Working for Yourself Part-Time
If you are starting a side-business as an entrepreneur, you will work for yourself part-time. You are taking the financial and operational risk. Developing a side-business or side-hustle, online training, licensing, selling products online and many other types of services are all possible. Whether you are just starting in this venture, or creating another arm of your current business, there are some principles that are beneficial for all part-time entrepreneurs.
The term part-time is defined differently by every person, job, or employer. In the U.S., it’s working between 1-34 hours per week. In Aug. 2020, around 23.6 million people were employed part-time in the U.S.* If employed part-time, you are usually not entitled to benefits, such as health insurance. But if self-employed part-time, you are also providing your own benefits. There are four areas we’ll cover here on what it takes to be a part-time entrepreneur. Mindset, Planning, Consistency and Network.
Any new venture begins with a mindset that is willing to put in the type of work that is needed. (see: Day Job to Entrepreneur) There is no substitute for the effort! The guidance and motivation to keep going will usually come from outside sources, but the decision to work hard is yours. It also takes a willing mindset to work with a trainer, guide or coach to keep you on track to get to another level or achieve your goals. I work with a trainer on a stationary bike because I need that push. I’ve also worked with a coach in music and in speaking because I needed that push. But I still had to do the work. They couldn’t do it for me.
Being a part-time entrepreneur is entirely possible, but getting to the place of sustainability, profit and growth takes time, work and constant evaluation. It takes the mindset of putting small pieces in place to move ahead as you won’t have the luxury of spending hours and hours or days and days on one project until you’re done. You have to divide it up. If you are willing to put those pieces in place, you are definitely in a better position than many who haphazardly start on a venture, only to quit way before they should.
Your plan will help you stay on track. As an artist, the type of planning that is needed never came naturally to me. Although, I noticed something. Whenever producing a new album, the system I had put in place for each project made the completion not only possible, but successful. Looking back, that realization helped me to put a system in place for others as I was often asked, “How do you get so much done?” and “Do you ever sleep?”
Planning is still a journey for me and it should be for all of us. I love Abraham Lincoln’s quote, “If you have six hours to chop down a tree, spend four hours sharpening the axe.” So much of business is looking back to see what worked, then discovering a way to systematize it. This has happened in my business with working with a virtual assistant. I’m constantly discovering a new and more efficient way to communicate what I need to automate. I want to eliminate as many mistakes as possible and this takes absolute clarity in my plan.
I can’t emphasize consistency enough. Recently, I was out pulling weeds. We have those sticker weeds sometimes called puncturevines or goatheads. When they dry up the stickers are deadly and really hurt if they’re tracked into the house. As we’ve been doing some work on our property, I didn’t want them just covered up, I wanted to dig them up. So I know that if I consistently go out to dig them up, I can get this done. Then it’s not so overwhelming to try to do all at once. (see: Deep Work)
That same principle applies to so many areas in life. Many people struggle with doing just a little at a time. They want to finish the whole thing. This is where a good timer is handy. Schedule time in each day, then set your timer. This is especially helpful if you don’t feel like getting to a particular project. I don’t always feel like taking the shovel and digging or in my business, rewriting an article or updating an offer. Believe me, the timer helps!
You can’t do everything. Even those who are self-sufficient understand the benefits of collaboration and connection. During the recent shutdown, many introverts thought working alone was ideal! But I’m an introvert and I’ll tell you, we need each other! We are created as humans needing face-to-face contact as social creatures! Some need it more than others and are better at collaborating with others as well. (see: Think Tank article)
I recently read an article about draft horses, which are very large, muscular animals that have been used for pulling great loads and moving heavy objects throughout history. Clydesdales are draft horses and many are familiar with this type of team pulling Budweiser Beer floats in the Rose Parade. An interesting fact is that a single draft horse can pull a load of up to 8,000 pounds. You’d figure if you put two together, they could pull 16,000 pounds but that’s not correct. They can actually pull three times as much, which is up to 24,000 pounds!** This is the beauty of collaboration. We can not only double effectiveness, but triple.
You are Your Own Boss
When in business for yourself as your own boss, an independent contractor, or part-time entrepreneur, most start strong. But after the initial momentum has worn off the journey gets much tougher. Anxiety, fear and the imposter syndrome are constantly knocking at your door! Keeping your focus with a good plan, timer and schedule to keep you consistent and network, you will have a much greater chance for success and fulfillment. Your ideal work and lifestyle take work—there is not substitute for that. But the rewards are great! (see: Dream a Little Dream) I want that for you! (See Organizational Structure article)
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