Balancing entrepreneurship with a full-time job takes a bit of strategic planning and substantial effort, but with the right system in place you can balance both without having to sacrifice one for the other.
I spoke with Cole Jacobs, an entrepreneur who balances two separate businesses while also working a full-time job as a manager leading a team of 800 employees, and he shared his tips for success.
Get clear on your goals.
When your attention is split between multiple businesses, goals become even more important as they can serve as your north star and ensure you’re always moving forward. Jacobs believes that “90% of achieving success is just understanding what your goals are and then creating the right systems to achieve them. This requires a lot of planning, a lot of coordination, and a lot of discipline,” he says. When you have clear goals, you can also create a clear plan of action to turn those goals into reality.
Getting and staying organized is key to being able to balance your job with your business, with the latter being particularly important for sustained success. You need to have a system in place to keep track of goals and deadlines to ensure nothing slips through the cracks. You should find a way to keep track of your tasks and put them into a workflow. There are multiple software options that help you do this, such as Asana, Airtable, Smartsheet, and more, so do your research to find the solution that best meets your needs.
Give 100% to whichever task you’re working on.
The key is not to split your attention fifty-fifty, it’s to give 100% to the task at hand, then 100% again to the next task when you move onto that. Being able to go all in and be completely present in what you’re doing will help you achieve success quicker than if you’re constantly multitasking and only giving part of yourself to each thing you’re working on.
Optimize your daily routine.
Having a set routine will allow you to make the most of your day. Be disciplined with your sleep schedule, make time for exercise and self-care, and ensure that you aren’t skipping meals just to get in an extra hour of work. There will always be things that are competing for your time, but when you have a routine in place you can better plan out your day to be able to accommodate everything.
Protect your personal time.
It’s crucial to protect your personal time and not let work find its way into that time. This is something that Jacobs swears by and credits to his success. “I’ve found that I really had to protect my own personal time during the day. When I do that, I have so much more to give. If I’m not protecting myself, if I have nothing left to give to myself, then I have nothing to give to anything else and I’m pouring from an empty cup,” he explained. Taking care of yourself will ensure that you can take care of your business.
Take time to disconnect.
You need to take time to take a break and disconnect periodically to prevent burnout. By disconnecting, you’re giving yourself time to rest and then return to work refreshed, which is far more beneficial than pushing yourself through to the point of exhaustion. This time off can be as short as simply not working for an afternoon or as long as a full vacation. As long as you don’t work during that time off, it will be beneficial. A short time of disconnecting can be particularly beneficial if you’ve hit a roadblock that you just can’t seem to make headway on. When you take a step back and pause, you can return with fresh eyes and see things in a different light, then take another shot at finding a solution.
While balancing full-time work and entrepreneurship does take a bit of extra effort, as long as you manage your time and energy wisely, you’ll achieve success in both areas.