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Tips to Get It All Done When Starting an Online Business While You Still Have a Day Job

I have owned a telecommunications consulting business for over 16 years. I started the company, I built it, nurtured it and enjoy a great little cash flow from it and am able to work from home. But, last year, I decided to branch out and create an online marketing business. I welcomed the challenge, and the opportunity to expand my market beyond my local geography. Some things became very apparent as I began to run on two tracks simultaneously.

Here is what a typical week looks like for me: (Note: I don’t have children at home anymore. If you do, this will look very different!)

I start each day off with a good cup of coffee and my Bible. Then, I get to work.
I work on my telecommunications business in the morning hours and part of the afternoon. Then, in the afternoon, I switch gears entirely and spend the last part of my afternoon on my marketing business. Then I break for dinner and come back to the office later in the evening and work several more hours. I find these late hours are the best time for me to do the writing that I do – articles, blogs, press releases, product creations, etc. I do this Monday through Thursday, working at least 12 hours each of those 4 days.

On Friday, I only work a half day unless there’s an emergency to tend to. If I want to work on Friday afternoons, I will, but only if I want to because I’ve given myself permission not to. Friday nights are usually date night with my husband.

Saturday is my free day – typically no email and no computer time. I almost never accept invitations to go out on Saturdays during the day – no wedding or baby showers, no parties, no luncheons, etc. I do my household chores that I am responsible for (that I have not outsourced), I make menus, shop for groceries, and spend Saturday evening however I want – sometimes with friends and sometimes just chilling out at home.

Sunday mornings are my private time when I read, write in a journal, pray, and get focused. Sunday afternoons I start to shift my focus to my work again, and spend some time in my office to gather my thoughts for the coming week and make sure I’m organized enough to hit the floor running on Monday morning.

My weeks are usually a 60-hour work week. And that’s ok for now, although I don’t want to do this forever. I have a definite goal in mind and now, this is what it requires.

So, as I have been at this for over a year now, here are my best tips for making a success of working two jobs when one of them is an online business.

  • Try your best to keep the jobs separated in terms of working hours.
  • Keep separate email accounts – sometimes 3 is needed (Job #1, Job #2 and Personal)
  • Outsource everything you possibly can, and I don’t mean just business-related things. It could mean cleaning the house, doing the laundry, grocery shopping, etc.
  • Get a really good telephone system in place so that you’re not a slave to answering the phone. Learn to put the phone on Do-Not-Disturb. Don’t give out your cell phone number to anyone but close friends and family who know better than to call you while you’re working.
  • Same thing with email – get a plan in place that works for you. Learn to manage your email before it manages you.
  • Use either an egg-timer or some kind of timer online to make sure you’re not spending too much time on unproductive things. The one I use is called Cool Timer. Just do a Google search for it – it’s free and it sits on my computer desktop, ready for me.
  • Minimize unplanned activities during your work week. Train your friends and family that just because you work from home, you’re not always free to drop what you’re doing and join in whatever they’re doing.
  • Schedule fun time. (See my comments above about Friday nights)
  • Make sure to put personal and business growth on your calendar. That takes time. This could be attending seminars, conferences once in awhile. Or it could be setting aside a definite time to take an online course, listen to a replay of a webinar, an audio book, a podcast or blog radio. Never waste time in the car listening to the radio. Pop in a CD that will add value to your life. Or, use your I-pod.

If you are in this situation, juggling two careers and working from home (at least part of the week), then please leave a comment and tell me your best tips to make it all happen.