We have all heard the story before. A couple of people quit their jobs and start a business. Everything takes longer than expected and times get tough, but when they are on the brink of giving up and being forced to return back to their old jobs, they hit it big and their business takes off.
People always say that you have to devote yourself full time to your business for it to succeed, so to say, for your business to have a chance, you need to quit your job. The problem is that a lot of people can’t just quit their jobs for financial reasons or they enjoy their job and don’t want to leave it. Quitting also greatly increases the stakes since you have put yourself (and your business) in a do-or-die position.
So, why not approach the situation differently? Don’t set super stakes and force yourself to wait until you get that opportunity to leave your salary behind to start your business. You needn’t wait, you can start working on your business right now! You will be amazed by how much can be done without devoting yourself full-time to your venture.
I actually believe that it is actually easier and more enjoyable to start a business while being otherwise gainfully employed. This way there is much lower financial stress and you have the benefit of more time to actually pull your business idea off. Your business also doesn’t need to immediately generate substantial income to replace your salary as you are still pulling yours normally. You also have more time to fine-tune your business model and approach. Most importantly, you have the flexibility to completely change your idea or abandon it all together without having the guilt of having tossed away your job only to have a venture which goes nowhere. This flexibility is key to ensure that your business is the right fit for you and for your target market.
What’s more, you also have more capital to invest into your business as you are still pulling in a salary. However, the obvious disadvantage of this approach is that you have much less time and energy to devote to your venture. One solution to this constraint is to invest money into time-saving solutions, but this is often not enough.
The real answer is that you need to find some extra hours every week to devote yourself exclusively to your venture. How do you find those hours? Enter The 5AM Miracle by Jeff Sanders to the rescue; one of the great books which made the list of the Best Business Books of all Time. In that book, Sanders argues that the answer to this conundrum is to wake up early, at 5AM no less, (but you can pick a more reasonable hour) and to focus those morning hours on your business.
Since those morning hours are your first hours of the day, you have the advantage of being fully energized and hopefully not too distracted by everyone around you who is likely still asleep. Basically, Sanders wants you to trade some late-night hours when you are otherwise tired for some early morning hours when you are awake and primed. You will be surprised by the results from using just a few of those precious high energy hours. Combine this with giving yourself short time limits to come to important decisions or to do something, tons will get done in those few hours.
Parkinson’s Rule establishes the principle that tasks take all of the time allocated to them for their completion. Give yourself less time to do something, and magically it still gets done before your deadline. And vice versa, give yourself tons of time to get something done and an otherwise quick task will take ages to be finished.
All this waking up early is not just idle talk. I actually used it myself to find the time to get my tutoring blog and business up and running. Granted, I pushed the 5AM wake-up call to 6AM.
Now, the final question remains. What happens if your side hustle takes off? Should you now quit your job and focus on it full time? Not so fast. If you enjoy it more than your current job, seriously consider it, but remember that when a hobby becomes your job, it often loses its luster. So to say, even when your business takes off, keep it as a side hustle. Take advantage of your venture’s success and the systems and processes you have built to operate it as a side hustle and double down on them from your time’s perspective. Then, invest your profits to automate parts of the work you are doing and hire some people to delegate away more of it.
This way, your business can keep on growing without you personally having to put in too much of your free time, so that you can focus your time and energy on tasks which are the most essential to your business and which provides the greatest value for that time. Like anything else, constraints force optimization, so having limited time forces you to spend that time more judiciously. And hopefully in the process, you’ll be generating a nice little stream of passive income which will be ready to feed your next venture and the next one after that… Good luck.