3 min read

How to Start a Side-Business When You Have No Time

What is in the way of setting up your side-business?
We all know the reasons.

“I have a full-time job, children to care for, parents who are getting older, friends that I never have time for.”

These are all real and important. They are the realities and joys of life. Yet, you’re reading this because you knew there is something else that matters too.

You have an idea, a dream, a deep unfulfilled potential.

But how do we find the time to pursue yet.another.thing?

It’s intimidating to read stories of people who ‘have it all’. Happy marriages, important careers, fun and influential networks and meaningful side-hustles that support their cute kids.

While all you want to do is fall asleep on the couch at the end of the day and peace out in front of the latest Netflix offering.

I hear you.

And it’s easy to get stuck in that.

Many of us believe we just need that.something.extra. If we only had two more hours in the day, a friendlier boss, that consistent meditation practice…

“Once I get that right, I’ll start my side project.”

Today, I want to offer an alternative.

I’ve seen people make time to build beautiful projects while leading busy lives, and others dedicating hours a day to an idea, while accomplishing nothing.

What’s the difference?

How do some people just seem to have more, when it comes to time, energy, ideas and tireless execution.

Check this process out and see what sticks.

1) Get Clarity

Let’s start with getting clear on what life really looks like.

Use RescueTime, an online app, to log and categorize your online behavior. It brings a level of awareness which is amazing. It will change how you spend your time.

Most people using it are surprised that the occassional facebook, youtubing, instagramming, checking online news add up to hours and hours a week. Small time periods add up.

What other things could you do with 7 hours?

Even if you don’t waste time online, you’ll learn interesting habits of your online work.

Bring this thinking into your offline world. Look at your current situation – what habits can you question? how does Your life – what could you do with commuting time,

Getting clarity on our time is the first step.

Understanding that we might have the possibility to change some of it is the second.

We all have 24 hours in a day.

Be lovingly discerning about yours.

2) Get Obsessed With Rituals

When finishing up a three-week detox a few months ago, I was surprised that my biggest lesson was not related to diet. It was in the power of my new behaviors. My new ritual.

Before committing to the detox; I set my intentions, bought the food I could eat, asked my friends to support me. And then, ready, set, go. In I went, head first. The first few days were tough, but I powered through.

One day, a friend asked: “So did you start that detox yet?” I heard myself reply; “Actually, I’m on day 13.” She was stunned.

How time flies regardless of effort

My insight was immediate:

When we ritualize behavior, magic happens.

Because time flies either way. And when we find a way to hack it and put in our best work every day? That is when change, and results, become inevitable.

Practice creating rituals in your life. Go vegetarian for 21 days, do 20 pushups every day for 21 days. Try new things, whatever gets you a little excited.

The idea here is to ritualize the behavior that drives the result you want.

For instance, many people have thanked their morning ritual for their productivity. Carve out and ritualize time every day to take one more step in the direction they’re headed (link to Babauta, momastery)

Even if it’s only 20 minutes. The power is in the ritual.

Nothing more, nothing less.

3) Eating Frogs

So, now that we’re all about ritualizing, what do we actually ritualize?

If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first. – Mark Twain

What does it mean to eat a frog?

It means that we prioritize our most important tasks first. This is true for your ‘real job’ as well as for your ‘real life’.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?

Big, important things that matter.

–> If you’re interested in productivity, get a free workbook here.

Having gained clarity on our online habits, we can see how easy it is to do busy or unimportant work. What’s your favorite way to do ‘important work that doesn’t matter’?

Mine is researching. Finding online project management tools, email automation programs and looking at new design ideas…. you get it. Work that feels like work, but it’s not really.

What brings my business forward?

A few years ago, it was coaching. It later turned into writing.

What is your one activity?

We get trapped in thinking we’re doing important work, yet it’s not.

Be kind enough to your future potential by calling yourself out.