For the majority of people wanting to start a business, the reality of working a 9 to 5 job while side-hustling is real. If you’re in this position, don’t despair – in fact many experts believe that starting a new business while you’re still employed elsewhere gives you more chance of success. But how do you get that business to the point where it’s your career?
Many people reading this article are probably working as an employee by day while trying to get their business off the ground at night. The fact is that many new businesses start off as side-hustles for their owners. Unless you’ve made a lot of money previously and managed to stash it away, there really isn’t any other choice. Here’s five traits we think you’ll want to leverage in order to achieve success:
Trait # 1 – Organisation: To turn a side-hustle into a full-time business while you’re still working will require strong organisation skills. In Lorraine Murphy’s book ‘Get Remarkably Organised’ she talks about the cornerstone of success at work and home as being organised – but this doesn’t have to be boring or difficult. Being organised can be as simple as developing some new habits that help prevent or address future problems. Lorraine talks a lot about being kind to your ‘future self’ and this really comes down to being organised enough that you’re thinking about ‘future you’ to predict and address these potential problems before they’ve even occurred. Some simple habits of organised people include: writing things down, diarising and scheduling tasks, making deadlines and sticking to them, not procrastinating, giving items a home and making sure you put them away, cleaning up regularly, living in an uncluttered way (that includes decluttering regularly and getting rid of the unnecessary), not accumulating more ‘stuff’, delegating some tasks, and making time for yourself (and sticking to it).
Trait # 2 – Time Management: There is a popular adage often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, the father of time management, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. Now is definitely the time to work smarter not harder! Knowing how you spend your time is key to success since there are only 24 hours in the day. When you’re working a full-time job, eight of these are probably already taken. Add in commute time, eating, sleeping and all the other necessary tasks related to living and there aren’t many hours left to work on your business. We have talked before about managing time – with our previous article 10 Time Management Tips to Improve Your Productivity providing some more detail. Our general tips include planning your day, focusing on one thing at a time, establishing routines, setting deadlines, switching off technology, and saying no! If all else fails track how long you spend on certain tasks for a few days then eliminate, delegate, and consolidate where you can.
Trait # 3 – Process Focused: Having a structured plan and goal(s) is key to success. You need to know what your business looks like before you can do this – so take some time to define how your business needs to look in order for you to make it your full-time work. Then think about everything you need to do to get there. There are some great resources online to help with this. Many business planning articles online include lengthy business planning templates which isn’t necessarily the best option. Having a business plan that is clear, simple, and useful in helping you move forward is what you need. I love the website ‘Flying Solo’ for small business tips. There’s a whole section on business planning with a couple of articles that really caught my attention being ’Do I really need a business plan’ and the ’9 step business plan’ (see step 6 for a particularly relevant look at structure).
Trait # 4 – Decisiveness: ‘Just do it’ is a great concept and one that I love when it comes to business. A common trait amongst many successful business owners and entrepreneurs is that they take action with a sense of urgency and importance. When you are in the early business start-up phase, there isn’t really any room for procrastination. Whilst you don’t want to be impulsive or reckless, you do need to know how to prioritise, make decisions quickly, and take action immediately.
Trait # 5 – Ability to Change: An open-minded approach to constantly change, adapt and learn is essential in business. Never assume that you know everything and approach situations with a willingness to learn from the experience. The world is changing rapidly and to succeed in business today, you need to know so much more than you did 10 or even five years ago. The pace of technological change alone means the way we do things today is often replaced with something new and better tomorrow. In addition, new businesses are relatively easy to start up so competitors can pop up overnight. Understand and learn about new ideas around potential businesses, people skills, efficiency, and workflows – and most importantly be flexible to change and adapt whenever it makes sense.
The road to achieving a successful business can be difficult to begin with but like most other big things in life, it can be enormously rewarding. If you work hard and take some well thought out risks, you may be pleasantly surprised to see where your ‘side hustle’ takes you.
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