Moonlighting: Balancing Entrepreneurship & Your 9 to 5 : Under30CEO Moonlighting: Balancing Entrepreneurship & Your 9 to 5 : Under30CEO
arrow
Join the Under30CEO Community We deliver tips, tools and inspiration for your business. Daily to your inbox.

Moonlighting: Balancing Entrepreneurship & Your 9 to 5

| July 30, 2009 | 30 Comments

full_moonTaking the path as an entrepreneur is not easy. In fact, it’s very difficult. So why do it? Well, if you truly have the mind set of an entrepreneur you probably already have that answer. The rewards from constructing a start-up far outweigh holding a “9 to 5” – whether you are successful or fall flat on your face. Speaking of working “9 to 5,” some Entrepreneurs are forced to keep their day job while working diligently to get their own business off the ground. Personally, I continue to work my “day job” and put everything else I have into two start-ups that I have founded.

Why?

Well if I had the choice, I’d only be working on my start-ups – but until I can generate enough revenue to support myself, I have to keep the day job. Why am I telling you all of this? Starting a business is hard enough. Starting a business (or two) and working 40+ hours somewhere else is even harder. But let’s face it, sometimes it’s just not avoidable, so make the best of it. If you fall into the “9 to 5/Entrepreneur” category, then read on – maybe you’ll take away some useful tips on time management, stress prevention, and maintaining your sanity.

Time Management, Stress Prevention, and Keeping Your Sanity

So how do you manage working full-time and giving your all to your start-up? Easy. Stay focused and use your time effectively. Yes, effectively. Let’s run through some thoughts illustrating how you can manage both effectively.

1. Sleeping in is no longer an option – this includes weekends. Wake up early enough in the morning to prepare for your “normal” work day, but make sure to leave at least 15 minutes of spare time so that you can check and respond to any critical emails relating to your start-up. If time allows, get something else done here. On weekends, plan to get up somewhat early and get moving on whatever you’re working on. The majority of weekends can be used as full work days for your start-up.

2. Did you really just go to Taco Bell for lunch and sit there for an hour? Instead, how about writing a blog post, make a few phone calls, write emails, tweet some quality info, etc. There’s so much more you can do with your lunch than sit around. Eat while you work! If you must go out to lunch, make it worth while. Schedule a meeting with a potential partner/client/etc. for your start-up.

3. When you get home, this may be time for a break (remember, we want to keep our sanity). Do something active: walk, run, bike, or something that gets you moving. This will not only relieve stress, but help prevent it. Trust me, I’ve avoided this to get “more” work done and it doesn’t work. You’ll experience a negative outcome instead. Take an hour to unwind, relax, and get pumped to continue moving forward throughout the evening.

4. Spend the last few hours of your evening really hammering at your start-up. Whether it’s working on your website, creating some kind of marketing materials, networking, or whatever you need to do – do it now. You should have the energy after that 2 mile run you just did.

5. Lastly – sleep! Although I’m guilty of never getting enough sleep, I’ve read up on it enough to know that you still need a good 7 to 8 hours of sleep. My rule of thumb: I try to be in bed by 12 a.m.

To sum things up… Have some type of plan for the day – meaning, set some goals that you wish to accomplish before you hit the bed. Concentrate, stay motivated, and don’t give up. You’ll soon be able to toss that day job.

Leave your thoughts on effectively managing yourself as a full-force entrepreneur. Everyone has something different that they do – we can all benefit from ideas that work.  How do you manage your day?

antonio me_bigger

This post contributed by Antonio Calabrese Founder of, and rockin’ it at: Mouseek.com & UofSS.com

YSN

Opt In Image
Awesome People + Awesome Places
Travel around the world while making new friends

Under30Experiences curates awesome experiences around the world for young travelers.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Category: Startup Advice

  • davekaiser

    Great ideas and perspective. Entrepreneur doesn't have to be all or nothing.

  • tejas_bhatt

    While I have bit of a problem with number # 2, I am guilty of not sleeping enough myself.

    When you are eating, you should concentrate in it. Actually, it is better to concentrate in anything that you're doing instead of multi-tasking. But hey, that's probably just me.

  • http://Under30CEO.com Jared O'Toole

    I think the most important tip here is taking that 1hr break. Get outside and do something active for a while. Its very important to unwind no matter how much work you have to do.

    Goals are also important. Everyday you need at least a basic set of goals you want to accomplish. Make it something achievable and get them done.

  • http://www.breakingthe9to5jail.com/ Devesh

    Everyone wants to loose a few (or more) pounds but who really hits the gym regularly or gets on a healthier diet? How come some of us find time for gym, hobbies, sports and everything else while working at a day job and some of us in the same job don't?

    Answer is simple, if you've the will there's a way…The ones who really want something, find a way to achieve that. Simple. The same principal applies here as well, if you truly are an entrepreneur, you'll find time and ways to accomplish work related to your startup, be it writing a blog post in lunch hour or cutting the TV time or working in your commute hours…

    Otherwise, we all are busy procrastinating anyways :)

  • http://twitter.com/AlaiaWilliams Alaia Williams

    Thanks for this post. I just passed it on to my twitter peeps as well as the members of the networking group I run – many of them work both 9 to 5 and have a biz. It's definitely tough. I was there for a long long time.

  • http://twitter.com/AlaiaWilliams Alaia Williams

    When I was balancing a 9 to 5 and my business, I used my lunch break to check my voicemails and hopped on MY OWN computer to check my business emails. Evenings were used for networking events or client projects and weekends were dedicated to prospecting and catching up on admin related to my business. Not much has changed now except is all my business all the time. What's a lunch break? I barely remember anymore.

  • susanmbaker

    Yes, I work with clients on this all the time and I do the tightrope act myself. I agree with what you say here, you've got to HAVE A PLAN and goals…and take the time to clean up your to do list at night before you go to bed or when you get up in am so that you don't end up flailing around. You'll need the straightforward guidance when you aren't thinking clearly. Find small pockets of time during the day (on a break, like you said lunch, when things are slow) to add a Tweet or publish a quick blog post. Also, another idea is to break your week up into subject areas…i.e. Mondays are only for marketing, Tuesday is only for internet presence/social media, Wednesdays are only for development, etc. I find this can help to keep you focused too…of course EVERY day should provide time to return calls, e-mails, Tweet and do any updating on facebook, linked in, or your own favorite social media tools.

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    I really like the term moonlighting here. One of our contributors @JohnExley introduced me to it. If you are trying to make it happen, get ready for sleepless nights…

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Tejas, you can sleep when your dead! (But of course your quality of life drastically decreases if you haven't been sleeping enough). I get real run down when I don't sleep, but I've gotten used to it…

    We are of course making a sacrifice now so that our quality of life can be drastically increased in the future!

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    But you never want to take a break in the office because you know I am going to destroy you in wiffle ball…

    Actually, yes I agree with Jared. A 1 hour break just gives you a bit of time to relax your mind, take care of your fitness and then come back with a fresh perspective of things. Entrepreneurs get burned out so easily–they fall out of love with something they got into because they were in love with.

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Devesh, what I have a problem with is actually sitting down and making the plan. Then of course I have a problem sticking to it. I'm highly motivated to get to the gym, eat healthy and work hard on my business and I do all 3 of these, but most of time I just do it and don't plan it. If I sat down and created my plan I would achieve a lot better results and not just randomly worked out or randomly did tasks in the office.

    If I'm hungry I go and eat–instead I should have planned out my meals, prepared food in advance, gone to the grocery store at the beginning of the week instead of wasting time or not having nutritious food on hand. Same goes for business–sure I get what I have to do done, but if I planned and prioritized better I would be much better off.

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Allaia–most importantly–are you doing what you love? Is it all worth it?

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Here we go with Susan talking about goals and plans…. Yup, I've been having trouble with this–check out my reply to Devesh above!

  • susanmbaker

    Hey Matt,

    Believe me, I know how hard it can be – its a constant struggle…what do you think is causing the inability to commit to this particular task? You are able to commit to things you value, so what is it about setting goals you can't commit to? It takes about 30 days of consistent behavior to develop a “habit” perhaps you should force yourself to do the goal setting for 30 days – and make it visible, put a calendar somewhere where you will see it and cross off the days you are successful, if you miss a day, start over – after you have checked off 30 consecutive days see if you feel differently — if its become a natural part of your day. If you don't it may be time to look under the hood so to speak to see if what you've been having trouble setting the goals for is the problem. Always look toward the things that make time fly for you.

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    You got it Susan, I need to make it a habit– I'm going to print off a 30 day calendar right now and do it. Can you check up on me in a few days?

  • susanmbaker

    Here I am Matt – how is it going? I hope well…I hope you're finding it doable.

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Hi Susan, thanks for your follow up, it's so nice to have you checking in on me.

    So, I failed.

    BUT, here's what I am committing to: Using my brain instead of just randomly doing tasks. I know what needs to get done, and I normally just make it happen. But everything that I believe in like the Four Hour Work Week says THINK about your tasks instead of just doing them.

    I have a routine in the morning that I normally go through–pinging out our stories, answering comments and @replies….

    What I need to do is take my lunch break to relax, re-evaluate and figure out what I need to spend my next several hours doing. Instead of just being a spaz.

    I'm starting right now as it's Noon EST!

    Thanks Susan, keep checking on me, I swear I'll do it!

  • kimjimmerson

    Working a 9 to 5 is tough when starting your own business. I've worked full-time, gone to classes online, worked on my business all while balancing two kids and a house. Since my business is online I can stop and tend to the kids when needed. After they go to bed is when I get the most done. However, it's important to take breaks when you feel the stress getting to you. Running yourself into the ground is highly counter-productive in the end. You will actually sabotage your own success (not to mention your sanity) that way.

  • http://Under30CEO.com Jared O'Toole

    Completely agree Kim you have to step back when necessary. Its one of the biggest reasons we are pushing the younger generation at Under30ceo to go after their dreams now. We have the luxury of not having kids, a house, career to balance and rather the ability to put all efforts towards building a business.

    But for everyone who doesn't have that luxury keep it up and if your running a business you love and stick with it you will prevail in the end!

  • susanmbaker

    Matt,

    This is a good plan – just simply setting aside small windows of time during your day to re-evaluate, re-prioritize and remove what has already been handled will keep you organized and efficient. Remember don't be afraid to evolve also – your systems and methods can change as you grow and become more disciplined with your organizational style, eventually you'll end up with a system that REALLY works for you and allows you to feel comfortable.

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Hi Susan, thanks for the encouragement. Yesterday was a success–and all I had to do was take a minute to relax and think. I wrote out my goals, how I was going to get to them and the tasks that needed to be completed to get there. I prioritized, thought about how I can be most efficient and use my time to create the biggest impact.

    It worked.

    Today is day 2. We'll see how it goes.

  • http://www.etrepreneurship-interviews.com/ Entrepreneur Interviews

    Actually I wrote a couple of articles about moonlight entrepreneurs a few years ago. I've actually made a list of reason to be or not to be a part time moonlight entrepreneur

  • http://www.etrepreneurship-interviews.com/ Entrepreneur Interviews

    Actually I wrote a couple of articles about moonlight entrepreneurs a few years ago. I've actually made a list of reason to be or not to be a part time moonlight entrepreneur

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Hey Kim, congratulations on doing everything possible to make it happen. I'm absolutely exhausted right now with all the stuff I'm undertaking, but in the end it's all worth it. People say that entrepreneurs have no work/life balance, but I disagree. That's why Under30CEO is about Lifestyle and Biz… a good proportion about life/work. Sure, entrepreneurs work harder to get their business going than those who have just been handed a slot in a corporation, but ultimately I want to have more fun than anyone else and that's why I'm doing what I do.

  • kimjimmerson

    Matt, I agree with you. A good balance of life and work is very important. It's a mistake to give up one portion of our lives totally in favor of another. If I had to choose one thing in life, it would be my family because at the end of the day that's the most important factor. I'm glad to see that this magazine does focus on things other than just business. It's a fresh perspective.

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Thanks Kim, glad you like our fresh perspective–we are entrepreneurs for a reason… it's the lifestyle!

    Happy reading. Let me know if I can do anything for you in the future.

  • http://www.bronsonharrington.com Gnuboss

    “Well if I had the choice, I’d only be working on my start-ups – but until I can generate enough revenue to support myself, I have to keep the day job.”

    Exactly! IU am going through the very same thing at present. I'm finishing offf a huge batch of client work while grinding out the 9-5 knowing that it's almost time to get cracking on making my own income and a few gems that I've been shining up to do just that.

    Trading hours for dollars is not the way I'm going to make progress. I got to start creating the residual income streams NOW, NOT LATER.

  • http://www.bronsonharrington.com Gnuboss

    “Well if I had the choice, I’d only be working on my start-ups – but until I can generate enough revenue to support myself, I have to keep the day job.”

    Exactly! IU am going through the very same thing at present. I'm finishing offf a huge batch of client work while grinding out the 9-5 knowing that it's almost time to get cracking on making my own income and a few gems that I've been shining up to do just that.

    Trading hours for dollars is not the way I'm going to make progress. I got to start creating the residual income streams NOW, NOT LATER.

  • http://www.bronsonharrington.com/ Gnuboss

    “Well if I had the choice, I’d only be working on my start-ups – but until I can generate enough revenue to support myself, I have to keep the day job.”

    Exactly! I am going through the very same thing at present. I'm finishing offf a huge batch of client work while grinding out the 9-5 knowing that it's almost time to get cracking on making my own income and a few gems that I've been shining up to do just that.

    Trading hours for dollars is not the way I'm going to make progress. I got to start creating the residual income streams NOW, NOT LATER.

  • Pingback: Twitted by bmaldonado