This article reprinted from the Debra Condren Weblog. The original article can be found online:
© 2009, Debra Condren
Dear Debra: I’m dying to start a small business. How can I find time to set myself up as an entrepreneur while working 9-5 for someone else?
Claim two hours a day for start-up activities.
One is for creative, strategic, hard planning—activities that require your
brain to be fully awake and fired up. The second hour is for the
roll-up-your-sleeves, boring, rote grunt work that doesn’t call for mental
alertness or focus—just time. Every one of us can find two otherwise wasted
hours, no matter what our work and life situation.
At your best bright and early but you and the kids wake at 7, so there goes the morning? Load up the coffee pot before you turn in at night so that all you have to do is hit the on switch when you rise at 6 a.m. for solo sunrise brainstorming sessions. Use this fresh time to think through the hard stuff: map out your blueprint and specific short- to long-term goals; come up with a business name and value proposition; define your customer. Study the Wall Street Journal and Inc. to give you ideas and inspiration as you sip your coffee in peace.
Night owl? Claim for yourself the hour following lights out in your household, but skip CSI or CNN. Instead, research if your business name is available on GoDaddy.com. Complete forms on LegalZoom.com.
Carve out two additional hours over the weekend to listen to at-home study courses, or take one-shot, half-day live entrepreneurship courses at your local university.
Burned out after work? Instead of de-stressing with what my stepson calls supermarket trash (tabloids), use the hour subway or bus ride home to tackle mindless, boring-but-essential business tasks: record start-up expenses in Quick Books or a computer spread sheet; jot down accounting categories on your paper receipts (e.g., office supplies, technology, legal, advertising); file those receipts in a secure-location envelope so you don’t go crazy looking for them at tax time. Pay a couple of business bills, meaning write the checks, get them into stamped envelopes, and pop them in your mailbox before you unlock your front door and collapse for the evening. Done!
Your daily two hours gives you 56 hours a month for launching your business. Multiply that times eleven (I’m giving you a month off!) and you’ve discovered 616 hours for white collar moonlighting. Here’s to your startup success!