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In this post, you will learn the truth behind building a business while working full time and whether it’s possible to have it grow to six figures or near it. Unadulterated, no-fluff reality. If you want to live in a fairytale land of get rich quick schemes, don’t read this post.
In the world where we want results, like, yesterday, there aren’t enough real hard truths out there about what it really takes to reach the goals you set for yourself.
I recently received an email from a subscriber feeling discouraged and wondering whether it’s possible to start a business while working full time… And better yet:
Is it possible to build a successful business while working a full time job?
Great question, reader.
When I was first starting out with my marketing business in 2014, I’ve decided to make it THE business. I was ready to be serious about entrepreneurship and not having this be just another side hustle (as my two previous gigs have been).
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But here’s the deal:
I didn’t quit my well-paying marketing agency job on a whim because I’ve decided to start a new business.
The scary thing is that there are countless coaches and “entrepreneur mentors” who urge their clients and readers to quit their jobs in order to pursue their dreams. If they don’t, they “aren’t serious about their craft and they won’t likely become successful.”
My gawwwd. This is a load of crap and probably the worst advice I have ever heard.
What happens when you quit your job prematurely before seeing actual traction in your business?
You stop earning money.
But if you do begin to earn some money, it’s typically not enough to sustain you. At least not as fast as you’d need it to.
So what happens when you don’t have money? You go into a desperation mindset.
You need money to survive and you start freaking out because your initial excitement about the business has subsided and you are now faced with the reality of starting a business from scratch.
And the truth is: it’s not easy.
Because I wanted to grow a sustainable business the right way – the way that feels authentic, good, and true to me – I knew I had to go about it the smart way: by keeping my full time job and growing my business on the side in the beginning.
I had a specific goal that I set for myself that would make me feel comfortable about taking the next step in leaving my job.
What was my personal goal?
I wanted to be on track to six figures.
Before I quit my job to pursue my business full time, I had several sources of income coming in:
- My job
- My business
- My blog
- My photography
Plus random other gigs I got (I even did Fiverr for a while and got a decent amount there).
But the point is: I had a lot of sources.
If I was to cut them all off and focus on just one, it’s be a big change to what I was earning as a total before. I was already comfortable with the total amount of money I was earning but I was also starting to endure a lot of stress to sustain it.
So what did I do?
Replacing my income (which is what my mentor wanted me to do at first) wouldn’t be enough. I had to replace my total income/revenue from all the ventures I had to come from JUST my business (aka making my income a six figure income) for me to feel confident about leaving.
My steps to doing this were as follows:
- Set a monthly goal I wanted to ideally reach
- Create a plan of reaching that goal
- Stop doing photography (it was a distraction and I no longer did it anyway, but I had to make it official by ending it as a current job on LinkedIn and Facebook and no longer accepting inquiries I’d be getting from people)
- Sell my five figure blog (it was also now a distraction and I no longer was passionate about this venture)
- Focus diligently on reaching my monthly income goal from my business
- Quit my job
The beauty of a plan is that you become very focused.
When there’s just ONE focus you have – get more clients – it becomes easier.
Because at that point all you have to do is think to yourself:
“Is this action going to help me in reaching my goal of growing my monthly income?”
If the answer is yes. Proceed. If it’s no. Then don’t do it.
Once I became this intentional I was able to get close enough to my goal to feel confident to put in my 2 weeks notice and quit my job.
The truth about what it takes to build a sustainable successful business while working full time
- 0:30 – Email from subscriber…
- 1:00 – When I was starting my business…
- 1:45 – What I had to do to quit my job
- 2:20 – Truth #1
- 2:53 – Truth #2
- 3:40 – Truth #3
- 4:40 – The truth about investing your business
- 5:17 – Truth #4
- 6:15 – About overnight success
I wanted to uncover the REALITY of my first year in business and what it took for me to grow my business to the place it is today.
As a heads up, these truths are purely based on my own experience alone. If you’ve had a different experience, that’s great. However, I wanted to capture my own personal unadulterated story and how I had experienced it first hand.
Truth #1: Say goodbye to your social life
When I first started my marketing business in mid 2014, I was also working full time at an agency, plus managing my healthy living blog, plus doing random photography assignments here and there.
As you can imagine, that takes up quite a bit of time.
I’ve always been a person that likes to have a lot going on but with 3 ventures, I realized I had to make some sacrifices.
I work ultra hard now so I can reap the benefits later.
Being that I’m naturally more introverted anyway, social life was one of the first to go. While I still saw my friends once in a while, I definitely had to scale down on my social interactions down to just a few times per month.
I would literally wake up, do some work on my business, go to my job, come home and work on my business some more, and go to sleep.
That was my life for about a year if not more.
Truth #2: Your quality of life might decrease
If you don’t become very intentional with your work-life balance and self-care practices, your quality of life might really deteriorate as you work.
Since you would be working twice as much as you normally would, you’d have very little time left for fun or health.
I learned about this first hand: I gained weight. I stopped exercising. I started eating take out. I had no “fun” in my life except for a Netflix show here and there or an occasional drink with some friends.
I also became very stressed out.
I never had stress in my life. I didn’t know what stress was until I started working on my business and still being employed at an agency.
My jaw starting hurting. A lot. Stress jaw clenching.
My joints started hurting from lack of movement.
Now these are habits that I am trying to break so I can live a higher quality life. The unfortunate thing is that once you go into that rabbit hole and these behaviors become habits, it becomes hard to break them.
So take it from me, make sure to be very intentional and add self-care practices into your schedule ahead of time.
Truth #3: You have to invest to grow
This is one of the craziest things I hear from prospects:
“I can’t work with a coach/mentor/fill-in-the-blank because I have to get some clients so I have money first. It’s a chicken and egg situation. Like, I need to work with you so I can grow, but I also can’t afford to because I haven’t gotten enough income from my business to be able to pay for it.”
You’ve got it ALL twisted!
It’s not a chicken and egg situation at all. Are you serious?
In order to grow, you HAVE TO INVEST money, time, and energy.
I don’t care what excuse you tell me but there is no way of going around it.
If you have a business but no one knows about you and you have no clients and you don’t know what to do, you can’t USE the fact that you don’t have clients to NOT work with someone who can HELP you get more clients!
It makes no sense.
Sure, you can do it all and become successful without working with a single coach or mentor or investing in a single info product.
But it’s going to take you muuuuuuuuuuuch longer to figure out how to do the things you could have learned in a few weeks/months from working with someone who already knows the secret sauce to make it happen.
And if you’re working at a full time job you already have very limited time available. Do you really wanna spend that time on figuring stuff out on your own and wasting that time? Just invest in a coach/strategist/copywriter/whatever, for the love of all that is holy.
Take the shortcut. Don’t try to be the hero. You’re going to invest your own personal funds in your business in the beginning. That’s business. Okay?
The bottom line:
If you are serious about your business, you are going to invest in yourself and your business.
If you’re not, you’ll find an excuse.
That is all.
Truth #4: You need a mind & tenacity of steel
The drive. The ambition. The mindset.
You need it to hustle hard and make it as an entrepreneur. This is especially true when you are also working a full time job because you don’t have much time left for work.
You have to stay motivated to keep moving forward and keep doing what you need to.
If you are falling into the victim mentality or getting too wrapped up in your negative thoughts and limiting beliefs, this is going to dwarf your success. The fact of the matter is that you need to stay strong to move forward despite the challenges that arise.
People around you might doubt you.
They might not understand.
You might feel like a fraud.
You might feel like you want to give up.
Don’t. Just keep going. Screw the nay-sayers and keep in mind why you got started in the first place.
You’ve got this!
Women who have done it too:
Bushra Azhar is the founder of The Persuasion Revolution and she’s been able to grow the business to multiple six figures while also working full-time at her partnership consulting firm. She has had amazing success with her business and embodies exactly that it absolutely is possible to do both. Here are some of her tips:
“Make sure you’ve built your business in something complimentary to your day job. That way, it’s not a physical struggle to detach yourself from your day job and move into your side gig. You could be working on a client email, and then in ten minutes you can switch to work on your online gig. If it’s too different, it’s harder to shift gears. Also, try and batch the work you do so when you sit down to blog, don’t just do one blog and move on. Outline 4-5 blogs, do the research, edit a few. The idea being; when you are IN the blogging zone, you can get much more done than to be in for example social media zone and try to churn out blog posts. Look at your time as segments or zones and dedicate one segment to one type of activity.”
Here’s what Sylvie McCracken, who has build a successful six-figure health blog, has to say about this:
“For about a year all I did was work, sleep and eat. My fave TV shows had to go because I had to go to bed early so I could get up and work for a few hours before going to the office. The hustle was worth it. The month my business income surpassed my day job income was one of the best of my life. I quit my job 2 months later to be a full time entrepreneur. It’s absolutely possible to build a 6 figure business while working full time. Go to bed early, get up early to hustle like crazy and outsource everything you don’t absolutely have to do yourself.”
Adrienne Dorison is a Success Strategist and Money Mentor who teaches high achieving entrepreneurs to create the habits of success to grow their business and live a richer, happier life. Adrienne recently got help with debt of $45,000 to pay off in just 6 months and quit her prestigious corporate gig for a life of entrepreneurship. Here’s what she has to say about what it took to create a six figure business while working full time:
“When I think about what it took to make the side gig work so well while I had the full time job… it comes down to daily action. I knew I had limited time compared to others who were already full-time in their business, so I had to be smart with it. I was very consistent and every single day I took action on tasks to move my business forward on income generating tasks. When you’re in a full time job, there’s no time for tasks that just keep you “busy,” you have to make decisions about what’s most important, and do it everyday.
I had to make sacrifices in my daily life to grow the business quickly. I made the side gig the main priority, which meant creating a better morning routine (I wake up at 4:30 am so I can get my workout and morning routine done before the full-time job), sometimes took clients during lunch breaks, worked on my business during evenings and weekends which left little time to play. I had to switch my routine around and figure out what was going to work best for me to be able to get the most work done, I also wasn’t willing to stop working out or sacrifice my health – hence why I switched workouts to 4:30am versus just skipping them all together.”
Hopefully this helped you in seeing the possibility behind creating your own business to the level you need it to be at!