Working Your Intuitive Business as a Side Hustle
Earlier this month I hosted a Pick My Brain for our members in The Collective, giving them the opportunity to ask me all of their burning questions about building an intuitive business. One of our members asked a GREAT question:
"Is it a smart idea to have a part-time job while building your business?"
I love this question because, contrary to what a lot of folks say, I believe that YES—having another job while you build your business is an incredibly intelligent decision.
So in today's post, we're covering:
- What my process looked when I built my personal training business while working full-time
- How to balance your job and your business
- The pitfalls of doing both at the same time
- Legal considerations
What My Process Looked Like for Side Hustlin'
I started my personal training business while I was working as a front desk agent at a hotel from 3-11:30pm. I had that job for the first two years of my business! This is what my days often looked like:
- Early morning training sessions with clients from 6-10am
- Go home and work on my business for a few hours
- Do a workout because I was training for triathlons
- Go to work. At work, I’d work on my business at work basically any free minute I had.
I'm exhausted just thinking about it!
I was very fortunate that my company was incredibly supportive of my dreams to pursue my business full-time. My manager would often turn a blind eye as I spent my shifts creating content (after my work tasks were done, of course), and they let me gradually reduce my hours as my business picked up.
I wasn’t afraid to let them know this was my ultimate dream; in fact, on the regular I spoke about how I excited I was to get out of there 😂
What comes up for you when you think about sharing your dreams with the company you work for? You may not receive as many accommodations as I did...or you might! You might be surprised at how supportive they are.
Benefit of Having a Job While Building Your Business
The main benefit is that there's less pressure for your business to “work”. Translation: you won't be scrambling for money. People can smell desperation and scarcity; when you need the client (and their money!), you come at things with different energy. It can wind up feeling a little...creepy.
Having your bases covered helps you stay in integrity with how you want to show up. Plus, it’s far easier to tap into creative and intuitive decision-making processes when you're feeling safe and supported. After all, you can't be of service to something greater than yourself when you're stuck in survival mode.
In addition to covering your living expenses, your job can also help you build your safety net for when you finally do take the leap. In the event you have some low-income months in your business (which is totally normal when you're starting out!), you won't have to worry because you'll have your Stress-Free fund to cover your expenses. I had two months' worth of rent, utilities, groceries, etc set aside; that might work for you, or you may want more.
How to Balance a Job and Your Business
It all boils down to solid prioritization and time management skills.
A great question to get in the habit of asking yourself is "what's the most important thing for me to be doing right now?" In the early stages, you may genuinely not know the answer to that question. But as you start to gain traction, you'll also start to collect feedback. You'll begin to notice common places your inquiries and clients are coming from, giving you insight as to where you can focus your energy and attention.
Discover that most of your clients are coming from word of mouth referrals? Great. How can you nurture your relationships even more? Are you getting a lot of inquiries from social media? Awesome. How can you be more strategic with your content? My biggest business drivers were networking events and workshops, so I spent the majority of my time going to events and sourcing places to speak at.
The hard truth is that it's incredibly easy to waste tons of time on tasks that don't actually move your business forward. Working on your branding, writing your About Me page, creating images in Canva...you could create a to-do list full of tasks that would take you an entire year but generate zero income.
If you're finding yourself getting stuck in busywork, something to ask yourself is "am I using these smaller tasks to avoid doing the bigger, scarier things?"
What are the Pitfalls of Building Your Business as a Side Hustle?
Time management is something that doesn't come naturally to a lot of folks, especially those who have spent the majority of their working lives operating on the schedules and deadlines of others. It's a skill that needs to be learned and practiced, and in today's dopamine-driven, quick-results-chasing world, practice and patience is hard to come by.
You may feel constrained by your perceived lack of time and feel frustrated by your lack of ability to do all the things you want to do. However, when frustration arises, it's a beautiful opportunity to begin to engage in some self-inquiry.
"What's not working right now? Am I leaking time and energy somewhere? Am I overextending myself? Why do I believe it all needs to be done right now?"
That last question is key. Oftentimes our desires to do it all are rooted in scarcity and worries about what will happen if we don't.
There's also a lot of opportunity for energy leaks when you go back and forth between your job and your business. You're likely using different parts of your brain at different points throughout the day—analytic, creative, empathetic, and so on. Going from a day of processing data at work to an evening of creating content may require some self care practices in the middle to help you switch gears.
Layer in the possibility of not loving or feeling burned out by your job, and it's incredibly easy to feel tapped out with zero energy to work on your business. If this is the case, how will you support yourself so you have the energy and drive to work on the things that will help you leave your soul-sucking job?
This may look like more time spent in nature. More time moving your body, getting lots of sleep, or connecting with folks who inspire you. These may not look like "business" tasks, but they can have a hugely positive impact on your ability to create your business.
What are the Legal Implications of a Side Hustle?
While there aren't many, there are a few legal considerations when it comes to working on your business while working at a full- or part-time job.
The first is to get clear on whether or not you've signed a contract that states you won't take on other forms of employment, and if so, if working for yourself counts as another form of employment.
You'll also want to find out whether you've signed any Non-Compete clauses and whether or not they apply to your business. For example, if you work at the front desk of a wellness clinic and you're wanting to start your own wellness coaching practice, have you signed anything that says you aren't allowed to source clients who live in the vicinity of the clinic you work at?
These are unlikely cases, but they're important to be clear on!
So there you have it: tips, considerations, and best practices for building your business while still working a full- or part-time job.
After having coached many new entrepreneurs who had no supplemental income while starting their businesses, I can say that while doing things on the side may be harder in terms of time management, it makes things significantly easier on the financial front.
And let's not forget: it's 2022! A "job" doesn't have to mean working at Starbucks or in an office. There are plenty of opportunities to freelance for other businesses as virtual assistants, content creators, online business managers...the sky's the limit! Think of the skills you have and how they can help other entrepreneurs. Not only will you generate some extra income with a flexible schedule, but you'll likely also learn lots of other skills that will support you in your own journey.
Win win, am I right?