Have you ever noticed how easily you can talk yourself out of taking on scary goals? When you decide to take on something life-changing – like, say, starting a business – the head trash begins, amIrite?! We can effortlessly tell ourselves all the reasons why our idea is crazy, impossible, and a waste of time. And the excuses! The excuses we come up with are wide-ranging and soooo convincing!
So when I launched Wake.Coffee.Slay with the mission of creating more mom business owners, I knew I had to remove the myriad barriers, limiting beliefs, and excuses that so many of us mamas have before we even get started. There are a lot of things that may hold you back from starting a business. Tell me of any of these sound familiar…
- You’re not smart enough or have enough knowledge to start a business
- And for goodness sakes, you don’t even know what business you want to start!
- You are comfortable and safe in your current job and there’s no need to rock that boat. Ships are safest in the harbor.
However, time is the one thing that I’ve personally seen stop a’many of my fellow mommas. How do you possibly have the time to start a business when your life is already filled to the max?
As Lizzo Says “Truth Hurts”
The truth is: yes, if you want to start a business, there’s a time-investment component that is unavoidable. There is no such thing as a business that doesn’t take at least some time to set up and launch. You’ll need to treat your business like a part-time job or like you’re going back to school, devoting no fewer than 10 hours a week to it.
For some, 10 hours a week will feel impossible. For others, 10 hours may not feel like enough time. But if you can put in 10 solid hours a week into your business, you’ll begin to see some amazing results pretty quickly.
It’s likely these 10 hours will not all come at once, and that’s ok. It really doesn’t matter how you split up the time. The secret to making the most out of those 10 hours is intention, focus, and hella time-management skills!
If you follow Wake.Coffee.Slay at all, you know that time-management is kinda my jam. I’ve written posts on some of my absolute favorite time-management strategies, with tips on time-blocking and Pomodoro. I’ve even laid out the simple 4-step method that I use to actually move things into the “done” column.
However, if you still feel like there’s not enough time to get that brilliant business off the ground, never fear! Here are my favorite ways to dedicate time to my business in between my crazy life.
Swap Out Social Media
A really obvious – albeit difficult, I know – way to make more time is by removing or limiting your social media consumption. It’s so easy to lose track of time while endlessly scrolling through pictures, posts, and memes of people you barely talk to. But there are psychological reasons to kick the social media habit as well.
Have you ever felt worse about yourself after a social media sesh? If you have, you’re not alone. As it turns out, constantly comparing yourself and your life to other people isn’t great for your mental health. (hyperlink). Many times, even though social media makes you FEEL like you’re a part of a community, you will find yourself feeling more isolated than before after you opened that app.
Social media can be a good tool for connecting people together. But you know what’s even better? Actually connecting with that person face-to-face or voice-to-voice. So substitute that social media time for time spent building your business instead. You’ll have your business launched and thriving in no time!
Make Your Wait Times More Productive
Do you find yourself waiting around as much as I do? I don’t know about you, but I am always waiting for something.
Waiting for the doctor, waiting at gymnastics class or soccer practice, waiting at the airport, waiting for my kids in the carpool line at school…
If this rings true for you as well, know that there are lots of ways that you can make the most out of this time, even if it’s only a brief 5 or 10 minutes. You’ve probably got your internet-connected phone on you at all times, including while you wait, so try spending your time doing one of these:
- Create a mind map of the steps you’ll need to accomplish make it to your next goal
- Brainstorm and/or research your next blog post or newsletter topic
- Write or voice-transcribe content for said blog post or newsletter (or website, or marketing materials, etc)
- Read a motivational or business-oriented book, or listen to the audiobook
Quiet Time in the Mornings or Evenings
“If someone else tells me to wake up at 5:00 am to chase my dreams or start my day right, I’m to lose it!” is what I used to tell myself after reading about the miracle of waking up early from another self-help guru. If you feel this way too, know that you’re not alone. I know that simply “waking up earlier” feels like an unrealistic and – well – exhausting notion, especially if you already wake up exhausted. So if you don’t have it in you to wake up an hour or two earlier to work on your business, there’s nothing wrong with building your business at a more reasonable hour, or in the evenings after your house has quieted down. Just find the time.
I would not consider myself a morning person in the least. However, I recently bargained with myself to start waking up an hour earlier (which also forces me to go to bed at a more reasonable hour). And I must admit that those sweet, calm, quiet moments I get to myself before my kids are up are some of the most productive moments of my day!
Weekly CEO Dates
Once a week, I take myself to my favorite tea house and work exclusively on my business for a solid 2-4 hours. I call it my weekly CEO date, which is an idea that I’ve adapted from one of my favorite mama entrepreneurs, Racheal Cook (hyperlink). CEO Dates are dedicated blocks of time that are meant to be spent looking at your business from a strategic level.
I, on the other hand, actually use this quiet time to think about my business in big and small ways. Without those constant interruptions, I can complete the items on my to-do list that need copious amounts of intense attention.
Turn a Girls Outing Into Accountability Night
If you’re lucky enough to have like-minded girlfriends in your circle, try a little twist on girls night. Yes, great food, drinks, and lots of laughs can still be involved. But you can also use a part of the evening holding each other accountable. Review your goals, brainstorm, be sounding boards for each other, and create new goals and markers of success together.
One group of girlfriends and I have a monthly brunch that serves this dual purpose. We spend the first half of our time reconnecting, chatting, and giggling (over mimosas, of course), and the second half of our time reviewing our goals and making future plans. It’s a wonderful way to bond with friends and commit to moving your business forward.
Weekends, Lunch Times, Nap Times, and Other Down Times
Finding the minimum 10 hours a week that you’ll need to devote to your business might be a little easier if you have any free time on the weekends, during lunch, or when your kids nap. Your time will be especially well-spent if you work on a set of batched tasks during these downtimes. Think: creating social media posts, accounting tasks, or returning phone calls.
Also, remember to use discretion if you are working on your business during your lunch break at your 9-5. I suggest stepping away from your desk and company-issued computer completely and using your own device for your business. You never want to use your company’s property or time to start your own personal endeavors.
Ask Friends/Family For Help
Don’t be ashamed to ask family members or friends who live nearby to help you out with the kids so you can work on your biz. If you happen to have family nearby, ask if they will come over once a week for a few hours to relieve you. Alternatively, if you have friends with children who may also need a break, try a kid-swap. Mutually agree that you’ll take your friend’s kids for a few hours one day; then, later in the week, they can take your kids for a similar amount of time.
If you’re a 9-5 working momma who utilizes public transportation, then this could be a perfect time to squeeze in some work on the biz. Assign yourself tasks that you could easily do while you’re in transit, such as copywriting, researching, or sketching/conceptualizing.
If you don’t use public transportation and drive yourself to work, don’t fret! There are other ways you can dedicate this time to building your business. The car is a great place to listen to business- or expertise-related audiobooks – there’s nothing wrong with expanding your knowledge! I also use the car to listen to business-related podcasts and courses that I’ve purchased.
Bonus Tip: Stop Saying Yes to Those Things You Really Want to Say “No” to
If you know my blog, you know I love a good bonus tip, so here it is: No is a totally acceptable answer under nearly all circumstances.
Dear friend, time is THE most precious commodity that we have. Once we spend it, it never comes back or replenishes. I don’t mean to sound all doomy-and-gloomy when I say this. But I want to remind you to spend your time wisely and purposefully. If someone is asking you to spend your time in a way that a) you don’t want to and b) keeps you from putting that time and energy into your business, find a way to politely decline.
“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself” – Andy Warhol
Building a business while raising little ones definitely has its unique challenges. But, I hope you’ll remember this article when you tell yourself (again!) that you don’t have the time to take action on that brilliant business idea. Life is made up of moments, dear friend. And making the most out of those small, quiet moments is the way to turn your business dreams into a reality, even as a busy momma.
Raise your right hand and repeat after me: “I [state your name] do hereby solemnly swear that I will never ever ever use lack of time as an excuse for not moving my dreams forward!”
As always, I’d love to hear from you! Have you tried any of the above tips? What other downtimes and quiet moments have you found to work on your business? I’d love it if you let me know in the comments!