Unemployment sucks. Unless it is planned and very short, not having a job can have a tremendous impact on you life in ways you can’t imagine. So, it stands to reason, that having a job is better, right? Well, that’s the curse of a new job…
There are tons of people who are building a business on the side. We devote a large part of our lives to growing a business that we hope will one day provide support for our families and allow us to pursue our passions and calling. Until it does, we have to make money some how and often, that means a job. So, what happens when the job evaporates? If you hated the job, you are ecstatic. If you loved that job, well, let’s say you are less than ecstatic. Either way, you now have more time to devote to your side business which is a good (dare I say great) thing.
If your business is not to the point where it can support you yet, your time will typically be split in two ways: looking for a new job and growing your business so it can support you. So, you work on your business and look for a job. If you are lucky, that next job comes around quickly or your business booms because of the time you can now devote. Let’s not talk about what happens if you are not so lucky.
Eventually, something changes and for the sake of our discussion, let’s say you found a great job. Time to celebrate?
After being unemployed for several months (or longer), a new job is a cause to celebrate, especially when the job is a great fit for your skills, interests, and passion. You begin the new job with all the enthusiasm that the job deserves. You get off to a great start, filling a need at the company, working hard, and doing great things. Unfortunately, your side business suffers. You have just experienced the curse of a new job.
Overcoming the curse of a new job
If you find yourself with the curse of a new job, don’t despair. Here are a few ideas to help make that transition a smooth one:
1. Determine your new boundaries
A new job can consume a tremendous amount of time. We all want to do a good job and learn as much as possible as quickly as possible. If you are a workaholic, chances are that you will be working long days for your new job. Understand that you need to establish boundaries between your new job, your side business, and your personal life. Your family and friends need you. You need some time off. Your side business will not grow if you forget about it. Boundaries are vital for a healthy life.
2. Develop a schedule
After a few weeks in a new job, you will have a good idea of what is expected and how long it will take. Can you wake up early to work on your side business? How about devoting 30 minutes of your lunch? Surely you can find a few hours in the evenings and on the weekend to grow your business. Everyone gets 168 hours each week. Look at how you are spending yours and carve out specific times to work on your business. Schedule it, stick to it, and watch your business grow.
3. Find a skill convergence point
One of the great benefits of new jobs are the skills we learn. Company provided classes, new responsibilities, and projects all provide great opportunities to become more valuable for the company. Why not try to find a convergence point where the skills you learn at your new job can also help you in your side business. It’s a win-win situation.
4. Don’t be too hard on yourself
New jobs require a large investment of time and attention in the early days. During that time, your side business may slip. Don’t beat yourself up too much. You can’t do everything. Once things settle down and get into a routine, go back to #2 and develop your schedule. Establish your boundaries and take care of yourself. Have fun and enjoy yourself.
We all need to support ourselves and our families. The loss of a job can be a traumatic experience but so can getting a new job. By determining your boundaries, developing a schedule, finding a skill convergence point, and not being too hard on yourself, your new job can be a blessing, not a hindrance, to your life and side business. Relax and enjoy the journey.