In this blog post, I want to tell you about what it’s like to work full-time and run a creative business. Hopefully, you’ll get some ideas about what to expect and how to make it work. A quick heads up though, if you are looking for someone who has managed to achieve a perfect work-business-life balance that’s not me. I am still learning and still struggling. I hope this post can shine some light on the challenges I face on a daily basis. This personal format is a bit new for me but I hope it will still be valuable to you.
A quick recap
I started my company back in 2019 when I was still living in Germany. I had just quit a job that wasn’t working out for me. I knew I had a year before our planned return to Sweden. Luckily we were in a financial situation that did not require me to have a full-time job. So I decided to take 2019 to start building my business, my webshop, and this blog.
When we returned to Sweden at the beginning of 2020, I had already taken a full-time job at my previous employer. At that time my business had caught some momentum and I was making a decent side income around 50 euros/dollars each month. Soley from my webshop. My business was and still isn’t completely self-sustainable. At the moment that is perfectly fine since I am working full-time and running my business at the side.
What it’s like to run a creative business and work full-time?
The first thing I want to tell you about working and running a company simultaneously is that you don’t!
At least not like you might imagine it to be. I envisioned having dedicated time on weekends and evenings that I would use to keep building my business. In reality, I am not in a situation where I have been able to set up this kind of system yet. I am still trying to get there.
I am struggling to find the time and energy to run my business at all at times. It is probably going to be like this from time to time in life. In 2020 I had so many other projects going on. We bought our new house and we have managed to install a new heating system and are renovating the master bathroom.
The truth is that I have no idea how other people, some who even have kids, seem to manage to do everything. I am still trying to find balance in my life. I hope that what I have learned so far can still be valuable. After all, nobody is on top of everything always.
My current business process is not pretty. I am trying my best to squeeze in some work whenever I can. There’s been quite some time since I worked actively on my business. I am still adjusting and settling in with my new life situation.
However, I knew this period would come before I started my business. I have prepared my entire business for being able to last long periods without me actively engaging or creating.
But with that said, my business does not run itself. I do struggle to find the time to develop my business and right now. I’m just to keep it floating, that’s ok. I think that there will be periods in your life when other things than your business demand a lot of energy and attention. So at the moment, I try to simplify everything.
I use planners and organizers to keep track and I set very manageable goals for my business. It is easy to wish for more time and make unrealistic plans. Long term that is very bad for motivation, so the simpler the goal the better.
Take help and all assistance you can get
At the beginning of 2020, I still had some kind of delusion that I would be able to do it all. I realized quite quickly that I was just spending time doing the minimum of work, to keep the business legal. In other words, I used all my spare time to do bookkeeping, which frankly took all the joy out of running the business. Now I have come to my senses and I am currently taking help with bookkeeping. I am thinking of paying for other services that would help me develop my business as well. There is nothing wrong with taking some help. It allows me to use what precious time where it makes the most impact.
Help does not have to cost anything. The help of my family members with ordinary chores also helps free up my time.
Be mindful of your wellbeing
At the beginning of 2020, I thought I would be able to spare some hours during the weekdays. I hoped to make new products and create new content for you guys. That has not happened exactly the way I had hoped. A lot of the time when I have a few minutes to spare, I do not have the inspiration or energy to be creative. I am not saying that you always have to feel inspired in order to get things done. With clear priorities, you absolutely can! However, there is a limit on how far I can push myself before the business I love and care about becomes a punishment.
I am very mindful to always choose myself over my business when I have to. If I break down, there will be two jobs and a bunch of projects that won’t get done. A business owner is always the business’s most valuable resource. Skipping one evening is not the end of the world, if you are like me you probably do want to spend all of your spare time on your business anyway.
Step back but don’t quit
As you might have concluded, having a full-time job means less time for my business. For now. I’ve taken a step back to a pace that works for me. That means that I won’t be creating new content and new products with the same frequency as before until I have settled a bit better. I will still build my business to the best of my ability.
There are also tons of benefits of having a full-time job. For one I’m not required to sustain myself on the income of my business. That gives me tons of freedom regarding how to run my business.
So now I’m trying to adjust to new normal where I won’t have the same amount of time or level of energy or time to put into my business. The most important part of developing my business is that I feel motivated. If I don’t feel inspired then I won’t create anything new. That means I have nothing to expand or develop my business with.
Right now my most important priority is keeping myself inspired. In the middle of the year, it was very overwhelming having a lot of initiatives I didn’t manage to keep up with. I’m not letting my new assignments, getting in the way of my happiness or the development of my business. I am just adjusting my expectations.
I’m trying to not get better at finding small improvements I can make easily. I’m also trying to get better at being extremely intentional about what I spend time doing. For a while, I haven’t posted a lot of new content to the blog. I have been storing up some projects that I have made. So as soon as I get the chance, I will share them with you.
If I should give any advice to someone trying to run a business and work full-time job. It would be to really define what matters most to you. It’s easy to think that you only have one option and there’s only one way of dealing with certain situations. If time is the issue, there are loads of actions you can take. Try and find small changes in your daily routine to free up time.
Now I’m getting back up in the saddle. I’m trying to create new content and I am thinking about investing in new equipment. It’ll be faster and easier to bring you the content you deserve. I hope this was in some way useful for you and I wish you.
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