by Jackie Burke | Featured Contributor
I started my business, Tini Lux, as a side hustle. Tini Lux is the first line of fashion jewelry made with metals that are compatible with the human body. At the time, I had not worn earrings for years because they caused extremely painful reactions. I really wanted a pair that I could safely wear but couldn’t find anything. After some more research into jewelry materials and the current market I decided that I would start my own line!
I was working full time as an engineer when I made the decision to start my business. I had no business background, or jewelry background, but I believed in myself and my idea. I had some money saved and wanted to my business to be self funded. However, I didn’t feel comfortable leaving my job completely because I had no idea how long it would take for the business to reach a healthy revenue or to be profitable.
Not only was I working full time with Tini Lux as a side hustle, I also moved to a different state AND was planning a wedding during the first nine months after I launched. During this time period I learned a lot about time management and what it really means to be “busy.” There were some days and weeks when it all seemed manageable and others that I thought I was going to lose my mind.
Since I’m a little bit removed from that crazy time period now, I have had a chance to reflect on the side-hustle skills that I learned then. Here’s my advice for making a side hustle work without going crazy.
The best decision I made was to set aside specific days and times during the week to work on my side hustle. Two days a week I came home from my day job and worked on my side hustle until it was time for bed. I also worked during the day every Saturday. Blocking off these times every week allowed me to be very focused while I was working on my business and also not feel guilty when I was not working on it.
When I started blocking out time I really realized how much time I used to waste on mindless activities. I used to love coming home from work a catching up on anything on Bravo or E!. But once I started my business I did not get as much joy from watching TV or scrolling Instagram because I knew it was taking time away from productive work that I could be doing.
Prioritize Your Life
My non-work priorities had to seriously shift when I started blocking out my time. I used have plenty of time in the morning to hit the gym and after work to go to dinner or catch up on social media and TV. For better and for worse those activities were put on hold when I started my side-hustle. I wish I could say that I maintained my five day a week fitness routine but that definitely did not happen. I try to fit a workout in whenever I can now, but I have not gotten back to my previous schedule. I don’t beat myself up about my fitness routine slipping though because I know I building something meaningful and that is my top priority right now.
Whether it’s making a dentist appointment or answering a business email, get it done right away. When you put off doing something it just continues to take up space in your brain and on your to-do list. I also find that my anxiety around doing those things just builds and builds when I put it off. If something will take less than five minutes to do, I have gotten in the habit of doing it immediately or as soon as possible so that it does not linger and grow in my mind.
Accept (and Appreciate) Slower Growth
As I said before, I did not have a business background or jewelry background when I started my business. I had A LOT to learn when I started my business. At first I was frustrated that I could only put in a few hours a week of work on my business and knew that it was preventing me from growing the business as quickly as I wanted. Looking back now though, I appreciated the slow growth in the beginning because it gave me time to learn business skills and improve my product.
If you are thinking about starting a side business or have already done so, let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your business ideas, your thoughts on side-hustling, and any tips you have picked up along the way.