Starting an online business while working full time

Thinking of starting an online business while working full time? Read these tips and tricks to starting an online business without exhausting yourself!

One of my top goals as a coach is to be fully authentic with my readers and clients. And with that goal, I want you to know that starting an online business while working full-time is not for the faint of heart. And I’ve found this to be especially true for introverts or highly sensitive persons (HSP). How do I know? Because I currently work full-time and run my coaching biz on the side!

There is nothing wrong with working full time and starting an online business (so long as you aren’t going against your contract at work or doing something shady!). I love my job and I love being a coach, so being able to do both is very fulfilling to me. But let me share this with you: it is really, really, really hard sometimes. So how can you start a business without exhausting yourself or losing your mind, especially as an introvert or HSP?

Own your time and your energy.

This probably seems really simple, but before you ever start your business, I recommend sitting down and calculating how much time you have to give outside of your full-time job. Every week contains 168 hours. If you work 40 hours a week, that leaves you with 72 hours (assuming you sleep 8 hours each night). Let’s say you commute 30 minutes each way to work, leaving you with 67 hours. Even if I subtract 20 hours each week for fun, chores, and workouts, that leaves 47 hours to work on the side. Consider how you use your time now and what you’re willing to sacrifice to work in and on your business.

You should also think about the type of work you can handle. As an introverted (but people loving!) coach, I can struggle during weeks where I have to spend a ton of time with people in my full-time job. I generally give myself more rest and flexibility those weeks, and will sometimes block my calendar from taking any appointments (I definitely do this with new clients, sorry guys!). Treat yourself like you’d treat a good friend. Know your own limits and be okay with slowing down if you need to.  And don’t forget to schedule in breaks for yourself! And if you’re truly committed and want to keep moving forward without burning yourself out, hire someone to complete the techy or annoying (to you) tasks.

Know your “secret sauce”.

What are you known for amongst your friends? Are you super creative? Highly organized? An amazing party planner? A self-made chef? All of these can be turned into an online business:

  • Super creative = graphic designer, calligrapher, crafter/Etsy shop owner, blogger/infopreneur, photographer
  • Highly organized = online business manager, project manager, executive assistant, productivity or organization blogger/infopreneur
  • Party planner = blogger/infopreneur, event planner
  • Chef = blogger/infopreneur, self-published author (recipes), health coach (meal prep)

These are just a few ideas!

Many people overlook their natural talents. Don’t be afraid to ask your closest friends and families what talents and strengths come to mind when they think of you. And think about what people tend to come to you for; that’s usually a sign of something you’re very good at! Use this complete list of online businesses to give you some additional ideas!

Ask yourself, “Who can I help?”

Get clear on how your specific business can help someone and who that someone is. If you are going to be a health coach, focusing specifically on food and meal prep, who is your perfect client?  Busy moms, busy executives, college students?

Get really clear on the individual you want to help. How old are they? How educated? What shows do they watch? What do they worry about most? Where do they hang out online (and off)? Do they have kids or no?

Getting crystal clear on your ideal client will help you with creating content specifically for them. It will also help you avoid wasting time trying to appeal to everyone – it’s impossible!

This is a great resource for figuring out your ideal client.

Don’t allow yourself to get distracted with unimportant tasks.

I actually think this is THE most important item on this list. Once you start looking, there is a TON of information out there about starting an online business and it is very easy to become overwhelmed, especially as an HSP. Before you ever get started, do your research and create a structured list of what’s most important and then start taking action on those items. Try not to get too distracted by higher-level items like SEO, sales funnels, or even a fancy website. Start simple and grow from there. Building a multi-page website at the very beginning of your business usually equals a complete overhaul a few months into your work —- when you’re better able to pinpoint exactly what you want to offer and what your clients want. And please don’t feel the need to be on multiple social media platforms. It’s distracting and takes up too much of your precious time!

My biggest tip here:  Don’t download multiple freebies and join too many groups, email lists, or courses. Focus on a few key tasks, like growing an email list, and know that you’ll have time to figure out the rest later.

Wondering where to start? The checklists here are a great resource.

Start with small wins.

Your first clients will likely be your friends, family, or friends of friends.  You can also use local or entrepreneurial Facebook groups to find work as a freelancer. If you don’t have any professional experience doing what you’d like to do in your business, consider taking on 1-2 free clients to build your skill set and your references. Use a free resource like PayPal or Stripe to take payments until you are making enough to use a paid resource like Dubsado or 17Hats.

Consider getting a coach or taking a course.

This can be a tough pill to swallow, but if you want to grow in your business, automate your processes, and make more money, I highly recommend working with a coach (like me!) or taking a course to learn how to do your own digital marketing. I also think it’s a great idea to join a paid group of fellow entrepreneurs. The camaraderie and community is so important! 

Once you reach a certain level, it only makes sense to invest in your business if you want to keep growing. And if you want to skip some of the uncertainty in the beginning of your biz, a coach like me can help you with the crazy mindset issues that come with starting a business (around confidence, money, impostor syndrome..the list is never-ending!) along with creating a focused, simple plan to avoid overwhelm. 

Want to know my top three tips for making more money in your side hustle without working more hours? Read about it here!

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