One of the dreams many people have is to start a business. Having a side income, or starting a business designed to eventually replace a day job, is a big deal for a lot of people.
However, finding the time to start your business can be challenging. After all, there are only a limited number of hours in the day, and you might need to prioritize your day job and family obligations.
If you’re looking for time to start your business, here are some things you can do to make it happen.
Figure Out How You Already Use Your Time
The first step to finding time to start your business is to know where it’s going. How do you use your time right now?
Track your time use. While there are apps that can do this for you, it might make a bigger impact if you use a pen and paper. Get a small notebook. Every time you start an activity, write down what it is and the time you start. When you stop that activity, note the time you stop and add up how many minutes you spent on it.
If you have a cell phone, it will keep track of how much screen time you use — and how you spend that screen time. You can see how many hours a day or week you’re on Facebook, Twitter or playing a game.
Pay attention to what you’re spending your time on. Are you surfing the internet? Watching two hours of TV each day? Playing Candy Crush on your phone?
Figuring out how you use your time can be a huge eye-opener. If you can figure out which activities are the least valuable, you can stop spending your time on those items and use the time to work on your business.
Prioritize Important Tasks
Now that you know how you use your time, you can prioritize what matters most.
Spending time with your life partner or with your kids probably gets high priority. And there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, prioritizing family time and some time for self-care is important and can help you as you start your business.
However, you also need to prioritize your time working on your business. Make sure that you carve out time in the day to work on your business. You might have to go to work at your day job all day. When you get home, you can spend some time with family, and then work on your business after the kids go to bed.
You can also arrange matters so that, if your partner goes to bed early, you can spend time with them and go to bed, but you get up early to work on your business.
The key is figuring out what things are going to be most important in your life and then focusing on those items. Prioritize the things that matter, schedule time for your business and cut out some of the tasks that aren’t as important in your life.
One of the most important things I did for my own business was to start outsourcing certain tasks that were taking up time.
For example, I spent two hours a week cleaning my house. When I outsourced that task, I had two extra hours to work on my business. The house cleaning actually pays for itself now because the things I do with my business make more than enough money to cover the cost of house cleaning — and then some.
You can also consider outsourcing aspects of your business that take up a lot of time, but that can be effectively done by someone else. Once your business starts making money, consider outsourcing things like social media and tax prep.
Outsourcing immediately probably isn’t an option, but if you devote time to working on your business, and you start earning some revenue, eventually you’ll be able to outsource some of your tasks. You’ll free up time to work on more valuable big picture things and be able to grow your business more effectively in the time you have available to you.
The reality is that you have to make time to start your business. Sometimes it’s not about “finding” the time, but rather prioritizing your business and making time for it. It’s not always easy, especially if you’re juggling various obligations to a day job and to your family.
However, if you can get the support of your loved ones, figure out where you might be wasting time, and then free up time to focus on your business, there’s a good chance you’ll be successful in the long run.