Some of you may already be aware of my story. I’ve written about it many times before. Gareth has even shared his side of my journey from full time shopping TV producer to full time wedding blogger. While, looking back it may all seem very idealistic and easy, it was far from it. Trying to kick start a business whilst holding down a full time job is hard.
There were times when I didn’t sleep. There were times when I cried. There were times when I was constantly sick. There were times when I wondered why I was bothering at all. And there were times that I wanted to pack the whole thing in and resign myself to selling crap on the telly forever.
It was a struggle, but looking back it was so worthwhile and I’m immensely grateful for the experience it gave me. This is a total cliché but I truly believe that the harder you work at something, the more satisfying it is when you finally reach your goal. If you’re stuck in that place, I just want to give you a big hug and remind you that it will all be OK in the end. I also want to offer you some practical advice…
Have set working hours
It’s so easy to think you have to work all hours of the day (and night!) to get things done, but baby, that just isn’t true! If you try work too much then your productivity will be shot. You won’t be able to concentrate, you won’t be at your best and you won’t have time to process anything properly… and you know that thing called ‘a life’? The thing you’re probably striving to have a better one of by running your own business? Yeah you won’t have one of those either.
I’m obsessive about my work. I’m utterly head over heels in love with my job but I’m so strict with myself on the hours I do and don’t work. When you’re trying to juggle your business with a day job it can be really difficult to get the balance right so my advice to you would be to have set working hours… and stick to them. If say, you work 9-5 and you get home at 6, maybe have an hour set aside for family/’you’ time and then work 7-9? Two hours of productive work a day is better than 5 hours of stressful not-getting-anything-done work.
You also really need to sleep.
Have a strategy
To optimise the time you do have to work on your business, get yourself a strategy. Write down exactly the things you want to achieve in each working session and how you’re going to do it. You might think that taking time to document things would be a waste of time but it’s so not! I’d imagine the morning commute being a good opportunity to do this. Write checklists obsessively to get anything you possibly can out of your head so you can focus on each task one by one.
If you’re a photographer, spend some time really honing down your editing skills. Set time aside for learning and improving your technique so you can do things quickly and efficiently. Go to a workshop or do your own research on the most streamlined and efficient way to edit your images (as a side note, the part of The Photography Farm where Lisa shares her editing system is always my favourite. The look of sheer astonishment on the photographer’s faces when they realise they can process an entire wedding in a few hours is amazing!)