack of work, you have to re-evaluate whether this side hustle is something that you even want to be working on. Enjoy your project. Remember, if you work on a side hustle commit and put in the time for it to be successful. Do a check-in to make sure you do have that balance.
Use a calendar to schedule time before or 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 to achieve success with your side hustle.
There’s never a good time to take a vacation. So clear it with your manager and put it 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, specific to our individual strengths and interests. Have roles defined, but your partner should pick up the slack if need be. Your business partner can make or break the business. Make sure you trust him or her. If not, it’s not worth your time.
Mindfulness and Self-awareness
Mindfulness and self-awareness go with balance. Take a personal development course or hire a coach to help you if you’re lacking in any of the areas above. It takes time and practice. You must constantly work on yourself, with a commitment to excellence. You can’t go from an amateur to a 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 more practice and experience in college before being ready for the pros. It requires constant action. You have to constantly work and challenge yourself while being put in uncomfortable situations. Motivating yourself only gets you so far. Growing requires stepping outside your box, 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. Sure, there may be some sacrifice too.