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How to be a productive entrepreneur (and keep your day job)


Entrepreneurship can improve productivity
Photo by Avi Richards on Unsplash

Finding the time for productive work on your business idea, project or side hustle can be tough. Everyone talks about work life balance, but if you’re working late on your dreams when your partner or kids are in bed sleeping. Work-life-balance may seem a distant dream.


Don’t be one of the 50% of businesses that fail in the first 5 years; avoid common reasons why entrepreneurs often fail.


What if your day job feels like it’s too much to handle?


If your day job is consuming, you need find a way to increase your day job efficiency and work on your business during your daily downtime and spare time. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can you work on anything before or after your day job?

  • Can you delegate or outsource any of your day job responsibilities?


If all else fails you will need to improve your overall productivity and efficiency, as we all only get 24 hours in the day. By working two jobs, you’re trying to do what others would not dare to try, which means you might need to do something that is different to get the best results.


Be aware you may have signed an employment contract, which may provide ownership of any intellectual property or businesses started during your employment.


You might feel forced into working 24 hours a day to remain competitive, but that's not the best way to progress with your business goals.


Find the time to work on your business?

Time management is the key to your business success, but it takes discipline to find the time to meet your objectives.


It’s difficult to manage your entrepreneurial workload and your day-to-day commitments, but it’s impossible. You might need to sacrifice some free time, miss social events or rearrange responsibilities to meet your business commitments.


Focus on your customer before everything else

When working a day job and running a business, it’s best to concentrate on your customer and their needs. Finding the most productive small business marketing resources can help your customer engage with your business.


Your customer will identify the areas of the business where you could be failing to meet promises, customer service or product quality, etc. Your customers will notice any impact in your business almost immediately and focusing on the important areas will help you to maintain your business.


What else can you do to reduce day job pressure?

The continuous battle between day job, relationship and your entrepreneurial expectations can be overpowering for anyone. The need to “get things done” for your employer and your business is a constant pressure, which can damage your business dreams.


You must lean into the pressure without feeling feeling overwhelmed. It’s difficult for everyone but it’s something that many small business owners face on a daily basis.


You can look after yourself and be productive

You need to focus on your personal and professional wellbeing without impacting your business.


Productivity might not be the only reason for physical or psychological burnout. However, trying to cram multiple responsibilities into the same life can be exhausting.


Being more productive does not mean doing as much work as possible. The work will also need to be of a reasonable quality for you to complete your actions in any meaningful way. Working over and above the norm can lead to burn out.


Putting in unproductive hour after unproductive hour is not a recipe for business success.


Remain focused on your mission and goals

You simply need to make your dreams of business success a priority, so you can schedule your business goals and tasks alongside your life. This may not be easy, but if working on your business is something that you truly believe will make you happy then you will need to make the effort to find the time to complete your business activities.


Productivity can be increased with help and support

Finding co-founders, freelancers, personal assistants, employees or friends and family to work for the business is one way to increase productivity. If you have multiple team members working in your mission. You can take the time to encourage and demonstrate to your staff the key business metrics.


Making your work meaningful and substantial

Putting in the hours without the quality is a waste of your time and energy.

Mindless work will not move your business forward. It makes more sense for you to concentrate on completing you prioritised activities before making a large list and trying to complete more work than you’re physically able to complete.


You will feel that you have accomplished more when you have crossed off an action item that will have a significant impact on your business and overall objectives. Organise your activities in a way that will help you to complete your actions and will not damage your efforts to complete the larger goals.


Limit any possibility of self-sabotage with commitment

There are many reasons for business failure, but self-sabotage should not be one of them. You need to focus on your personal and professional wellbeing without impacting your business.


Many entrepreneurs have the ability to negatively impact their performance and success. If you have the potential to move from one project to another without any clear focus or commitment...This is you!


The way to reduce this impact on your entrepreneurial journey is to fully commit to your current project and work as productively as possible until you have exhausted all options to overcome your challenges.


Why you should focus on a single entrepreneurial project

There are always other options for your when you have made your current business a success. Working on a variety of businesses will undoubtedly reduce your effectiveness across all of the businesses. This is often an emotional issue for entrepreneurs that have poured their heart and soul into their different projects.


Unfortunately, if you’re competing against other fully committed business owners it will be more difficult for you to compete over the long-term. It’s not a certainty, but it’s something that can reduce your effectiveness when spreading your work, effort and thoughts across multiple projects.


Concentrate on actions rather than words

There is nothing wrong identifying with a group of side hustlers or entrepreneurs. You might start attending entrepreneurial events, networking and meeting people with a similar mindset. All of this is healthy and useful as you will need likeminded people who understands your lifestyle and your challenges.


However, there is a downside to associating with entrepreneurs and calling yourself a business owner when you don’t have a business or customers. Receiving external recognition for your entrepreneurial status can sometimes feel almost as good as the real thing.


It can be easy to get swept away with the feeling of being a business owner when the realities of real business ownership might not be as glamorous as you first thought.


This is when you should concentrate on meeting your actions and gradually moving towards your objectives. If you improve over the long-term it’s almost inevitable you get closer to your entrepreneurial goals.


Saying you’re an entrepreneur might be a good feeling, but becoming a real entrepreneur with a real business and real customers will feel better.


Build your discipline to meet your commitments

Developing your discipline to meet your commitments is fundamental to becoming a productive entrepreneur. Focusing on your actions and working towards deadlines is a major part of business ownership.


Your business will not last if you fail to meet your commitments. That’s why your personal productivity must be concentrated on yourself before anything else. You have the power to move your business forward and you will only do that with productive work.


Spreading your time between a day job and your side hustle is a delicate balancing act. You should consider very carefully before making spur of the moment life decisions.


Some final thoughts before you leave

Entrepreneurship and productivity are uneasy partners. Both are needed for a business to thrive, but it’s tempting for entrepreneurs with a day job to work on ‘feeling’ like an entrepreneur without the real business.


The key to getting your enterprise off the ground is knowing how to work hard and smart. The best entrepreneurs in the world know how to work smart, but the truly break-out business owners will work hard and smart at the same time.


Having a focus on the main areas of business ownership, such as leadership, marketing, success and starting a business knowledge and skills. This will help you to get into a position where you can not only complete your actions and meet your commitments, but you can focus your business in the right direction.

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