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How To Start A Business While Working Full Time [Scheduling Ideas]

how to start a business while working full time
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If you have the desire to start a business, but you struggle with the prioritization and time management, then this article is for you. Here, we’ll be discussing how to start a business while working full time.

So, you’ve got this grand business idea, but you also have a life….now, what do you do?  You’re not making enough money to quit your job.  You can’t ask your employer for too much leave.  Maybe you’re a stay home parent, and you don’t have the money or support (like local family or so) to send the kids out.  How do you find time to work on this business idea when your life seems to already monopolize your time?  In this article, we’ll talk about how to start a business while working full time.  Whether you’re starting a business as a stay home parent, or whether you have a full time job elsewhere, this article is for you.

how to start a business while working full timeMy Story

I’ve been a stay home parent since 2015 when I separated from the military.  In my previous article How To Quit Your Job to Start or Run Your Business, I admit that I did poor planning because I thought if I had the time, I could make money from my business.  What I didn’t realize was how much time my new commitments as a wife of a startup entrepreneur, and stay home mom (who chose to homeschool) would fill my schedule.  I also didn’t realize how long the experimentation of startup business, the branding, and how long the trust building process would take.  Personal life and business life take time: with or without a job.

Even after separating from the Air Force, I still had a very full plate.  I was determined to make an income, so I used my Veteran’s GI Bill and went to school, I was homeschooling, and I was helping my husband in his General Contracting business. 

I still had more than a full-time job!  Please read that article to make sure you have certain things planned out before you quit your job!  

My family experienced alot of hardship because I did not plan a smooth transition, and I’ve learned a bunch from that.  I’d love to save you the hardship, so if you’re on the edge of your transition, and this time management hiccup is frustrating you, I beg you to check that article out, and consider some of the schedule ideas we discuss here to grow your business.

I believe your business idea can work if you have the passion, commitment, and desire to serve others, but you don’t want to put yourself in such a stressful circumstance to prove that.  In my situation, the anxiety of wondering how the bills would be paid was very crippling and made it difficult to make clear decisions.

How To Start A Business While Working Full-TimeIf I could turn back the hands of time, I wish I had committed to a schedule like one of these where I worked my business on the side until it outpaced my job.  I’d recommend you consider committing to a schedule like one of these or a variation, so you can work on your business, but still maintain stability and meet your needs.  Weaning yourself from a job into a business is really the best of both worlds.  While its hard in the startup phase because altogether, you may be working 80+ hours/week, it’s your upfront investment in your business, and the liberty of the endgame will make it all workwhile.

How To Modify These Startup Business Schedule Ideas

Depending on your work schedule, your family sleep schedules, and your energy levels, you may find any of these schedule ideas to be attainable. You may have to modify them, and you may have to switch between them.  You want to be flexible with yourself and don’t neglect the things that are most important in the longrun like relationships: family, marriage, and loved ones.

While prioritization is going to be HUGE, it should never be an option to neglect your family responsibilities in favor of your business.

Prioritization and Scheduling

In my previous article How To Create a Time Management Chart, I wrote in depth about prioritization.  Please check that article out because prioritization will be crucial in maintaining any of these schedule options.

As life has it, you’ll have so many things that “pop up”, but you’ll have to make decisions in order to make your business work.  In that article, I reference Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.  Stephen Covey talked about four quadrants, and how highly successful people focus their time on Quadrant Two activities.  The goal of the article on the Time Management Chart was to encourage you to evaluate the things you do throughout the day, categorize them into quadrants, and reshape your schedule into more “Quadrant two” activities.

How To Start A Business While Working Full-TimePrioritization is mandatory in this entrepreneurial journey, so you’ll need to apply the information in that article in order to successfully manage the things here, so check it out if you haven’t already.

Early Morning Shift

I have found working the early morning shift has worked for me in seasons.  My kids will sleep in until 9AM, so I can work from 5-9 everyday which would give me 20 hours per week if I work a 5-day week. If I have aggressive business goals, I may choose to augment with another shift or work the early morning shift even thru the weekends for a period of time.

Other alternative early morning shifts that work for many full-time employees or work from home parents are:

  • 3AM-7AM
  • 4AM-8AM
  • or my schedule of 5AM-9AM

If you consider a schedule like this you may also need to consider efficient cooking options so you can have dinners quickly and get to bed at a reasonable time.

Sidenote for parents: You may want to consider negotiating schedule workarounds with your spouse or close loved ones.  For example, maybe your spouse can put your kids down for bed, so you can get to bed at a reasonable time.  Maybe someone can pick your kids up from school, so you can start dinners earlier or so on.  Just some ideas.

Late Night Shift

How To Start A Business While Working Full-TimeMore than the early morning shift, I’m a night shift type of lady.  I prefer to put my kids down for bed, then stay up from 8-12 or 8-2AM (on occasions).  At night, the house is quiet, my husband sleeps early, so I quietly escort myself away, and get my work done.

If you work during the day, feel uncomfortable with the morning shift, or just need more hours than the morning shift will give you, the late night shift may be a good augment or alternative for you.  Other variations (aside from my 8-12 or 8-2 shifts) are:

  • 7-11 PM
  • 6-10 PM

The late nigh shift can give you another 20-30 hours depending on how early you start and how late you end (in my case, I end as late as 2AM sometimes).  When you work 8PM-2AM shifts, that’s 6 hours per day!  From experience, you can get alot done in 6 hours per day.

Midday Shift

When you have little ones or a midday lunch break on a regular basis, you can make added time to get work done.  By the time my baby was 6 months old, she was on somewhat of a consistent nap schedule.  She would nap 1-2 hours per day.  I would augment my morning shift, night shift, or both–by working during her nap times.  My oldest child, likes to spend her nap times independently anyway, so both of us would look at one another excited, and go our separate ways to get our individual work done.

Midday  Shift cold be:

  • 10:30-11:30AM
  • 11AM-12PM
  • 12PM-1PM
  • and, some people do 3PM-4PM

The midday shift can range, and it can have multiple variations to fit your family.  In my case, my daughter would nap anywhere between 10:30AM and 3PM.  It was a wide range, but I knew somewhere between 10:30AM and 3, she would get tired.  With time, the range narrowed, and it got more predictable for me.  You may need to adjust as well.

The midday shift can add 5-7 hours per week to your work schedule or more depending on how you fit it in.

Weekend Shift

How To Start A Business While Working Full-TimeThe weekend shift was never an option for me, but I know some people work Monday thru Friday, and dedicate the weekend to their businesses.  If this is the case for you, you can consider working as much as you want on the weekend: 12 hour days, 14 hour days, 8 hour days, or however you choose.  If you have a free weekend, you can have a full-time work schedule simply by using Saturday and Sunday!

Scale Back on Regimented Requirements

I talked about prioritization, and that helped me to scale back on regimented requirements.  I did things like:

  • Pulled my son out of school
  • Schedule very few recurring outtings
  • Don’t commit to many committees or responsibilities outside of my family
  • I involve myself in selective things by choice rather than by obligation
  • I chose a thriving city to live in

You will not want to be overburdened from too many outside commitments or obligations.  It will make scheduling business activities difficult if you don’t set clear boundaries for extracurriculars or personal favors.  Create a schedule and stick to it.

Creating a Support System

How To Start A Business While Working Full-TimeWhether you create a give-and-take relationship with your spouse, your friends, or your community system, where you exchange support (in ways you need it) while you give support (in ways they need it)–creating a support system will help you so much.  You may have money, but need someone to help you stay organized.  You may have ideas, but need someone to help with childcare.  Create an inventory of what you have, and find people where you can exchange what you do have for what you don’t.

Community is key!

My Schedule Variations

I’ve done the morning, evening, and midday shifts at certain points.  The adrenaline and excitement of bringing my business to life would drive me to do all kinds of craziness.  LOLOL!  To be honest, sometimes, I still challenge myself to pull more than one shift, but I prefer the night shift and midday shift with a short morning shift on most days.

You decide what works best for you, and stick with it!  Your  business needs your time.

Collectively, adding morning shift (20 hours) plus the midday shift (5-7 hours), and the evening shift (20 hours), you can work almost 50 hours.  Of course, you can make morning shift longer or shorter, and play around with the others also, but you can have time even as a stay home parent or full time employee.  This is how to start a business while working full time.

It may not be easy, but it can be done.

Final Words on How To Start A Business While Working Full Time

The goal of this article was to show various schedule ideas so you can see the logistics of how to start a business while working full time. I want to encourage you so you know you can still start a business whether you are a stay home mom, stay home dad, or full-time employee.  You can do this!  If you have questions or concerns about this, don’t hesistate to leave them in the comments section.  I’d love to help you out!

If you’re interested in starting or growing a business, check out my free e-course. It’s a framework to grow a business: from idea to enterprise. Check out my free e-course here.

Now, it’s Your Turn…

Have you started a business while working full-time or being a full-time parent?  Did you use any of these schedule variations?  How were you able to schedule your time while starting your business?  Leave your comments below.

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