By Alastair Cameron
There are many reasons why someone might decide to become a part-time entrepreneur.
Perhaps it’s simply a lifestyle choice, a chance to balance work and family better, or perhaps you want to test the viability of a business idea before quitting your job and launching into full-time self-employment. Whatever the motivation, working as a part-time entrepreneur can be something of a juggling act, but certain attributes and behaviours will help you to manage the daily pressures and considerations that may come your way.
1. Be rigid with your diary
Time management is key. Often the clients that you work for in a part-time capacity will fail to appreciate that you are not working on a full-time basis. In fact, if you are hoping eventually to develop your part-time venture into a full-blown business career, then you might want to maintain the impression that you are in fact working full-time.
If this is the case you will almost inevitably encounter situations where time is extremely tight. To deal with this effectively and maintain some semblance of a ‘life’ make sure to keep a strict diary and block off a specific time each day / week where you can undertake certain vital duties. For example, if you need to make Skype calls, allow some time each day, let's say from 10am and 12 noon, where this is the main focus of your attention. Of course this doesn’t mean that if something else urgently needs your attention you should simply ignore it, but by setting aside this specific time in order to carry out such tasks you will help to add a structure to your day which many self-employed people struggle to create.
Planning becomes even more crucial for those who are maintaining a full-time job alongside their part-time enterprise. Especially important in such a situation is the specific designation of ‘down time’, a period in which you do not complete any work. This can be one of the most difficult things for entrepreneurs to achieve, as they feel obliged to dedicate every moment of their waking life to their work. However with such an approach it won't take long for you to run out of steam, which could have negative consequences for your business.
Your enterprise needs you to be well rested and balanced if you are to perform well for it, so try to think of your down time as crucial for the success of your business.
2. Be prepared to say “no”
You can’t do everything! When you are a part-time entrepreneur who is beginning to grow a successful business, the chances are you will be more open to take on work that you otherwise wouldn’t. That is the nature of the beast, it takes a while for you to be able to differentiate what work is worthwhile, and what work is a waste of your time. Of course you have to consider this on a case per case basis, be prepared to say “no thank you, this isn’t for me”. Being able to and being prepared to say “no” is an important skill - after all too much work, and work that you might not feel 100% comfortable with, can have a detrimental effect on the success of your whole part-time business venture. You will also struggle to manage your time and the other commitments you have. Too much work can sometimes be a bad thing.
3. Outsource if need be
You can’t be a jack of all trades. It’s fair to say that some part-time entrepreneurs will only ever want a part-time venture, and that is totally fine. However other entrepreneurs may look at the part-time nature of the business as a stepping stone to bigger, better (possibly!) things. So, as a part time entrepreneur with an intent to remain so, you may need to consider at some point, outsourcing some of the more generic tasks that you will need to complete.
Even part-time entrepreneurs have to worry about accounts, cash flow, website management, social media, customer service, and so on. At some point and especially if your venture becomes too big for you to handle, you might need to consider outsourcing to other companies, freelancers, co-workers. Outsourcing can also mean taking on another person (part-time of course!) and also potentially looking at another founder / co-founder who can lighten the load.
4. Don’t be hard on yourself
The pressure of running a part-time business and working as a part-time entrepreneur can sometimes get the better of you. Others will often assume that working a part-time venture or business will also mean half the amount of stress and workload. Wrong!
The reality is that for many part time entrepreneurs, (unless it really is a part time hobby business with no stress) the duties and workload you commit to in running your business result in extra stress and anxiety. So, before leaving this page, remember to not be hard on yourself if you cannot always fully commit or complete as you would like, and give yourself a gentle pat on the back - being able to give yourself credit and appreciation is skill that comes in very handy as a part-time entrepreneur!
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