When I first started my business in 2019, I was in a 9-5 job. Since then, I’ve transitioned into a full-time PhD program, which is basically a full-time job for me. In the past two years since starting my business, I’ve learned a lot of things about managing my time, managing my mind, and managing my energy which has since then helped me make consistent 5k to 10k months in my business, even on top of a full time role.
I share how to balance your coaching business on top of your full-time role, whether that’s a 9-5, parenting, school, or anything that pretty much takes up a huge chunk of your week. And how I’ve been able to do that in hopes that it can help you pursue your business as well, even on top of whatever is going on in your life.
1. Fully accepting that there are certain thoughts holding us back from moving forward
The first mindset shift that has been immensely helpful for me, especially when it comes to building a business as a side hustler, is fully accepting that more often than not, it’s not that we don’t know what we need to do.
But, it’s certain thoughts that are holding us back from moving forward with the action items.
If you actually look at your to-do lists, most of the time, we don’t carry through on those action items we’ve set out for ourselves or for our businesses.
We know fundamentally what are the action steps to take. But we don’t do them because maybe we feel frustrated. We feel resistant. We feel out of alignment. We feel self doubt. We start comparing with other people’s businesses or their strategies and second guess our own strategies and business action items.
It’s not that you truly don’t know what to do but it’s simply that you just don’t want to do it.
Conversely, you can easily say that you’re following your passion and wanting to do things in alignment, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to do any work or that it will be easy.
Don’t just do the easy things or only stay in your comfort zone.
If you only do what you want, you won’t grow. You need to do things that serve the future version of yourself and not stay complacent with who you are today.
What you feel safe doing isn’t going to benefit the future you.
Do the things that will get you the results you desire in the future.
Be responsible to the future version of yourself and do things that will serve that future version of you.
I operate my business in alignment, because that’s something I strongly believe in for my business.
What this means for me is only implementing the strategies and doing the activities that feel right for my personality, time capacity and goals.
But the truth is that oftentimes, I still feel resistance towards doing things even if they’re in alignment because sometimes, these things are new and uncomfortable to do.
It’s not necessarily that we’re feeling out of alignment in our businesses, because for my clients and I, we have to choose strategies that make sense for us.
But rather, the reason business still feels hard sometimes is because of that inherent uncomfortable nature of building a business.
Building a business is not something we’re naturally drawn towards doing.
It’s not something we did growing up.
Of course, if working with clients and making an income and impact through your coaching business is something that you want, then it’s really important to remember that you have to do things even when it’s uncomfortable.
If you know that doing these things like showing up online is the prerequisite for working with paying clients, are you gonna do it? Hell yes you are.
Right now, for many people, they’re not yet signing clients consistently and hence they aren’t sure if these strategies and action items actually even work.
That’s why, at this point in your business, it’s so important to work on your thoughts and hold that self belief that things are working.
Remember that a lot of times, it’s your internal thoughts that are holding you back from doing the things you know you need to do.
Once you’re able to work around this resistance, you can actually move forward in your business and stop wasting time feeling frustrated or resistant towards doing the things necessary for your business to grow.
2. It doesn’t serve you to think that others have special circumstances and you don’t.
There’s this quote that goes something like “Someone will have the same challenges but they are successful because they figured it out.”. The way I look at this is, it doesn’t serve you to think that others have special circumstances and you don’t.
The truth is, you’ll need to do things when you’re tired and make certain sacrifices.
You’ll do things you don’t naturally gravitate towards.
It’s not all hustle and grind, but there’s a certain level of work you need to put in.
You can still take breaks and make time for non-business things.
However, people often aren’t comfortable with small sacrifices. For example, taking client calls during certain times of the day because your client is in a different time zone, spending twenty minutes a day doing video Instagram stories before you head to work, batching your entire week of Instagram posts and stories content on the weekend.
You do have pockets of time throughout the week, even if it’s just thirty minutes.
Are you willing to replace things you normally indulge in, like consuming content, and replace that with something that creates value for your audience?
It also takes time and consistency to develop mastery of a certain skill, such as creating content that effectively builds demand for your coaching programs.
Put in the time and consistency so that you can master these skills.
You can’t start out and expect to be at the same stage as someone who has been doing this way longer than you have.
What often happens is that people glorify the results and ignore the journey and discipline it takes.
Honestly, you’re not entitled to results if you aren’t willing to put in the time, energy and effort.
For example, a lot of people think, “I should have signed clients by now.”.
However, I’d respond to that by saying, “No, you’re not entitled to anything, not even clients, regardless of how many weeks or months you’ve been “trying” to do so.”.
Entitlement shows up in the form of not wanting to do something. If you aren’t getting the results yet, you’ve got to do the work.
Be grateful for the opportunities and choices you have.
Why are you complaining about being able to make money while helping people?
This is an absolute privilege to be able to create a coaching business that makes an income and impact.
I do not take this business for granted.
These two key mindset shifts have kept me in the right frame of mind and to stop complaining about how little time I have.
Let’s move onto the practical things I do in my business which helps free up more time.
Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you’re making money.
The way I operate is – Do less so you can maximize what’s working and get a bigger return.
You only have so much time, especially as a side hustler.
When I look at what people spend the most time on when it comes to their business, it’s usually content. People spend so much time creating content. Instagram stories, posts, IGTVs. Masterclasses and webinars. Freebie after freebie after freebie. Emails. Nurture sequences. Setting up those automated email sequences. And so on.
I know this because that was me in 2019. I did all the things and was on all the platforms in 2019. And guess what ? I burnt out and took a six month hiatus in my business. If you’re curious to learn more about what happened, check out episode 16 of the Side Hustle Club Podcast.
What I do is that I chose to master Instagram before adding on the Side Hustle Club podcast.
I chose to master podcasts before repurposing other pieces of content for new platforms.
For example, in most of 2020, I only operated my business using Instagram.
Once I felt like I was signing clients consistently using just Instagram, I added on a podcast.
Once I got the hang of publishing one episode per week, I started thinking about how I can repurpose existing Instagram and podcast content onto other platforms.
For instance, I currently hired a video editor to repurpose my podcast guest interviews into shorter video clips that I now post as LinkedIn feed videos, IGTV videos, and YouTube videos.
The reason is because I already have Zoom recordings for all these guest episodes, so I’m trying to repurpose these videos into more bite sized content pieces and see whether they can attract more listeners to the podcast.
Because maybe someone from the guest’s audience will check out that guest’s particular episode, then decide to check out other solo episodes on this show.
This is something I’m testing out and I’m really happy I get to showcase our lovely guests’ incredible stories and zone of genius with the world.
Likewise, another thing I’m starting to do is repurpose my podcast and Instagram content for LinkedIn and my biweekly email newsletter.
Now, I first need to say that I’m not blindly copying and pasting old content into LinkedIn or my email newsletter.
I definitely take the time and make an effort to freshen up the previous content and frame it from a new angle so that my LinkedIn audience and email list subscribers can revisit these key points from a completely new angle.
What I’m currently trying out is I’ll literally look at my outlines for past podcast episodes, and see what additional points I can add onto these outlines.
Then I’ll reformat this into a piece of content for LinkedIn (such as a LinkedIn post or article) or repurpose it into an email or even a worksheet or infographic that’ll be included inside the email.
Going back to my primary platform, which is Instagram.
My Instagram is basically a short term lead generation tool.
Specifically, it allows me to quickly build connections with my audience and to create dialogue with them.
People need to know who you are, they need to trust that you can actually help them, and they need to like you. These are all prerequisites before someone feels ready to inquire about working with you.
My podcast is a longer term lead generation tool for my business.
Although it takes longer for the podcast to start bringing in new eyes and ears to my show, I also know that those who currently listen to my show are able to get tremendous value from this show because we got way more in depth in these episodes compared to my daily Instagram stories content.
Rather than having any expectations that clients will come through the podcast, I focus on creating valuable content week after week to build that sense of know, like, and trust over a longer period of time. Eventually, someone who listens to the podcast may reach out and inquire about my programs.
A breakdown on how much time I spend on social media weekly
On a daily basis, I show up on Instagram stories and reply to Instagram DMs.
On a weekly basis, I post 2-3 times a week, publish one podcast episode, and plan and batch Instagram or podcast content ahead of time. Note that serving my clients and client calls are non-negotiable.
Depending on the week, I may also hop on discovery calls (i.e. sales calls) and may be signing on clients accordingly.
When I tally up how much time I spend on my business per day, it fluctuates, of course, but it typically ranges from 0 hours, sometimes going up to 3 or 4 hours.
On average, I’d say I spend about 2 hours a day on my business. And yes, this is all the time you need to grow your coaching business and sign consistent clients.
If you’re still in the early stage of your business or you aren’t signing consistent clients, then rather than trying to create more stuff, like creating more content, being on more platforms, and creating more offers, I encourage you to keep your business simple and master the basics.
You don’t need to be doing more to achieve more.
You don’t need to write another email sequence. You don’t need to create a webinar funnel.
Instead, focus on developing a certain level of consistency on your chosen platform, and make sure that this consistency is one that feels good to you.
After all, your content and your online presence is the connection and prior interaction that helps clients make an informed decision about whether you are the right coach for them.
Pick one (or two max) platforms to really master, and utilize all its features.
Know how to convert clients from one platform before starting another one. If you can’t even master this skill of conversion on one platform, it’s arguably unrealistic to expect that you can suddenly convert clients on another platform.
All platforms work. It’s possible to sign clients from all platforms.
I’ve signed clients from Instagram, Podcast, Facebook, and even Clubhouse.
Keep in mind that I only used Facebook in 2019 and I did sign clients there back in 2019.
I only used Clubhouse once. I’ve only hosted one Clubhouse room, and one of my current clients actually decided to work with me after this particular instance. As you can see, all platforms work.
You can grow a business and brand on all platforms, but it’s so important to know how to make one platform work before diversifying to another platform.
Your content strategy, your ability to build demand, your ability to convert clients. These are skills that you need regardless of the platform.
It’s not the platform, it’s these other fundamental things you need to have mastered first.
Looking at details and trying to make things perfect is inefficient, especially when it comes to your content.
The solo entrepreneur who makes money, takes action and executes even on top of a 9-5. He or she isn’t getting caught up in making things look nice.
They may have developed a certain visual aesthetic that’s nice, but trying to spend time double checking everything, rewriting your captions over and over, moving things around on Canva. Those are things you don’t need to do.
There are many typos on my own Instagram post and captions. But honestly, it doesn’t matter to me because I know that so long as my audience gets the key points and the content gives them something to think about or is of value to them.
If my content is able to show them that I know what I’m talking about and they feel like I’m the right person to help them, then I don’t need to care about whether things look aesthetically pleasing.
It’s just not a priority for me, and I honestly do not think it should be a priority for coaches who aren’t signing consistent clients yet either.
Your time is better spent having conversations.
The main thing to remember here is that the quantity of action doesn’t mean quality.
This means you’re doing a lot of things but aren’t seeing the results you want.
You’re doing things just to feel like you’re making progress but you’re not making offers.
You’re not having conversations with your audience or potential clients.
You’re not generating leads for your business.
You’re not actually creating content that speaks to people and building demand for your coaching program.
Doing more things doesn’t mean that things are working. Your strategy and intention behind the content you create matters way more than the sheer volume of content you create.
Of course, if you have a content strategy that’s working for you, then amplifying that with a higher volume of content will make sense, so long as you have the time capacity to handle it.
My weekly schedule
Now, let’s talk about my weekly schedule. It’s actually pretty simple.
Putting down rules was helpful for me, like “I have to take breaks after 90 minute work sessions.” or “Stop work at 7pm.”.
I really do value my mental and physical wellbeing, so I intentionally take time off so I can process and let things settle and refresh and recharge.
This also creates more space for my brain to think, imagine, and be creative.
I want to ask you: How are you feeding yourself? How are you taking care of yourself? How are you refreshing and recharging so you can be the best in the industry and show up as your best?
If you have any sorts of expectations for yourself, then you need to take care of your body so you can produce all these results and meet that expectation you have for yourself as a business owner.
Rest is honestly not optional. It counts. It matters.
Self care may sound like some frivolous thing, but what if it simply means doing the things you don’t want to do in the moment but you know will get you the results you want later.
This is what it means to truly care for yourself.
On the other hand, self sabotage and indulgence is doing the things you want in the moment but will take away from your results later on.
That’s why for the past few weeks, ever since Chinese New Year 2021, I decided to recommit to my wellbeing, both physically and mentally.
I’ve been going for 30 minute runs three times a week for the past few weeks.
I don’t like it. I don’t even enjoy it during the 30 minutes. But I do it because I know it helps with my mental well being, my physical body, and my energy levels.
I also have to do my morning routine every morning. I sleep 8 hours a night and allow myself to nap if I need to and when I’m at home.
Without my body operating at its best, I can’t show up in my best for my business, my clients, or my audience.
This is my lifestyle . This is literally the lifestyle I promote as part of my brand. I teach my clients how to operate their business in a way that doesn’t take up their entire life.
I want them to be able to sign consistent clients on just 2 hours a day, on average.
So if that’s what I want to help my clients do, I have to do that for myself. It all comes back to being a product of your product.
To be honest, I really don’t have any time saving hacks or tricks to share. Like, this is literally it.
A lot of people ask me how I manage my time and have a business on top of a 9-5 or grad school.
When I explain to them essentially all the things I just shared with you, they seem unsatisfied! Because these things aren’t sexy.
I don’t use any fancy digital planners or tools like Notion or Asana. I just use a paper planner from Muji and I use my google calendar.
I only recently started a new planner specifically for planning my Instagram stories content.
It’s nothing fancy or sexy. And I guess that’s really what business is.
Business looks sexy from the outside, but the actual underpinnings of it, the things that go on behind-the-scenes.
It comes down to how you are managing your thoughts and your mind.
Being extremely strategic and intentional about the action items you do for your business.
Whether you’re taking care of your body so that you have a vehicle that allows you to do those strategic action items.
Again, these things aren’t sexy, but they work.
I know this wasn’t groundbreaking but trust me when I say that these are the exact things I implement in my life and business.
Keeping it simple truly is the way I’m making my business work for me.
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