I’m sure all of your have heard of work/life balance. But what about day job/side work/life balance? It’s a trickier proposition, that’s for sure. I’ve been at this for a couple months now and I’ve already learned some things along the way. My hope is that they’ll help you better manage whatever is on your plate, too.
1.) Find a Side Job that Doesn’t Feel Like Work. This is key. Do you love photography? What about cooking? Or maybe you’re like me and love crafting of all kinds? This may require some preening down of things that you enjoy. It certainly did for me! I love crafts of all kinds, so I really had to zero in on what I wanted to do, otherwise I would have been ALL over the place. So finding that one thing that you love is
important crucial because there are days you’re going to be exhausted and not want to think about doing a second job. For me, my Etsy Shop does not feel like a side job; it feels like fun. I would even dare say a hobby except that marketing and creating product is a lot of work. The point is this: do something you love so that on the really tough days, you won’t give up.
2.) Don’t Get Discouraged When it Doesn’t Take Off Immediately. I think most people (myself included) expect a quick ascent to Etsy/Small Business Greatness. My first week on Etsy I stalked my views and preened my listings a MILLION times hoping to find the sweet spot and get more traffic (I still preen but that’s neither here nor there). Every piece of research I’ve stumbled upon says it takes a few months to gain a steady customer base on Etsy. Patience is not one of my virtues, that is for certain, so I’m struggling with this. However, the truth remains that it takes time to build any business, whether online or brick and mortar. You owe it to yourself and your dream to give it a fighting chance, so hang in there when things feel slow.
3.) Remember: You’re Learning and Growing. There is no possible way to know everything right off the bat. There’s going to be things that change, and you’ll have to find ways to adapt. I have a really hard time with not being good at something right away. It greatly frustrates me. It’s ok to be new at something; everyone starts off as a beginner.
I hadn’t used Adobe Photoshop in over 10 years when I decided to start this side business. I wasn’t a complete newbie, but it changed enough that I was worried. It was an entirely new version and I wasn’t sure where to begin. So I cracked open a book and started learning. The more I use it, the more comfortable I am. And really, that principle is true of anything; it just takes time and practice to master something.
4.) Block Your Time. Set time blocks for specific tasks within each job. It’ll help you accomplish exactly what you want to do. Now, this also means no multitasking. Focus solely on the task you want to accomplish during your time blocks.
And when you’re off the clock, you’re off the clock. Don’t pick up your work again because you need to…
5.) Make Time for Self-Care/Fun. All work and no play will drive you up the wall. Even if your side job is fun to you, it’s still work. This is a hard one for me. I have ADHD so I constantly feel like I need to be doing something. Even at home, it is incredibly rare that I’m sitting down and doing nothing. For example, while I watch TV, I have a loom knitting project, I’m menu planning for the week, or I’ve got my phone/computer nearby. Slowing down is something that I have to be intentional about and set boundaries for myself.
Are you a small business owner too? What are some ways that you find work/life balance?