Getting a good work-life balance is an increasing challenge for many employees. To get on in a career, many people feel they have to work long hours and take their work home with them.
To counter this, an increasing number of people are looking at starting an online business.
However, many people starting an online business are not lifelong entrepreneurs or business owners. Instead, they are working a full-time job and trying to build their online business in their spare time. As Nick Loper would call it “your side hustle”.
This presents some challenges, which not only threaten the success of the business venture but also the wellbeing of the individual. Here are some things to look out for:
Partner and Family Stress
When someone works as an employee, they usually work consistent 9-5 hour day and leave their work behind in the evenings and on the weekends. Enter the new online business. Now that budding entrepreneur is all fired up and works on into the evening and weekends on this shiny new business. This can be a bit of a shock to the rest of the family who doesn’t necessarily have the same understanding of or enthusiasm for the online business and its potential.
If you are that new online entrepreneur, you need to take some steps to protect your relationships and avoid resentment building. Here are some suggestions.
1) Discuss your plans with your partner and explain how this business can benefit them in the long run. Make sure they are on board and have the same goals. If you want to build up a business so you can have the freedom to travel the World, whereas your partner is happy staying local with family and friends, you are going to struggle to get support. Even if you agree on what you want, you need to both understand and agree on the time commitment and the timescales to see results.
2) Plan your time carefully and make sure there is time for the family. Agree on when you will be working on the online business. Maybe you get up early if you are more creative in the mornings. Alternatively, work after the kids have gone to bed if you are a bit of a night owl. Take a night off and take your partner out and try to keep at least one day at the weekend totally free for the family.
Even when you have everything planned out and agreed with the family, you are still going to be putting in extra work hours that used to be reserved for relaxation. This can create fatigue which can affect both your full-time job and your online business. It can certainly stunt your creativity which is so important for writing great content.
Again, there are steps you can take to stop this happening.
1) Plan that personal and family time.
2) Try meditation or yoga. You may be skeptical about this, but meditation is practiced by the majority of successful online entrepreneurs. Not only is it relaxing, it can help with sleep and also focus. There are a couple of great apps that will help guide you. Try “Headspace” or “Insight Timer” if you want to try it out. If meditation isn’t working for you, try enrolling in a yoga class.
3) Sleep regular hours and make sure you get at least 7 hours of sleep every night, preferably more. If you are a late night worker, get yourself some glasses to cut out white light from computer screens and tablets. I recommend visiting www.swanwicksleep.com to get more information on these and also excellent sleep advice. I use an app called “sleep cycle” that monitors your sleep and also wakes you at the best time in your sleep cycle.
Loss of Motivation
This can be a knock-on effect of burn out or family stress. It can also be caused by choosing a niche that you aren’t really passionate about or not setting realistic goals. Solutions for this are more obvious, but they should be addressed early.
1) Carefully select a niche that you are passionate about. Get it wrong and you could waste a lot of time spinning your wheels or worse, be put off online business before you find your true calling. Pat Flynn’s book “Will it Fly” is an excellent resource for choosing and testing a niche to make sure it is something you are likely to stick with through thick and thin. I recommend you check it out.
2) Set realistic expectations and goals. Learn from others who have set up similar online businesses. Understand how long they took to build their business and the challenges they overcame. If you know what to expect, you will be better prepared for setbacks and know how to come out on the other side.
3) Understand that failures and setback often come before success.
Impact on your Day Job
Most people start their online business alongside an existing career. It is almost a requirement unless you find yourself unemployed or you are a lifetime entrepreneur. One of the main challenges with this is when your full-time job, and main source of income, suffers in some way.
This may be because you spend so much time focused on your new online business, that you don’t give your full-time job enough attention. You may make mistakes or miss deadlines. You can drift away at meetings or just lose interest.
If if you are working too hard on your online business, you may come to work tired. This will again lead to mistakes and poor results.
Another thing to be careful about is going too public with your new venture. Ironically, an online business that you want people to see may come to the attention of your boss, who may not appreciate you dedicating yourself to something other than what he pays you to do.
The solutions may appear obvious and here they are:
1) When you are at work, make that your focus.
2) Take the steps I recommend above to avoid burn out. Get plenty of sleep.
3) Don’t do things that will draw attention to your online business from your employer. Don’t brag about your business to colleagues. Avoid putting photos on your blog site initially. Definitely, don’t put that you hate your boss and your job in the About me section…
I hope you find this information helpful. If nothing else it will help you avoid unnecessary stress when setting up your online business alongside a full-time job. If anybody has any other challenges and solutions, please add them in the comments below.