Why Passion and Balance Do Not Go Together
Balance is one overrated myth for passionate people. How can you teach balance to a burning fire like passion? How can you tell someone to do less of what they love when it pulls them in like a magnet and commands their attention?
I mean, do you honestly believe the fine experts in any field – whether it’s musicians or copy writers or marketers or film directors – had balance and achieved this level of proficiency and knowledge? Or is it more likely that they put in insane hours and crazy effort, way too much time and sweat, and lived in an underworld void of all semblance of balance and normalcy until they had paid their dues to their dreams?
You see, Malcolm Gladwell and his theory of 10,000 hours has merit. It really does. So if you want to get really, really good at your side-hustle, don’t kid yourself: you need to put in some serious time, darling!
But the good news is that you don’t need to gain expert level now or tomorrow or even in a year. You need to learn the necessary ropes and then stick to some non-negotiable rules when it comes to balancing your day job and side-hustle.
Now, by side-hustle, I mean a side business, a passion-driven work that you do on the side and with a lot of hustle! It can be in any field. Maybe you are tired of working in banking and want to do something more fulfilling like writing a book. Then you need to learn the world of writing and publishing and then figure out your entry point into that world, while still staying focused on that banking job. Aha!
8 Non-Negotiable Rules of Balance
So you’re starting a side business while employed. That’s great. For the purposes of us here, let’s presume here that you have your side-hustle figured out and you need to move into the balancing stage. Let’s talk about 8 non-negotiable rules:
1. Setting Clear Priorities with Yourself
The first thing is to take your side-hustle seriously. If you treat it frivolously, then it will flop. If you put care and attention and time into it, it will grow. You do that continuously by first taking it seriously. That means, it has to find its place and its priority in your life.
You need to get very clear about this very quickly so when life distractions get in the way, your choices are crystal clear too.
2. Clarifying Expectations with Your Boss
Your boss is the one person that you need to please at all times. If you have heard otherwise, you’ve heard wrong! Your immediate boss must remain happy. Be useful to him. He’s your top priority. Everything else is bonus, especially if you no longer wish to climb the ladder.
So it is a great time to reset expectations with the boss. Don’t mention anything about your side-hustle. Just set up a 1:1 meeting and ask your boss to remind you of his current priorities.
Keep those in mind and be on top of those tasks. Then move other things slightly lower on the list. Meet with him as regularly as you can, and in fact, more regularly when you have a side-hustle than when you didn’t!
3. Displaying Your Boundaries Respectfully to Peers
Your peers do not need to know what you are doing with your spare time so keep your mouth shut and pull yourself slightly out of the co-worker chummy circle. Stop wasting your time at after-hour gatherings if you want to build a side-business. Appear fun and caring during business hours but be very guarded with your time.
Also, if you are doing lots of extra work for your peers, you may need to start opting out due to “personal commitments”.
4. Learning to Say No With Diplomacy
You will need to say no a lot. Here’s a great phase to use “I’m sorry but I am already over-committed!” You need to know when you can say no.
The boss rarely gets a no. Your peers in your team or in cross-functional teams, maybe. The company meeting in the cafeteria, do you really need to go? The Happy Hour after work? Can you just say no? The gossip circle – or career killer – at the water cooler? Can you just go to your desk and finish your work so you can get to the side-hustle faster? You get my drift.
5. Buying Yourself “Bonus” Time
This is when you really push hard on a project that is top visibility especially to the boss, and you over-deliver. Then you buy yourself “bonus” time which is this post-super-project-time that people generally take to re-group before ramping up on the next project. You get to work on your side-hustle.
Keep a low profile. You just did a huge delivery and you can get some breathing room. Use it!
6. Knowing What Tasks Not to Do at Your Job
There is more than enough work if you want to keep yourself busy but busy doesn’t get you promoted and it doesn’t make your boss happy and it certainly doesn’t do any service to the side-hustle. Forget busy.
Examine your project with a fine tooth comb and pull out anything that is low priority and that you are doing out of the goodness of your heart. No more. You don’t need to make a big announcement about it. Just stop being so generous with your time and learn to discern the stuff that matters.
7. Using Empty Pockets of Time at Work
So much time is wasted in corporate jobs, it drove me insane. So much time that you could be putting to grand use toward your side-hustle. If you can go in late or leave early or take an hour to yourself for lunch or grab any other time slot, do it.
Be vigilant with how the hours pass in the day and use the pockets of time here and there.
8. Respecting Your Time on Side-Hustle
When you make all this extra time to balance your side-hustle with your job, you need to respect your promise to yourself, and use the time toward growing your side-hustle indeed.
Remember not to get side-tracked by other things now that you have some breathing room in your job. Focus all your attention on growing that baby, and one day, it may just take care of you!
Need a hand balancing your side-hustle while creating an exit plan out of your job?
If you are managing both a day job and a side-hustle, or a dream on the side, then I know what you are going through. I did the balancing act for 12-18 months before I was ready to step away from my job. It CAN and WILL happen and if these tips were useful, then hop on the Smart Exit Blueprint video series here or below for more corporate to entrepreneurship advice.