This is last post in the two-part How to Pivot to Success Series. Be sure to read part one How to Pivot to Success in Business.
“How in the world did you find time to start a business?”
This is a question that I’ve gotten on more than one occasion so I figured I would share my experience to hopefully motivate you. I come across a lot of articles about how people quit their job to start their business, but hardly any that encouraged people to start a business while they are working a 9 to 5.
I’m not trying to throw any shade at the folks who quit their job, but that was definitely not an option for me. I’ve always been super cautious. To the point where sometimes I’m my own worst enemy. I knew that regardless of what magical number folks recommended that you should save up before quitting your job (typically 6 months is what I’ve seen), would NEVER be okay with me.
I’m single. I don’t come from a wealthy family. I have no one that I can go to for support in case things don’t work out with my business. Needless to say, if I quit my job and my business failed, I would be in a serious financial hot mess. This was an unnecessary gamble that I was not willing to take. If I end up in a financial hot mess, I want it to be due to circumstances beyond my control (i.e. laid off), not one that could have been avoided (i.e. quitting my job).
If my situation resonates with you, the first thing I want you to do is to read the previous post and to take this SWOT analysis. This is going to help you determine what type of business you should pursue. If you’re not sold on the idea of starting your own business, then get acclimated to the idea of freelancing on sites like Fiverr, Upwork, etc., selling your own products like T-shirts, etc. This way you can see if the services or products you were thinking about offering are worth your time and effort.
If all of the aforementioned sounds like your jam, then let’s get started.
1. PLAN OUT YOUR RESOURCES
One of the first things that you need to do is count the costs of going into business. I started an online business (It’s Time to Launch Your Blog) because the costs to do so are relatively low. I knew for a fact that the majority of the products and services that I would offer were going to be online.Therefore, the bulk of my time and expenses were going to be allocated to content marketing.
When I first started Starengu, my main motto was not to go broke during the process. Mapping out all of the expenses that you will need to get your endeavor off the ground is going to prevent this from happening to you. If there were costs that I did not have enough money for-gasp-I saved up for them. Starengu was literally started with money I saved from each of my paychecks. To each its own, but I’m not a fan of taking out loans or charging up unnecessary debt on my credit cards. That stuff can come back to haunt you…
2. BE WISE WITH YOUR SPARE TIME
One of the main things 9 to 5ers complain about is not having enough time to start a business. I hate to break it to you, but if you are truly serious about your endeavor, then your lunch time, evenings and weekends are going to be your best friend. I totally understand that you would rather be watching The Walking Dead or some other popular TV show, but that’s not going to further your future.
Investing in yourself is going to require you to sacrifice your time, but the ROI will be worth it in the end. Are you willing to get your hands dirty? Obviously, not literally, but are you willing to roll up your sleeves so you can learn how to perform tasks that will help reduce your startup costs?
I’m a DIY kind of girl. If it’s something that interests me and I know that I would benefit from that knowledge in the future, depending on the task, I designate at least an hour during the week building up my knowledge to learn that task. One of the main reasons my start up costs were extremely low is because marketing is my background. Many moons ago, I realized that I eventually wanted to start my own business so I taught myself how to create websites, design content, create videos, etc. Heck, I even learned Spanish!
All of this was done while I was working a 9 to 5. I realize how tired you may be after work and if you have kids, take care of a sick parent, etc.finding time may be even harder to accomplish. Please do NOT beat yourself up! My journey is going to be different than yours. Do the best you can with the spare time that you have. Just remember, you have to be proactive when it comes to creating the time you need to invest in yourself.
Please note that I’m also not advocating that your spare time should be completely filled with work. Again, having a balance is the key. I read a study that stated that Americans watch close to 5 hours of TV a day. No one needs that much of an escape from their life! The majority of that time could be used to help you create your future. Once you get to the point where you feel successful, then feel free to reward yourself by binge watching The Walking Dead.
3. KNOW WHEN TO OUTSOURCE
Now even though I’m #TeamDIY, you have to know your limitations. If there is a task that you need to perform, but learning how to do so would take too much time away from the real reasons you went into business, then by all means outsource.
Outsourcing is even easier to do when you have a 9 to 5. You’re going to be able to easily identify areas where you can save money. Therefore, you can take the money you saved on tasks that you can perform to pay for the tasks that you want to outsource.
Identifying which tasks you should outsource may be a bit more difficult. Again, my motto is not to go broke. Therefore, I learned a lot of tasks that typically fall outside of the marketing arena like building websites, video production, etc. Those tasks may have been outside my realm but they were also fun to me. It didn’t seem like a chore for me to learn how to create a website or create a YouTube tutorial.
Now let’s say that I decided to go into business offering video production services, but I absolutely hate to write. My true strength and joy lies in video production. If I need copy for my website, it’s going to be worth the investment to hire a copywriter to create the content for my website. I’m all for embracing the DIY approach, but if it’s going to cause me unnecessary stress then I leave it to the professionals.
4. CREATE SHORTCUTS
I’m not a fan of repetitive tasks. If I find myself doing something more than 3 times a day, I’m looking for the quickest way to eliminate or reduce amount of times that particular task makes it onto my to do list.
For example, if you offer consultations you already know what information needs to be captured. There’s no need to unnecessarily send emails back and forth to a potential client. Take the time to create a template and an autoresponder that allows the template to be automatically sent to your potential client.
One of my favorite automation tools is Zapier. It is ridiculous how many tasks you can automate using this tool! A couple months ago, I made the decision to switch from MailChimp to Mailerlite. This was a pain. I manually swapped out MailChimp links on my site for the Mailerlite links (I technically didn’t have to do this, but again, I’m super cautious).
Seeing that I’m human, in the event that I missed swapping out one of the MailChimp links on my website for the Mailerlite link all I had to do was create a zap. If someone landed on the MailChimp link I forgot to swap out for the Mailerlite one, the zap would be triggered and that person would be automatically added to my Mailerlite list. Pretty cool, huh?
When you create shortcuts it allows you to spend more time focusing on tasks that will actually grow your business instead of working in your business.
5. BATCH YOUR CONTENT
In case you couldn’t tell, I love to write. I enjoy writing for myself and for others. If you’re looking for a cost-effective, subtle way to promote your products or services without feeling sleazy then you should view content marketing as your best friend.
Although there are a ton of benefits to content marketing, you will still hear people complain about how time consuming it can be. “When am I going to find time to write or create (insert desired type of content)?”
You will never have time if you don’t have a process in place. I tend to batch my content. Meaning, I I write 1 to 2 posts a month (a YouTube tutorial may accompany the post as well) along with a monthly newsletter. These are the three pieces of content that typically take the most time to create. I literally spend Saturday and Sunday typing and editing my posts because the majority of the work was done during the week.
In case you would like to steal my batch content creation routine, it goes a little something like this…
- Monday: Brainstorm blog posts ideas
- Brainstorm or create content upgrades (freebies I give away at the end of the post) A perfect example would be the After 9 to 5 Thrive Guide that is included in this post.
- Brainstorm or create tripwires (this is a special landing page that can only be accessed once the person has decided to subscribe to the aforementioned freebie).
- Tuesday: Create an outline for the post
- Wednesday: Gather the information
- Search for headlines
- Create my intro
- Friday: Search for images
- Type out the post
- If I have not already done so, create the content upgrade & tripwire
- Edit the post
- Add images
- Do a little happy dance because you are done!
I even have my day broken into a specific routine as well. I cannot stress enough how important it is to establish a process and routine that will enable you to stay on track.
LATHER, RINSE, REPEAT
I wanted to share my routine with you so that you could see that it is possible. I’m fairly confident that this post along with the free the After 9 to 5 Thrive Guide will motivate you to invest in yourself and finally get your business off the ground.
Did you enjoy this post? If so, can you do me a favor and share it with others? I would really appreciate it!