by Mary Liu
“I wish I had the time to do that.”
This is a saying I hear far too often, and an excuse I used to always use. It’s so easy to say, but I realized that it was just an excuse so I could stay in my comfort zone. It wasn’t until last year when I decided to challenge myself and take action on a niche product idea that I discovered I actually had a lot more time in a day than I thought.
When I was in the initial stages of developing my product idea, I had to figure out how to balance this along with a full-time job. Because of this, I learned a lot about how to maximize my time, and as a result turned an idea into a product and launched it on e-commerce in 6 months.
Today, I still use what I learned about time management to balance a full-time job, my e-commerce side business, and still leave time for myself.
So, how did I do it? Below are 3 tips that worked for me in turning an idea into a product in 6 months while working at a full-time job.
Tip #1: Learn during times when you can easily multi-task
Here are some examples of what I mean:
- Walking or commuting to places (e.g. work)
- Waiting for an appointment (e.g. doctor’s appointment)
- Meal prepping for the week (e.g. chopping/prepping food for an hour)
- At the gym (e.g. running on the treadmill)
- Shopping (e.g. buying groceries)
These are perfect moments to listen to podcasts, watch videos, or read articles. This was helpful for me in learning the next steps I needed to take on my idea.
In some of these instances, I had anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. However, all of these moments will add up, where finishing one article on my commute to work became 10 articles by the end of the week. And that was enough to help me understand what I needed to do next with my idea.
Tip #2: Find times when you can create instead of consume
We all have some sort of routine we follow. When I tracked what I was doing for a week, I realized that there were instances when I was spending a lot of time consuming.
It’s okay consuming content especially when it comes to learning, but I made sure that I still had time for creating.
For instance, here are some examples I found in my routine where I took some of the time spent on consuming content to work on my idea:
- TV (e.g. watching Netflix for 2-3 hours after work)
- Browsing the web (e.g. spending hours on YouTube)
- Social media (e.g. scrolling through Instagram or Facebook)
Don’t get me wrong, I still do the above from time to time, but it’s all about moderation. Instead of spending hours watching shows, I would take a few of those hours to work on my idea instead.
Tip #3: Create a to-do list for the week with very specific tasks
What I found helpful in saving time during the week was creating a to-do list on Sundays. I would lay out everything I wanted to accomplish for that week in order of priorities and make the tasks very specific.
For instance, when I was developing my product, I wouldn’t put “build a product” as my to-do for that week. Instead, I would write “reach out to manufacturers” or “find a graphic designer.”
That way, I knew what steps I needed to take going into each week and I didn’t have to spend time feeling overwhelmed on what to do the day of. This was helpful for me to remain focused on the specific tasks I needed to accomplish just for that week.
Once I reflected on what I was doing each week and where I was spending my time, I was able to find opportunities using these tips to find time in my schedule and make progress on my idea. All of these small moments added up, and by the end of 6 months I had a business.
Now I can say, “I had the time to do that.”
And I want you to be able to say it too.
Mary Liu is a marketer and business coach who has experience working on million-dollar brands and launching new-to-market products. She is passionate about using her experience to help female entrepreneurs understand how they can turn their product idea into a business. Learn more about Mary here and get her free guide on the 2 most important steps to take after you’ve landed on a business idea.
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2 Replies to “How To Find Time To Start a Business While Having a Full-Time Job by @MaryLiu”
Great article Mary. Most people get complacent with their jobs. They are not willing to put in the effort without the guarantee of success or risking even a little.
The first step to pursue your dream is to make the effort towards it. Most people fail at step 1.
I loved the fact that you mentioned about making a list with specific tasks. Focus and persistence is the key to find time for a business while having a full-time job.
I completely agree, taking the first step is the hardest but most important. Thinking about the end goal might seem like a lot, but once broken down into smaller, more tangible steps, it’s amazing the progress that can happen when you look back at where you started.
Thanks for reading, Maxim!