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So you want to start a profitable online business.
But you already have a full-time job or you already have kids at home with you all day.
You have other things going on in your life and you’re just thinking:
How in the world am I going to find the time to build this business, while I have all of this stuff going on at the same time?
That’s exactly what we’re going to talk about today.
I decided to write this post after it was requested in the comments of one of my YouTube videos.
It can feel hard trying to find the time when you’re not super tired to actually work on this business that you’re trying to grow.
I already wrote a post on how to stay organised as a content creator.
And I also wrote recently on how to stay motivated to create content, so that you can keep up that consistency more easily.
Can you work a 9 to 5 and be an entrepreneur? Is it possible to start a business while working 9 to 5?
Absolutely, you can have a 9-5 and be an entrepreneur on the side.
In this post we are going to talk about how to find those pockets of time, so that you can still work on your business and grow, while having a full-time job or kids, or whatever your circumstances may be.
Obviously, it will be so much easier for you to grow an online business if you do have a lot of time to dedicate to this.
Of course, if you don’t have a lot of that time it will be a bit harder, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not doable.
Even if you have little time, you can still grow a successful online business.
Yes, it might take longer, it might take more effort, but it is possible and so worth it.
Feel free to watch this video on how to start a business while working full time, or keep reading below:
How many hours a day do you need to start a business?
You do not need a lot of hours a day to start and grow an online business. Even just finding a few hours each week (for example: 3-4 hours a week) can help your business grow massively as long as you keep consistent at it.
How I started blogging while working a 9-5
Before I started doing this online business thing full time, I was actually a translator.
That’s what I did as my 9-5. I did work from home a lot, but it was basically a 9 to 5.
During that time, I had already started this blog, but I wasn’t really posting much. I was barely doing anything on it.
I had a lot of anxiety at the time, I had this fear of failure, fear of what others might say.
I didn’t even tell anyone I started a blog in the beginning.
And I just played it very safe.
So I had this blog and YouTube channel in the background. And I just had this thought in my mind that “if it ever grows, then I’ll feel confident enough to create more”.
I would say to myself: “if it ever makes money that would be great”.
But it wasn’t at all a focus of mine.
I didn’t even put a lot of effort into it.
I was just kind of expecting it to get a bit viral or to somehow start growing and only then I would invest more time.
This is obviously not how you’re going to grow a blog or any platform for that matter.
You need to put in the effort before it starts growing.
Then what happened was I had my baby and I suddenly realized I don’t want to do this anymore.
I don’t want to do that 9-5 anymore, because that would mean I would have to put my baby in childcare all day. And I would miss all of that time with him.
I feel like that gave me a really big push to focus on this online business a lot more.
And I realised I didn’t want to wait anymore to see if it ever magically goes viral.
I wanted to put in real effort to make it work as soon as possible.
I truly think it is this mindset thing that makes the biggest difference.
So I started working more seriously on my business.
I was trying to learn as much as possible from free content, because I didn’t want to invest in anything at that point.
I didn’t get any courses until way later in the game, which I do regret a bit because I feel like I would have gotten there so much faster.
You know how it is – you live and you learn.
So I created a plan and I made it work.
Eventually, it took me 8 months from when I started to put in that consistent serious effort to finally grow from 0 monthly page views, all the way to a 100,000+ monthly pages.
That leap meant that I could make an income from this and I could simply not need to have that 9-5 job anymore.
That was just the ultimate goal for me.
All of this pretty much happened while I was on that maternity leave at home with my baby.
And the crazy thing is that I had way less time after I had my baby to work on this online business, so much less time than I had before him.
Looking back, even when I had that 9 to 5, I actually had a lot of time that I could dedicate to my blog, but I didn’t because I didn’t have the drive to do it.
I could have easily woken up an hour earlier, I could have stayed up an hour later to work on my blog.
Even if it was just 30 minutes to an hour a day, that’s still a lot of time in a week to work on your blog. You could still put out 1 blog post per week or even 2 blog posts per week once you get going and get in that flow.
You might want to also read this post on how many blog posts per week you need to write in order to grow faster and make money blogging.
The time I actually had available to work on my blog, once I had my baby, was only during nap times, which were very sporadic (this was only maybe 1-2 hours a day) and then after his bedtime.
And yes, I was also tired, because you are absolutely going to be shattered after a day with a baby.
But I do think having that hunger for it, having that really deep desire to make this work is what’s going to motivate you to actually stay disciplined enough and do the work on your blog, even if you don’t always feel like it.
5 Steps to start an online business while working full time (or being a full time mum)
I’m going to give you 5 steps that I think are really important to make this work for you, especially if you have a full-time job, if you are a busy mum or if you simply have limited time.
1. Make a business plan
The first step is to have a very clear business plan and strategy.
You’re going to need to know how you’re going to attract your audience, what platforms you’re going to use, what content you’re going to create for them.
It truly is so important when you’re creating content, whether that’s a blog post, a YouTube video, an Instagram post, whatever it might be – it always needs to go back to your audience.
What do they want?
What do they need help with?
What are they struggling with?
Most often, your platform, your channel, your blog – it will not actually be about you, it will be about your audience.
Of course, all the content is presented through your own experiences and your own stories, but it is mostly about them. It’s how you can help them.
When it comes to picking your platforms, I don’t recommend focusing only on platforms like Instagram or Facebook.
Those are platforms that you don’t own and they’re not long form either.
Short form content is great for nurturing your audience and building that connection. So I’m not saying it’s a bad idea to start an Instagram account (duh).
I’m just saying it shouldn’t be your sole focus.
I do recommend having a more long-form platform as well, such as a blog or a YouTube channel, or maybe a podcast.
After you attract this audience, you start getting some views, you’ll want to focus on how you’re going to build that trust and connection with them. How you’re going to nurture them and how you’re going to help them through your content.
Then the next thing that you need to include here in your business plan is how you’re going to monetise.
It doesn’t mean you’re going to know from the very beginning everything, because you’re not.
You will likely change this in time, but it is important to have a monetary goal that you’re trying to reach with your blog, your channel, whatever it might be, and how you’re going to get there.
If you want to sell a course – how many courses do you need to sell a month to get to that goal?
Or if you want to make money from ads, how many views do you need to get a month to get to that goal?
I think it’s really important to have a plan to monetise further down the line, even if you’re not making any money from your blog yet.
This all will be a rough idea of what you’re going to work on in the next few months.
2. Have a clear weekly or monthly schedule
The second step is to have a clear daily or weekly schedule that you’re trying to follow.
For this step, I recommend using Trello boards, that’s what I use myself and it really helps me. (or any other online planning system you prefer, such as Asana, ClickUp etc.)
In Trello I create my monthly schedule and workflows for my projects. And then I like to create to-do lists on my phone.
I share my exact process in this post on how to stay organised as a content creator or blogger.
3. Find your own pockets of time
Step 3, which is probably one of the most important ones, is to find your own pockets of time.
Because you might say to yourself: “well I don’t have time for this side business”.
But if you really look at it, you probably do have a lot of time that you’re using in other ways, that could instead be put to use to grow this business.
One exercise that you can do is to try for a full week (or even just for a day) to write down – on a notepad, on your phone or on your laptop – what you do every single hour on those days in a week.
Once you do this exercise, you will be able to see how you are actually using your time.
And I’m not trying to make anyone feel bad, because I do this too, but sometimes you find yourself mindlessly scrolling on Instagram for an hour and then realising you could have used that time to actually write a blog post.
I’m not saying you need to replace every single thing in your day that’s not productive with working on your business, because that’s not sustainable.
You do need that downtime as well.
But I do think you will find lots of little pockets of time that you could use for your business, even if you are busy, even if you have that 9 to 5.
This exercise can make you realise: “oh, I actually do have 1 or 2 hours a day to work on this” or “maybe I do have 30 minutes this day to work on this thing”.
And this can really add up.
Even if it’s just 30 minutes a day, in a week that will be more than 3 hours.
That little time accumulates and makes a difference in the long run.
I’ll give you some examples of pockets of time, in case you need some extra inspiration on where to find them:
- You could try to wake up one hour earlier. This is something that has never really worked for me very well, because my son is not a regular waker. Sometimes he wakes early, sometimes late, so it’s not a good one for me. And he might actually wake up if he hears me. But it might be something that works for you.
- You could take 1 or 2 hours after your kids’ bedtime, after your work, after you’ve had dinner, to work on your blog.
- If you have kids, again, you could use that nap time. Whether that’s 1 hour or 2 hours a day, that is a lot of time that adds up long term.
- You could use your weekend to work on your business. If you have a full-time job, you have no other time to dedicate to this and you feel like after you come home from your job you’re just so exhausted you cannot work on your business, then maybe try using your weekend. It doesn’t mean you have to use your entire weekend and not do anything fun. But maybe take 3-4 hours on a Saturday morning. Wake up early, just like you would for your job, do 3-4 hours of work on your business, and then enjoy the rest of your weekend. If you are a mum like myself, sometimes if I have something I really want to work on, I will ask my husband to take a our son to the playground or park in the morning. And I’ll have a few hours to work on my business
- If you are a mum who’s sitting in her car a lot in between various school activities, afternoon clubs for kids or anything along those lines, maybe try to use that time in a productive way. Because there are things you can do even from your car. Even if you don’t take your laptop with you, you could do a lot of things on just your phone. You could write down the outline for a blog post on your phone. You could film some Instagram reels. You could film some short videos. You could maybe write captions for your future Instagram posts. There are a lot of things that you can do from your phone, it’s just about truly wanting to find that time and to make it work for your lifestyle.
It is also really important here to have a plan beforehand.
Yes, you will find those pockets of time.
But you also need to have a plan on exactly what you’re going to do with those pockets of time.
Because say you have an hour to work on your blog.
If you sit down and you’re staring at your laptop and you’re just then pondering what you could do with that hour, that’s most likely not going to be productive.
I can already tell you you’re probably going to waste a lot of the time, because I know I have done that in the past too.
What really helps me is to have a to-do list beforehand, so that I know exactly what I’m going to work on.
4. Create content faster
The 4th step is to try your best to create content faster.
This is something that’s not going to come easy and, of course, at first it is going to take you a long time to create those first few blog posts or videos.
And that’s fine.
You will get better at it and you will get more efficient.
The reason why a lot of people take too long to create content (and why I did that too in the especially in the beginning) is because you are constantly overanalysing every piece of content you put out there.
You’re constantly maybe re-filming those reels, because you feel like they’re not perfect.
You’re rewriting those blog posts, because you’re worried of how it might come across or what others might say.
That overthinking and overanalysing leads you to take so much longer to create a piece of content than it should.
But once you realise this and try to work on your mindset around those fears of what others might say, that’s when it will actually get easier and it will get faster for you to create content.
I also have this cool hack for you on how to write blog posts fast (3,000 words per hour).
5. Keep up the motivation
The 5th step is something that will really help you if you’re trying to build this business while you already have that full-time job or have kids or are generally busy.
That is to create a vision board for yourself.
And I don’t just mean put some cute pictures here and there.
I mean actually think about it.
Think about what you want your life to look like and why you’re growing this business.
Why are you doing this?
How are you going to help your family?
Or what is your life going to look like when you manage to turn this online business into your full-time thing?
Put that on a vision board.
And whenever you feel unmotivated, you feel like you’re too tired to work on this business, look at that board and remind yourself of why you are doing this.
That is honestly so important to keep you motivated and to keep you going.
Otherwise you might just sit at your laptop and feel like “what’s even the point of this”.
So when you feel like that, you can go to that vision board and remind yourself: “oh this is why I’m doing this. This is why I’m putting in the effort, even though I’m tired. Because I want to reach that life”.
I hope this post on how to start an online business while working full time was helpful.
Where are you in your online business at the moment?
Have you started? Are you looking to start one?