Running a Business While Working Full-Time

Running a business takes guts, heart and hard work, and the return is worth it; you’ll have the benefit of steering a business you love! While we live out our entrepreneurial dreams, we also strive to maintain a work life balance that intertwines our business, our families and other priorities and pursuits. For some, that picture presents a completely full plate, and for others that full plate also includes a full-time job.

Running a Business While Working Full-Time | via the Rising Tide Society

Whether to pursue another career passion, maintain health benefits, or frankly to keep a bi-weekly paycheck, many creative entrepreneurs work a 9 to 5. With the amount of hours you put into both your job and business, you likely feel like you have 2 full-time careers. Perhaps some of you are working towards leaving your full-time job to go completely full-time with your business. Others of you may prefer to manage both your business and full-time job as long as possible. In either scenario, I’m sure you ask yourself often how can I do both better; manage my business while working full-time?

For the past 3+ years, I’ve been doing just that…running my wedding planning and design company, while working full-time in government statistics. The two paths are like night and day, right?! I’ll be honest, there have been times when I’ve struggled with doing both. In order to manage my responsibilities and give the best to my clients, family as well as myself, I had to come up with a plan for my sanity. This involved deciding what was most important to me in all areas of life and business. From there, focusing on better efficiency and time management was the key to finally achieving a level of balance with work and business that minimized stressed and increased productivity.

3 Tips for Running a Business While Working Full Time

I made successful strides in running my business, while working full-time, when I implemented these 3 tips:

1) Quality Over Quantity – Fact is, you aren’t able to devote full, uninterrupted work days to your business, and that’s ok. Therefore, it’s important to decide how much you can really take on without burning out. Additionally, you must consider the time it takes to produce quality work. For example, in my line of business as an event planner, it would be far better for me to perhaps produce 6 amazing weddings a year, rather than 30 where my level of service and delivery might be questionable due to the work overload. It’s important not to put a lot of focus on how much or how little others in your industry are doing, but instead focus on your core values, what’s on your plate, and what you can realistically manage. Quality work and rest go hand in hand, so rather than working yourself to complete exhaustion to keep up with unattainable business results, focus on doing the best you can with the time you have. Building an amazing business will get you further than being booked to capacity.

2) Scheduling – When you determine how many hours of the day and week you’ll devote to your business, be sure to plan out what you will do on each of those days. Setting timeframes for emails, producing work, blogging and more, will help you run your business like a business, instead of being in catch up mode all the time. It is important to be open and candid with your clients about your business hours and the days and times you are available in a given week. It’s important that they know what to expect regarding communication and service. For instance, I take some evening and weekend appointments, to make up for limited availability during the day, which my clients happen to love because they work as well. Implementing meeting scheduling online for my clients through Setmore has also been a favored tool. It’s key to be strategic and intentional with your time, which ultimately creates routines that promote success.

3) Systems – Working smarter and not harder is huge for balancing business and work. Having systems and/or apps for your workflow, contracts, bookkeeping, social media management and all key components for your business is crucial for success. For example, why rewrite the same email over and over when you receive new business inquiries; instead, create canned messages or questionnaires to save time. Your time is valuable, and it must be used wisely. Some systems that have really helped me are: 17Hats for bookkeeping and project management, Aisle Planner for wedding planning, Later for social media management, and Canva for document creation. Anything that allows you to automate and streamline your processes will help save time and foster productivity.   

I hope these 3 tips help you to achieve more balance and efficiency in running your business, while you work full-time. When you create your own business, you must be willing to create your own rules. What other tips would you add to this list?

Shalyce Tyson

I am a proud Marylander, who enjoys planning and designing stylish, sophisticated and sensational weddings and soirees throughout my local area and beyond. Since 2012, I pursued my passion professionally through my company, Sensational Soirees. The best part of my job is connecting with my clients beyond planning, and bringing their dreams to reality. I also enjoy sharing event highlights, inspirations, tips and all things sensational on my blog. The mantra "live, laugh, love" is how I approach each day, and sharing my life with my husband and our two amazing kids is my greatest joy!

14 comments

  1. Great tips, its all about planning. I am a freelance makeup artist in Northern VA area and also work as a full time associate producer, so my days can be totally crazy…thank you for sharing these great tips.

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  2. Such great tips. As a full time mom and photographer I need all the help I can get!

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    1. Thanks Kelly, glad you found it helpful! I’m a mama too, so I love sharing ways for us to balance it “all”.

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  3. Awesome! But I have to say that I don’t regret leaving my job to make my business my full time+ job! It took years of hard work and dedication to get there. Hats off to everyone building their dream!

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    1. Thanks Shanna, glad you liked the article! Yes so many are putting in the hard work to one day go full-time with their business, myself included. Happy to hear you reached that awesome milestone!

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  4. Wow! Awesome tips! I am not a business owner but work a boat load of hours in ministry and many of these principles can apply beautifully to that realm of service as well. Great article!

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  5. I struggled working full-time and running my business, mostly because I was very disorganized and mismanaged my time. I never seemed to find a balance between the two and always gave more to my job than to my dreams. Thanks for showing us how possible it is to have both.

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  6. Thanks for the great tips. As a newbie starting out in the event industry, it’s nice to hear that a seasoned planner struggled with the same issues.

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  7. These are good tips for balancing the job and business, but I think another aspect many struggle with is finding that “9-5” which actually works for them alongside starting their own business. I may have a somewhat one sided view because so many of my friends in this situation are millennials and for us it isn’t a matter of having an established career and choosing to start a business on the side to utilize our passion. It’s a matter of coming out of college with debt and a degree that a million other people have a no clear direction. So we wind up working the kind of job that isn’t a 9-5 at all. It’s usually a service industry job with irregular hours, working nights and weekends, and holidays, with very little financial flexibility or even good benefits. But we literally can’t afford not to work while struggling to find the time to start our passion based businesses. Does anyone have advise or good resources for finding and getting a better, more fulfilling day job without sacrificing your creative dreams? Because right now it feels like my day job is so demanding, unpredictable and unrewarding that it’s leaving me with nothing left to give my own business. But the job itself also doesn’t offer any worthwhile upward mobility. And sadly I have a better job than many of my peers.

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    1. Glad you found this post helpful! Also, thank you Shanna for sharing your thoughts and another area where many struggle. You make a very good point, as not all full-time careers are ‘9 to 5’ or flexible. The road of working full-time or even part-time while running a business is definitely not always easy; I will be the first to admit it. The most helpful thing for me was realizing I could do many great things, but not everything, as it related to my business. While I would love to work with every amazing client who walks through the door, I simply can’t at this stage while still working full-time…and that’s ok. I focus on the ‘quality’ at this stage, while maximizing the time I do have, and not the ‘quantity’. Stay encouraged!

      Reply

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