Less than four years ago I was launching my Etsy shop while working full time as a receptionist at an insurance company. I knew my side hustle had the potential to become my full time job, but also knew it would take a lot of work and sacrifice to get to that point. For almost two years I had to manage both, before going part time at my receptionist job. Eventually I did turn the side hustle into the full time hustle, but the road to getting there wasn’t easy.
Everyone has a different risk tolerance and there are people who are ready to jump into their solopreneur jobs earlier than others. My Etsy shop started as a hobby and it made sense to keep my full time job until it grew more. I learned a lot while working full time and managing my side hustle, mostly how important time is and ways to maximize it by prioritizing.
Let’s face it, we could all use a couple extra hours in our days. Time is something many people struggle with. We all get the same amount. It’s ever fleeting and we can’t buy it or make more, no matter how hard we try.
When you’re working full time, it can be really, really hard to start or grow your business. Your paying job comes first and that’s totally understandable. I’m going to be completely honest – it’s not easy to do both. There is a factor of planning and a good bit of sacrifice. (I’m talking goodbye TV shows, at least for the time being). However, you have to keep in mind it’s a temporary time of sacrifice in order to get to the point where you can leave your job and do this thing full time.
Figuring out how to best manage your time is not a one size fits all recipe. Everyone’s life, responsibilities, and wants are different. No matter what, making your business a priority is key to finding the time when you already seem to have a full schedule.
Find the time
I hate to be the bad guy here, but things like TV and social media (I’m looking at you, Facebook) can be huge time sucks when you’re just getting started with your Etsy shop, blog, or business. Those were two big ones for me, but yours might be different. It’s not necessary to throw away your television or delete your social media accounts, but just be conscious of the time you’re spending on things that aren’t providing a return on your investment (time, in this case). If you spend two hours every night watching Netflix, that could be almost fifteen hours a week focused on growing your business. That’s not nothin’!
Keep a log of everything you do each day over the course of a week. Include time spent doing specific tasks and try to be as detailed as possible. Review to see what time killers you find and what can be cut out. We have twenty-four hours in a day. About a third of those are spent sleeping and a third at our jobs, during the week. What are your other eight-ish hours being spent on? Probably commuting, cooking and/or eating, exercising, socializing or spending time with your family, and relaxing.
It can be hard to “find the time”, but anywhere you see wasted gaps in time, that can be spent working on your business or Etsy shop. In the beginning, when I worked full time, I answered messages on my lunch breaks. I worked evenings and weekends to keep things going – it wasn’t always fun. Although I loved growing my business, there were times when it was really hard to say no to nights out with friends or resist the urge to binge watch television. Of course, there were occasions when getting away from work was appropriate (and necessary) but overall I tried to really focus my time.
Because I realize how difficult it can be to get started when you’re working full time, I created a course to help you launch your Etsy shop in just five days! Yes, in less than a week you can go from zero to Etsy biz – no excuses! Click here to learn more about this course!
Make a Schedule
Planning out your week in advance can really help time management when you’re working a full time job and hustling on the side. When starting out, you should aim to devote at least 30 minutes to one hour each day to focusing on your business. If you can find more time – even better!
The easiest way to carve out little bits of extra time is by waking up early or going to be a little later. I’m not a morning person, but there were definitely days I’d wake up 15 minutes early to squeeze in a couple message replies before heading off to work. Most of my work was done at night or on the weekend, my days off from the full time gig.
Everyone’s life is different, but setting a schedule and sticking to it can really help you grow your business or Etsy shop.
Lauren of Elle & Co started her business while working full time. Check out this awesome post on effectively scheduling your work week, complete with a printable workbook to help with planning your week.
Kelsey does a really great job of breaking down a schedule on her blog Pinegate Road. She shows a sample week for working full time while freelancing and includes time for socializing, working out, and hobbies.
From meal prepping at home to answering emails to packaging items for shipment, batching tasks is a great way to stay productive. Batching just means doing like tasks together. For example, with shipping, rather than printing labels and packaging each order as it comes in, schedule time twice a week to prep shipments. This can save a ton of time and is something I struggled a lot with in the beginning. The excitement of answering every message and producing every order is tempting, but by doing like tasks in chunks, you’ll be more productive!
Give Yourself a Cushion
Schedule yourself some free time to handle any unforeseen problems or circumstances. Issues arise and have to be dealt with, both personally and in biz. If your time is completely maxed out, it’s really difficult to handle these effectively.
It’s also important to schedule in some social or down time for yourself – being burnt out doesn’t help with productivity. You can’t expect to be hustling 24/7. Don’t feel bad about having a dinner with friends or watching a movie solo to give your brain a break. I used these occasions as motivation to get everything done so that I could FULLY enjoy my time away from work.
Ask for Help
When in doubt, reach out for assistance. In my case, my friends were curious what I was doing all these nights spent in. They were happy to spend a few minutes helping me in order to get me out of the house. (Shout out to you guys for bearing with me in the beginning! XO)
Whether it is friends helping with biz tasks, a parent offering to watch your kiddos, or your husband cooking dinners for the week, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Time is so valuable and when you can find people who are willing to help, take advantage of that!
Remember the Positive
It’s no secret that starting a business while working a full time job isn’t easy. However, there are some positives and it really helps to keep those in mind when the going gets tough.
The income from your full time job provides financial security while allowing you to figure things out in your business. This really helps take some of the pressure off in the beginning. You aren’t relying on your Etsy shop or biz to pay the bills yet, so you can really have creative freedom in your work while you learn what works.
It’s Not Forever
There will be a lot of sacrifices made, but keep in mind life won’t be like this forever. When you’re working toward any large goal, you will face some difficult obstacles. If it were easy, everyone would do it!
Working full time while launching your business is a temporary situation to get to a life of freedom and purpose. I love the quote “discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most”. That pretty much sums it up!
Are you working full time while starting your Etsy shop? I would love to hear what works for you or if you have any questions about managing your schedule!