by Emily Ley of Emily Ley Paper
Many entrepreneurs (myself included) start their businesses in the wee hours of the morning, when the little ones are tucked away (and for me, by little ones, I mean my sweet 130lb Bull Mastiff, Briggs, and 15lb Boston Terrier, Harley Bogart), the house is cleaned and the day-job is completed for the time being. A need for a creative outlet, a passion to live what they love and desire to be able to spend more time with family – all many reasons entrepreneurs find the courage to follow their dream.
Is it easy? Nope. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Navigating the waters of having TWO full time jobs is exhausting and at times just downright painful.
This is something I didn’t talk about for the first year and a half of my business. I didn’t want my clients to know that I had a full time job – I didn’t want them to think I wasn’t devoted to them or had enough time to spend with them. I also didn’t want my full time job to think I wasn’t dedicated. I needed that income to get my business off the ground. But as of late, I’ve found that sharing my experiences with other dream-chasers is extremely beneficial and empowering. It aint easy, folks! And those of you who are chasing a dream bigger than you are and managing a full time job as a teacher, an accountant, or even a FULL TIME MOM (I don’t know how you do it) – this is for you.
I want to share a few tips for those of you who are in this same situation. When I started ELP in late 2008, I held a full time job (and still do). I work 8-5 as a fundraiser for the ninth largest University in the nation. I also wake up at 6am, answer emails, finish getting orders ready to ship (lunchtime FedEx run), get ready, and head to my day job. (I used to say “real job”, but it just wasn’t fitting). During lunchtime, I’m off to FedEx to deliver FedEx packages (I use their online system to print and pay for postage – saves time on my lunch break). Or I head to Staples (next door, thankfully) for any office supplies or Panera with my MacBook Air to catch up on any projects or emails. After work, I’m back home – a quick dinner for the husband and me, and then its back to work until 1 or 2am on a good night. Do I work weekends? You betcha.
The key to having two full time jobs is compartmentalization and organization. I make a list every morning of what needs to be done that day at some point in time. I review that list almost every night and prioritize for the following day. I’ve found that if I keep myself organized and I have a plan, I’m better able to balance my two roles. I’ve also learned (this is/was very hard for me) how to compartmentalize my projects and issues for both jobs. I know that my success in one directly affects my success in the other and vice-versa.
The big question. When will I leave my full time position to pursue my dream wholeheartedly? The wholeheartedly part already happened. 🙂 The full time part already happened. But when will I free my time to focus 100% on ELP? My husband and I have a goal in mind. That goal, the place we need ELP to be, is the fire that keeps me going when I feel that “burn out” starting to creep up. It draws nearer with each day that I manage this balance.
So a few key points to take away for all you multiple hat wearers (and this applies to anyone who is a Mom/Biz owner as well! I can’t imagine a BIGGER full time job!)
- Stay organized: Make lists.
- Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize. Sometimes the emails can wait when a movie and popcorn with the family is calling your name.
- Utilize tools like your iPhone Calendar (I’m a tech-junkie, so I RELY on mine heavily) and out of office message for your email (when you’re at the “day job”).
- SIMPLIFY. Organize your workflow so that you spend precious time on the most important part of your job – working with your clients.
- Educate yourself: Read The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, one of my favorite books of all time. It really makes you think about the precious minutes of your day and how you can consolidate to do more in less time.
- Be patient. Remember that it takes time to build an empire. Invest yourself wholeheartedly into your business when you can. Build relationships with your clients. Be authentic.
- Work SMARTER not HARDER.
I know that we at Oh My Handmade Goodness would love to hear your stories – what are you tips for managing your many roles as a wife, friend, employee, business owner, mother or all of the above?