One of the biggest challenges new entrepreneurs face is life balance, the balancing of their personal life, a corporate job, as well as starting a business. This balancing act can be overwhelming and sometimes it can feel like you’re making no progress at all and you can often feel like you don’t have enough time.
Time is a man-made until of measure created to give a sense of order to things. The ironic thing about time is, we only have right now. Tomorrow and even the next hour from now do not exist at this present moment, but yet we feel that it has mastery over us. I know I have found myself thinking I don’t have enough time but over time I’ve grown to realise that what this really means is, I’m not making something a priority. Not having enough time is a tiny portion of the life balance issue that most entrepreneurs face.
Life balance is about saying yes to the things you really want and no to the things you don’t. This is where entrepreneurs struggle because they don’t really know what they want. If you’re not 100% clear on what you want out of life and business then you will be swayed by all the different voices in your life. I’ve definitely found this to be true in my own life, when I’m clear about what I want in my business, I’m more focused and determined but in these moments when I lose sight of my vision for my business, I start taking on things that don’t lead me where I want to go. As a result of not being clear, you can feel like you’re being pulled in all directions and are going around in circles not making any process. So, how do you juggle your corporate career, personal life, and your business without losing sight of what you want to achieve?
In order, to answer this question I will share with you eight tips to help you balance your corporate career, personal life, and create your dream business on the side. Yes, it’s possible to have a career, create a business, and have a personal life as well.
Get Clear on What it is You Really Desire and the Reason Why
Right now, I want you to stop and consider what you really desire in your life and business? What is it that you really want right now? Don’t just limit this to your business but look at your life as a whole. Consider how you want your business to look like in the future and how you want to be spending your time. Don’t set any limits for yourself, even if you think ‘this isn’t possible for me right now,’ write in down, allow yourself to dream without limitations. This exercise is purely for dreaming. Writer William Arthur Ward once said, ‘If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.’ My challenge to you is to get clear on what you really want. Pause the podcast right now and spend the next 15 minutes thinking about what you want and writing it down. A lot of the things I’ve desired in life and business and taken the time to write them down have been brought into my life because I started with this exercise and became intentional about what I wanted. Naturally, I had a part to play and took action but this step of clarity and intention helped pave the way. I would also recommend including this exercise in your morning routine to help you keep focused on your end goal.
Now that you’re back to the podcast after getting clear about what you want, it’s important to get clear on the reason why you want it. As a coach, I’ve noticed we can be great at getting clear about what we want, but so often we skip over the step of getting clear on the reason why achieving our dreams is so important. Just like before I want you to pause the podcast a write down every reason why achieving your dreams is so important. These reasons why, become your drive the push you need to take action no matter what, even when things get tough. When you lose sight of your reason why you can feel tempted to but things off until tomorrow or become discouraged and give up on your dream altogether. I would also recommend including this exercise in your morning routine to help you keep motivated every morning because motivation isn’t something you find only once, it’s something you seek out every day.
In my book SMARTER Goal Setting, I go into great detail on how to master the art of goal setting and create the life you want, and I discuss the importance of setting long terms goals and breaking them down into smaller goals or ‘sub-goals’. The process of breaking down goals into smaller bite-sized pieces helps you to avoid the overwhelm that comes with setting a large goal that looms in this distance. The simplest and most effective way of breaking down your goal is to ask yourself the following question: what do I need to do in order to achieve this goal? The answers to this question will help you create a list of all the steps required to achieve your goal. Once you have your complete list of small actionable steps focus on achieving one task at a time. Then from your list, set yourself a mini-goal each week.
When you first start out in business you can feel like you need to have everything up and running straight away. Once you have gotten clear on your business idea and defined your ideal clients, focus on finding your ideal clients and conducting target market research interviews. These interviews are a great way to start because they connect you with your ideal clients and you can offer a sales-pitch free complimentary session as a way of thanking them for their time. This helps you build your confidence as a service professional as well as getting first-hand information on what your ideal clients really want. Building relationships should be your focus to start with not having a perfect website. If a website is important to you, start with a simple page with an exciting opt-in offer to capture emails of potential ideal clients, and spend money on a good theme. Focus on building your website slowly over time, and providing value to your email list and on social media platforms.
Work on Your Business Over the Weekend
When you’re balancing a corporate job as well as creating a business it’s important to set aside time to grow your business and connect with clients. When I was balancing my corporate career in finance as well as my business, I chose to do this on a Sunday. I left Saturday free so I could relax, spend time with Roland and enjoy London. I made this agreement with him that I would work on my business during this time and we would still go out for Lunch together but we would return home so I could keep working on my business. I’m not saying you need to spend an entire day but maybe you might want to consider working in the evenings over the weekend and a couple during the week. The point to keep in mind is businesses aren’t created overnight, so you will need to consider a schedule that is realistic and sustainable as your business grows until you can leave the stability of your corporate career. The last thing you want to do is to become burned out by juggling it all. I became burned out and ended up being diagnosed with glandular fever, leading up to leaving my job to work on my business full time, not only was it the right time for me to leave but I tried to do too much too soon. I’m going to be really honest and tell you, that you will need to make a few sacrifices to create your dream business, but the key is to remind yourself of why these sacrifices will be worth it and what you’re working towards.
Create a Schedule
I know scheduling can sound really dull but it’s a great way to make sure you are making the most of your time as well as focusing your attention on what is really important to you. Look over your week on a Sunday evening and consider what you want to achieve as well as any events coming up for the week. The first step is to schedule in your non-negotiables like work, the commute, dinner, lunch and breakfast. The next step is to schedule in the time you want to spend on social activities, time with your loved ones, as well as time to work on your business even if it’s just one hour. Look over your schedule and make sure you’ve scheduled in time to relax or time just for you. You are your most important commodity and it’s important that you allow for self-care time. Self-care is more than just pampering yourself, it’s also about your mindset and mental health. If you want to know more about the topic of scheduling I talk about this is my book SMARTER Goal Setting as a strategy for achieving more of what you want.
Make Better Use of Your Downtime
When you’re balancing a corporate job as well as creating a business it’s important to set clear boundaries, setting aside time to grow your business and connect with clients, and this can be achieved by making use of your downtime. Before I quit my corporate job in finance, I decided to set clear boundaries for myself, because I found that I was spending long hours at work which left no time to spend with my boyfriend Roland, go to the gym, and build my business. I decided that with the exception of month end which was only three days per month, I would leave work at 5:30 pm and walk to Roland’s work where I would meet him. There would usually be a 30-minute wait, so I would use this time to work on a blog post or listen to a podcast. This boundary helped me to stick to my schedule and create that sense of balance in my life. I would also create content during the evening commute and I would do mindset work in the morning as I travelled to work on the tube.
How much downtime do you have in your week? What can you do to make better use of it? Create a list of things you could do during this time. If you’re not sure about how much downtime you have, make it your mission this week to take note of your downtime and how much you have, and what you could do during this time. Perhaps you might want to educate yourself using podcasts, draft an email for your email list, outline a blog post for the next week, or create content for social media?
One of the biggest lesson’s I’ve learned in regards to content creation is to always be one step ahead. If you’re blogging, filming videos, or podcasting, always be at least one step ahead of schedule. This helps you be more prepared for one-off events or situations that cannot be planned for, such as illness. This will also take the stress out of a looming deadline. A looming deadline can often force you to substitute value in place of getting something achieved before it’s due. In order to focus on adding value and creating great content be ahead of your schedule. Take a few moments right now, to consider how you can be ahead of schedule in your businesses content creation.
Hire a Virtual Assistant
This is something I really wished I did when I first started out in business. The simplest way to achieve a greater sense of balance in your life is to start outsourcing all of those things in your business that can be done by someone else and solely focus on those tasks that only you can do. I still don’t have a virtual assistant at this present point in my business but I am slowly building a list of tasks that can be done by someone else. Over the next few weeks, I want you to focus on creating a list of tasks that you can outsource. Once you have a complete list of tasks start talking to other entrepreneurs who have virtual assistants and find out how they started the hiring process.
As always, I have to ask: what’s one action you are going to take today to help you achieve a greater sense of life balance? How are you going to start implementing this action in your business and life, today? I want to hear your story. Let me know by sharing your story in the comments section below.