How to Find Time to Start Your Own Business
*This article was originally published in the August/September 2014 issue of the Fulton County, GA Women's Journal available here: http://bit.ly/ZsXy8Y
Disclaimer: when you have other things going on in your life (as every woman I know does), there will never be an ideal time to start a new business. There will always be another commitment, obligation or unavoidable duty that can easily stand the way of reaching your goal…if you let it.
In my case, it was right in the middle of what I jokingly refer to as my “fake maternity leave” when I started my second business. Technically, I wasn’t reporting to the office every day, but as the owner of another 10-year-old business, I was never really off the clock. Add to that, a three-month-old and a husband who worked long hours and you have my life as it existed when I started BambiniWare in 2013.
The concept was simple: innovative baby gear and accessories for modern moms with style. The execution, of course, was an entirely different story. With no design experience (unless you count the tote bag that I made in 7th grade), I started from ground zero, using every bit of the spare time that I didn’t know I had until I went on a scavenger hunt to find.
Within three months of launching BambiniWare, I was invited to showcase the line at a Pre-Golden Globes Celebrity gifting suite for Hollywood moms and dads. And in the fall of 2014, BambiniWare’s Burpa™ collection of smart and stylish bibs made its debut in the "Mom Knows Best" section of The Bump, the #1 baby magazine in the country.
Here’s how I did it all in my “spare” time and my best advice for how you can too...
Begin with the end in mind.
When selecting a launch date, you should be as realistic as possible, without giving yourself too much or too little time. In the former case, having too much time can actually backfire. As time goes on, your sense of urgency will wane and starting your business will become less of a priority among competing interests. In the latter case, giving yourself too little time can cause unnecessary stress that could have easily been avoided since you’re the one in control of the calendar.
Draft your master plan.
Beginning with your projected launch date, work your way backwards and write out every task that you need to complete by the time the date arrives. In this stage, it’s best to supplement your pre-existing knowledge (if any) with extensive industry research to ensure that you don’t miss any steps.
Be realistic with your to-do list.
Next, place your tasks in categories and assign deadlines, approximate time needed and priorities. At the end of each week, evaluate your progress and make adjustments as necessary. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get everything accomplished exactly as you planned. In my case, I already knew that it would take me three times longer to do things than before, so I built in extra time and I tempered my expectations. If I got three things done in a day, I was happy. And in the instances where I only got one thing done, I looked at it as one thing that moved me closer to my goal.
Take back your time.
We can all relate to the feeling of not having enough hours in the day. Between work, spouses, children and everything else we have going on, it can be difficult to find a free moment. But somehow, we still often find time to indulge in our “guilty pleasures.” Real Housewives, anyone? Whether your vice is TV, social media or anything else that sucks up mindless hours of your time, press the “off” button and start refocusing your time and attention on whittling down your to-do list. It’s amazing how much you can get done in hour when you’re not watching TV or refreshing your newsfeed.
Re-define your work day.
Rather than try to work on my new business while my daughter was awake, I decided to shelve everything until she fell asleep. That way, she didn’t miss out on my attention and I didn’t feel like I was missing out on my work. Some days, this meant that I started working after she fell asleep and continued until the wee hours of the morning. Other days, it meant that I fell asleep with her and woke up in the wee hours of the morning to get my work done before she woke up. Whether you are a night owl or an early bird, the key is to fully utilize the time when you know that distractions are minimal.
Seek wise counsel.
It helps to have a trusted counselor or accountability partner in your corner who can help you stay focused on reaching your goal. I emphasize "trusted," because you can’t assume that everyone you know will maintain confidentiality or have your best interest at heart when it comes to you starting a new business. Look for a business-oriented friend or mentor—ideally one who is already successful in business—to use as a resource and sounding board. In return, it’s always nice to offer a lunch, dinner or meaningful token of appreciation for his or her time.
If you liked this post, you should also check out my article on "How to Turn Your Passions into Profits."
Hey Haute Mamas! I'm Riche Holmes Grant, a modern mom + mompreneur who designs smart + stylish products that make your mommy gig easier.
When I'm not busy taking orders from my toddler boss, I'm contributing to MarthaStewart.com or in the kitchen whipping up delicious baby + toddler gourmet creations in my BambiniWare Apronini.
Get my FREE book on How to Make the Best Food for Your Baby here!
I live in the Washington, DC area with my husband and daughter. Follow our adventures on Instagram via @BambiniWare!
- Categories: Career + Entrepreneurship
- Riche Holmes Grant