In 2015, my Husband and I started up our Bar. We thought we’d run it alongside our ‘real jobs’ and get a little bit ahead on our mortgage and savings-real things that real grown ups think about. We were hoping it would be popular but man we were not prepared for the success that hit us like a freight train. Before we knew it we were turning down bookings because a) there are only so many days in a year and b) it turns out burnout is a real thing…
One spectacular example of my tight schedule planning springs to mind-when I had forgotten to schedule in sleep between the end of one big, long wedding (a long drive away) and an early start on a video shoot. We slept for 1.5 hours and it shows in every shot we paid big bucks to a videographer to create that next day.
It was then that we realised we had the balance way out and things had to change. We still have our hectic days but now our bar runs mostly in balance with the rest of our lives(including a new addition who arrived last year and added a whole lot more crazy!) After a whole year on maternity leave, I initially wasn’t sure I’d go back to the ‘real’ world but here I am a month in and I couldn’t be happier and our bar? Well she’s chugging along better than ever. It seems like our side-hustle is here to stay, so here are the things I like to keep in mind:
1. Don’t let your full-time job take the hit
When you start up your side hustle, you’ll be excited and motivated. So excited and motivated that you might even think about opening that little Private Browser up while you’re at your real job just to check on things…
I’m gonna assume you’re running a side-hustle because you need that ‘real’ job for little things like food and somewhere to live. You open that browser thinking no-one will notice, and the next time it’ll be easier to open it because no-one noticed last time right?
Wrong, someone will have noticed, and if not straight away, it won’t take long before your distraction becomes evident. I won’t talk about what comes next because it’s obvious but food and a dry bed are pretty nice things to have so don’t risk them.
It goes without saying that sometimes its ok- we all check our emails while on lunch, answer a quick call on a coffee run or schedule some quick social posts on the long commute but I’ll leave it up to you to work out where the line is.
2. Don’t be afraid to spend $ on efficiency
Technology makes things that could be really hard, really really easy these days. It’s very tempting to spend all your $$$ on things that are nice to have but the reality is that your customers won’t notice most of these things. However, they will notice your slow responses, inaccurate invoices and scheduling mistakes and those things impact bookings. We made the decision to spend our hard-earned cash on things that make our lives more efficient-enter technology.
There are a lot of options out there but we use and love: Xero for accounting, Asana and Honeybook for project management, Hootsuite for social media management, Sling for employee scheduling and if you’re really into improving your efficiency there’s nothing like timing yourself-Time Doctor is the one for that.
3. Make time to work on your business or it won’t happen
Another thing to consider now you’re not running your business while at work, is when the hell are you going to run it then? We schedule time in the evening after the kid goes to bed and before dinner to do emails.
We always make time to discuss the business over dinner at least once a week to ensure we’re on the same page. And of course, when we’re not out creating some serious awesomeness, I always take time on the weekend to make sure I’m caught up for the week ahead. If you just try to find time to work on your business, there will almost always be a better offer so schedule that shit in and stick to it.
4. Spend more time doing than planning
I am the obsessive long-term planner. I love nothing better than an empty notebook, a long list and some ideas to get me into a planning frenzy. But I now know that’s not the way to get stuff done.
Make a few small plans and goals and then get started on them- things might change, in fact they definitely will and having that long list makes starting even more daunting. It’s your side-hustle (and you’ve got that big ole’ pay check coming in from the real world every week too, remember?) so you can afford to be a bit flexible and make those decisions as the moment arises. Of course, there are times when it’s all about planning: busy weekends, huge events and complicated schedules but we’re talking long-term here not what you’re doing next week.
5. See your side-hustle as your ‘me-time’
I’m going to let you in on a secret here-your friends are probably not going to see your new business as a fun place to be on a Saturday night (that’s why you need friends like MBP though amiright?!) But you need to see it as your ‘me time’, your passion and the place you WANT to be. If you always see it as work, you’re not going to have the energy left after a busy week in the real world to sit down and start doing that reconciling or batching up cocktails. Eventually you’re going to be one of those mobile bars we’ve all seen up for sale online and on social media because the poor owners wanted their weekends and friends back.
We’re super lucky to work in an industry where you get to hang out at parties for work so take advantage of that, enjoy every second and you’ll go a long way.