In part 1 The Double Life of the Still Employed Entrepreneur I talked about how having a 9-5 whilst building a business had me feeling like I was being pulled from 'pillar to post' and most of the time, frustrated. I HATE feeling like a victim though - and there I was sitting in torment! But not for long because there is always another way to look at things, so beyond the obvious benefit of having a regular income, how can you turn being employed while you are building your business to your advantage? This was mindset shift #1 and here are some ideas for you.
#1 Hone your productivity skills
The BIGGEST challenge the women I talk to who are juggling a 9-5 whilst establishing themselves as the CEO of a growing business is that this is just the tip of the ice burg. There are many other things going on in their lives that they are also the 'CEO' of and very often this includes the household. Even where tasks are split with a partner, the 'thinking challenge' of running a household, and all that encompasses: finances, day to day 'operations' and logistics, caring responsibilities, supplies, maintenance, social events will often fall to them too. It is so easy to feel overwhelmed with all of the things!
BUT within this there is a space for honing your skills. Successful people know how to make the best of their time and focus on what is most important. Letting stuff go, challenging your standards, testing out planning systems that work for you, developing ways of working that have you blitzing your workload in half the time of your colleagues is all invaluable training for learning how to optimise your time when you are free wheeling as an entrepreneur.
#2 Practice being the person you want to be now
Probably the second biggest challenge is at an emotional level: the challenge of not feeling whole, not feeling complete. It sometimes feels a challenge to our integrity to be operating in two different worlds and two different ways, as two different people. SO STOP! Don't do it.
Who is the person that you know you are meant to become? How does she act? How does she think? How does she show up? Find ways to be more like her now. This can be really subtle like, maybe you take action more quickly, take more personal risks, speak up in a meeting, be more confident, dress differently. Whatever it is for you, find ways to integrate in a way that feels good to you.
#3 Learn your strengths and how to leverage them
This is LIFE CHANGING!! If you have never fully considered what your strengths are and, more importantly don't leverage them in your day to day life then you are missing one of the best 'life hacks' I know of.
All people have a unique combination of talents, knowledge and skills -- strengths -- that they use in their daily lives Gallup has found that when people understand and apply their strengths, the effect on their lives and work is transformational.
People who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged in their work and three times more likely to say they have an excellent quality of life.
Yet, many people don't know what their strengths are, or if they do they don't use them to their advantage. In fact, many people tend to focus on fixing their weaknesses. When you focus on your strengths you can identify and build on the areas where you have infinite potential to grow and succeed - in a way that is authentic to you. When you apply your strengths to your work and your life, success feels easier and more joyful.
#4 Blend and flex
Another way to say this is: stop being so rigid! We have a tendency to compartmentalise and create these artificial boundaries between home and work and business. But we are the same person. We are living one life. Finding ways to be more congruent in all spheres and being flexible in how we manage all aspects of our lives is easier when it's more integrated. So whether that's how you manage your to do lists so that you have sight of all activities you need to have done whether they be personal, business or day job or how you are spending your time, flexing your day job working hours to accommodate a client call or webinar for your business more easily and taking a lunch break to write a blog post. Whatever that looks like for you, with the business you are building and the responsibilities and culture, you are working within.
#5 Use your network
People buy from people. Usually in your work environment you are surrounded by lots of people. Now I've left this until last, because if you are still in 'being two different people / compartmentalising your life' mode then this last tip may not feel very accessible to you right now. However, speaking to your colleagues and corporate network about what you are up to can have huge advantages: you may have prospective clients sitting right next to you!
It doesn't need to feel weird. When you do the work to embody who you want to be and you love and are excited about what you are doing and the value it brings, then people usually love to hear about it. If they don't want what you are offering themselves, they may know someone else who does, and in the process you are getting practice at pitching yourself and how you explain what you do in ways that create curiosity and interest.
Chatting to people about your business helps breath life and energy into it. It fuels your own excitement, inspiration and creativity. You just never know what a quick chat at the drinks machine might bring.
But what if....
So you can always read these ideas and think, "oh but that wouldn't work for me because"...... A big one is "my employer wouldn't approve of me having a business as well as a side job so I have to keep it secret". This is always going to be a personal choice and something that you need to consider in relation to your contract of employment, the organisational culture and the relationships you have with your manager and peers AND ALSO whether your fears about any consequences are real or assumed. More often than not we just assume that we have to keep it a secret, but if you are still showing up and doing the work and honouring your commitments it really can work in your favour to just come clean. Most people find it inspiring! Many people will want to support you and cheer you on - who doesn't need a bit of that?
That said, with the exception of #5 all of the above can be completely covert, people will only see (if anything) the positive outcomes which more than likely help you perform better in your day job as well as advancing your entrepreneurial endeavours.
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