It’s hard finding both balance and a sense of fulfillment in our lives.
Running a creative side-business while working a regular 9-5 job is oftentimes the reality many of us face in trying to chase our dreams: We have to work towards happiness while at the same time, needing to pay the bills in order to have a roof over our heads.
It takes a while before the two can merge and find that place where it can all coexist – So, I’ve come up with some tips from my own personal experience that might be of use to anyone else who’s in the same boat as me.
With the hope that we can all make it to where we are living happily doing the very things we love.
1. Work Towards It Every Day
Consistency is the best way to move towards a certain goal: Do one thing every day that brings you closer to your dream.
Focus on specific tasks and goals at a time: Don’t use overhanging goals (Like growing your business Instagram account for example).
Instead, get more specific: How do you want to grow your Instagram account?
Perhaps try following 10 people one day that inspire you and are part of your niche. Or comment on 10 different Instagram accounts that you look up to in your creative business. Maybe you could also download a new editing app and learn how to edit your photos using it.
Work on goals that are realistic and easily do-able, and work on different areas to achieve that goal day-to-day.
2. Space & Routine
It’s important that when you go home from your day job, that you have space and time (routine) that you can call your own and be able diligently work and concentrate in.
I know that when life happens, and those elements get taken away from me, my work takes a huge nosedive.
So work some way into your life so you can have your own quiet office time at home so you can make a daily effort to work on that dream creative business.
3. Take Breaks!
Working one full time job is exhausting enough.
Going home and working another job can tire you out and take a huge toll on your mental health.
Working all day and all night is just not a reasonable expectation for yourself… so give yourself a break from time to time.
For me, if I had a really tough day at work, I would sometimes take a 1-2 hour nap, re-energize myself before going back to working on my creative business.
My sleep schedule gets broken up into shorter periods, but I find that this is what makes me most productive, especially when I work late into the nights.
This will be different from person-to-person, so if this doesn’t work for you, that is completely fine! There is always coffee 😉
You can also pamper yourself or spend 1 to 2 hours simply relaxing and doing activities you find fun (read a book, play a game, play with your pet/children, etc).
However, after you’ve taken that break, just make sure to go back to working on your creative business.
4. Use Automation Tools to Your Advantage
You can research around and find some really amazing automation tools to help you save time in running certain areas of your creative business.
For example, I love using Tailwind to help keep my Pinterest account active and growing. Ever since I’ve started using it, I get consistent and growing repins and follows for my Pinterest account.
Work hard, but also, find ways to work smart!
Automation tools will save you time to help you do the things you want and really need to do for your business.
5. Don’t Let Failures or the Lack of Results Bring You Down
There are so many blog posts about how other bloggers get thousands of views their first month of blogging or how people make thousands of dollars their first year running their creative business… But NEVER compare those results with your own.
In all honesty, most people do not realistically see those results their first year… And I can tell you for sure I didn’t see anywhere near those kinds of results either.
Sales, followers, and views take years to accumulate – So, take your time.
You want to slowly build an audience through trust, personality, and genuine business values.
Getting crazy, fast results isn’t going to easily find you that audience, connection, or support that brings authentic love for your content, products, and services. And those are the things that’s going to keep your business successful for the long run.
Take the time to learn and do things well.
Authentically build a following for both your business and for you, as a person.
6. Work in Your Spare Time
We all have moments of spare time during our day when we can start incorporating little tidbits of work time.
Maybe you’re commuting on a bus or train, taking your lunch break, there’s some downtime at your day job, or you’re waiting to meet with someone who’s late.
So whenever you have down-time, use it to your advantage!
7. Don’t Stop Learning
Part of starting a creative business is closing that learning curve – And, there is so much to running a business during this day and age that we don’t know about: There is constantly new information that is growing, changing, and getting put out there every day.
Spend some time before bed perhaps reading articles or learning from other creatives in your niche… And whenever you find someone who’s putting out some awesome, helpful, and really thorough content, save them – Whether you decide to bookmark their blog, follow them on their socials, or sign up for their email list.
Those kinds of people are hard to stumble back onto by chance, so don’t let their information and resources go to waste. Save it for the future.
And remember, never stop learning because there is always more to be learned. Always.
8. Keep Multi-Tasking to a Minimum
It’s difficult to multi-task. I admit I often find myself going back and forth between painting, blogging, writing, and researching during different times of the day and night – But all in all, I will spend 1-3 solid months at a time really excelling in one given area.
When I do this, other areas I’m not focusing on take a hit, but I don’t let that bother me so much… because of my advice in #1.
When you excel in one area of your life, move onto the next, and you will soon build a business in the end that is well-rounded and solid in all its different functions.
Here is an example: There might be one month where I focus most of my time on my website design, then perhaps 3 months where I focus on growing my Instagram followers by 300. Perhaps I’ll spend two months really building up my blog posts. And 1 month where I learn all there is to about Pinterest.
Focus on one thing and do it super well! It will all build up in the end into a well-rounded business you can be proud of.
9. Organize Your Goals
Start organizing your daily, weekly, and monthly goals in a planner.
Personally, I admit I don’t use a planner because I’ve sort of conditioned myself to mentally plan things out: It’s a skill I learned in college.
I learned to always remember my homework, exam dates, and project assignments, and was able to learn how to mentally gauge my progress through each task and give myself plenty of time to do everything I needed to do and more…without stressing.
However, for many people, having a planner helps tremendously.
Time management is a slippery sort of skill for many of us, so get a planner and start writing all the things you want to do…and make it happen!
And trust me, it’s always really satisfying and fun to get ahead of your plans when it does happen.
10. Your Hard Work Will Pay Off
Living your dream life takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Remember: “Dreams don’t work unless you do.” – John C . Maxwell
Always remind yourself that all good things come to those who work hard.
Your hard work WILL pay off.
Thanks for sticking through to the end of this blog post!
I hope this helped you get some motivation and inspiration to starting your own creative business.
I know even a year into my artist life, I oftentimes need these kinds of pick-me-ups when I too feel winded-down from lots of work.
However there are so many people out there trying to chase their own dreams, and we can’t forget we’re not alone in this!
Thanks for your support as always, and I hope you have a wonderful day!