How to Find Time to Start Your Business Without Quitting Your Day Job

How to Find Time to Start Your Business Without Quitting Your Day Job

So you craving financial and professional freedom?

You have an idea for an awesome business and passion, skills and drive to make it happen.

But you also have a full time job, a family, a full social calendar and you’re so busy, you can’t find time to put your idea into practice. You think you have to quit your day job to have the time and energy to concentrate on your business idea, but you just cannot afford quitting right now.

You keep dreaming that it will happen. One day…

This day can be today.

Yes, really.

There are people who have done it. I have done it. I started my own business while working full time, having a family and a few smaller projects on the go.

Do you want to know how I did it?

I will share my journey with you, but I must warn you: it’s not easy and involves some unpleasant decision-making.

And in the end you may end up deciding you dont really want to do that at this time.

Are you ready?

Take a bunch of A4 pieces of paper and some pens (coloured pens work well).

1. Write down your business goal. Make it SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound).

E.g. I want to have an online business with a blog and 300 subscribers, selling a course and ebooks on gluten-free baking by July 2015.

2. Break your business goal down into elements/deliverables.

E.g. to have an online business as described above you need:

a business (a legal entity)
a website
a blog
digital products to sell.

3. Identify the milestones and map the path to achieve each element/deliverable.

E.g. In order to have an e-commerce website you need to:

Buy a domain name
Host it
Set it up (e.g. WordPress theme, plugins)
Set up an email management system
Get any additional features (e.g. shopping cart software, payment options)
Display your products (photos, videos etc.)

4. Estimate how much time (number of hours) you need to achieve the deliverables.

Are you thinking of doing it all by yourself, or outsourcing?

E.g. Buying a domain name will only take a few minutes, finding a hosting service a little more, but setting up a website and an email management system would depend on your level of experience/expertise with WordPress and/or other software, and may be not worth your time and stress – you may be better off outsourcing to someone on Elance or Fiverr.

If you have specific deliverables set for specific points in time, mark it in your calendar. This exercise should give you a pretty good idea how much time you actually need per week/month to achieve your goals.

5. Look at the number of hours estimated in Step 4.

Do you have this amount of time? If yes, just schedule your tasks into your calendar – best of luck!

If not, keep reading!

6. Write down and block time for ‘Must-Haves’

Things absolutely necessary to live, such as sleep, meals, basic personal hygiene; and if you are not able to quit your day job at the moment, it’ll also be your work time.

7. Do the same with ‘Need-To-Haves’

Things such as quiet ‘me-time’, exercise, quality time with your partner and/or kids. Block time for those activities with fixed schedule, such as dinnertime, or your yoga group, and pencil in those without a fixed schedule in the most typical slots.

8. List your ‘Have-Tos’ and pencil them into your calendar. ‘Have-Tos’ are things you feel you ‘have to’ do, such as:

“I have to clean my windows once a month”
“I have to visit my mother once a week for a couple of hours”
“I have to pick up my kids from school at 3pm”.
These activities are usually our commitments, social obligations, or our perception of what we should be doing.

9. On a separate piece of paper list your ‘Nice-To-Haves’

With the amount of time you usually spend on them. These are things such as outings with friends, non-essential shopping trips, beauty ‘me time’, etc.

10. Now, think of all your ‘Idle/Dead Time’ activities

Things you do without really doing anything, e.g. watching TV, browsing the Internet, commuting time. Write them down, together with an estimated time you spend on them per day or week.

11. Grab your Idle/Dead Time activities list.

What can you eliminate completely, or at least reduce the amount of time spent on some of them? Can you be more productive during those times, e.g. can you work on your ebooks while commuting? Make changes on your calendar to reflect your decisions.

12. Do the same for ‘Nice-To-Haves’.

See step 11 again.

13. Look at your ‘Have-Tos’. Can you dump any of these, or do it less often?

Can you delegate anything? Maybe do some time-sharing/swapping? E.g. share kids’ school runs with a friend? Get a cleaner or do your cleaning less often? Again, reflect these decisions in your calendar.

14. Look at your calendar.

Do you have enough time to slot in your new business related tasks?

If yes, congratulations! You have just scheduled your path to your own business without quitting your job!

If no, go back to step 5 and go over the following steps again. Consider outsourcing, downsizing, pushing deadlines further, cutting down on commitments. Rinse and repeat until you found the time you need.

And… That’s it. This is how you find time in your busy schedule without quitting your job.

If you’ve done this exercise honestly, and still haven’t found enough time to achieve your goal, stop trying. It’s probably the wrong time in your life, so don’t waste your energy and revisit this idea again at some point in the future.

But if you really want to make it happen now – grab a piece of paper and your calendar.

It’s time you find time to bring your business idea to the world.

About the author


Joanna Jast

Joanna Jast has recently quited her full-time hospital job to work for an edu tech startup. Excited with the learning opportunities entrepreneurship opens, she is learning fast and loves talking and listening about prototyping, bootstrapping and customer experience.

A waste-o-phobic and a self-improvement junkie by nature, she shares her passion for productivity, good habits and smart shortcuts with thousands of her Udemy students and the readers of her blog.

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