If you're like me, or any of my clients, when you first got the idea to go into business for yourself, I bet it felt like a mixture of exciting and also a little scary at that same time, right?
And you probably felt a pretty big pull to make this exciting, scary thing work no matter what.... nothing could get in the way of making this business a success so you could quit your job and do that thing you love full-time.
And then all that exciting and scary feeling momentum probably led you to throwing yourself into putting up a website, writing blogs, posting on Facebook and Instagram... sounding familiar?
And then, after a little while, maybe that exciting-scary feeling-momentum started to slow. Around the same time, you started to notice that the people weren't magically finding your website and buying. Your blog posts weren't going viral. And your Facebook updates hadn't seen a comment in days.
In the beginning, newness is a great motivator.
But once the newness wears off, there comes a time when you must come to grips with the fact that you aren't going to be an overnight success.
And with that realization you have two options: 1. Quit before you've even really started, or 2. Choose to regroup and start to approach your business as the long-term endeavor that it is.
The reality is that pretty much nobody is an overnight success.
Even all those people you're thinking about right now who you think were an overnight success, they weren't. Not really.
Success builds over time.
So if you want to build a successful business -- especially if it's going to be on the side of an already full-time life of work and family -- then you're going to need a plan (and a mindset!) that's sustainable for the long-term.
Here are my five favorite ways to make growing a side business sustainable for the long-term:
1. Create Space
If you're working and parenting and building a business, let's just say it, that's a lot! And with all those competing priorities it can be really easy to put the business on the bottom of the list. To keep it on the top of the list, create space for it.
Set aside work hours, hire a babysitter a few evenings a week or on Saturday morning, and don't try and squeeze your business into not enough time. Maybe the business needs to stay smaller for now, so it can grow in the long-term?
2. Get Out of Your Own Head
Have more ideas than you have time for? Feel overwhelmed with all that you've put on your plate? Wondering where this is all going? If any of these sound familiar, run don't walk and find some like-minded others, hire a coach, do whatever it takes to get some perspective so you're not living entirely inside your own head. It makes a world of difference.
Before I started working with a coach of my own I had a to-do list as long as my arm and more ideas than I could handle let alone finish. Once I started working with a coach she helped me hone in on what mattered most and that led to accomplishing a big goal, becoming a Huffington Post blogger.
Without my coach, I can guarantee I would have kept that at the bottom of my list while I plodded through the rest. She helped me cut through the clutter and I've never looked back.
3. Don't Try and Boil the Ocean
Yes, I'm certain you have tons of amazing ideas. But you can't do everything in the amount of time you have. (No, you really can't).
So when you're trying to decide what to focus on, use this formula: what are the one that you feel most excited about AND that have a lot of opportunity AND aren't that complicated. Do those first. The rest can wait.
4. Know When It's Time to Quit
I don't mean quit-quit. I mean, get comfortable with being willing to quit an idea or project midstream if it's just not working for you.
Maybe you have a client who is creating a lot of anxiety or stress, maybe it's time to let that client go. Maybe a time comes along when you really need to tune into family or work obligations -- know how to prioritize what's important even if it means setting business goals aside for awhile.
5. It's Not All About the Hustle (Except When It Is)
And last but certainly not least -- when you're in it for the long-term you simply cannot hustle indefinitely. You will get sick. You will get overwhelmed. You will have a breakdown and be forced to quit.
Instead, learn to find your groove where you are getting things done but you're ALSO feeling in balance. And then right when you find that spot -- you're bound to get thrown a curveball. A huge opportunity right in the middle of another big project. A client who you've always wanted to work with, at precisely the wrong time. And maybe that's when you hustle. You juggle, you make it work and then you find your way back into your groove.
Are you building a business on the side of a full-time life? Do you know someone who is? Share a story at The Side Passion Project.
This post originally appeared on Medium.
(Image courtesy, Unsplash.)