By Alison Wilson

Maybe you love your job and want to build your coaching business alongside. Or maybe you need to keep working in your job for now and can’t afford to drop your hours just yet.

Whatever the reason for embarking on this adventure, you are wondering how you can balance it all!

I have been successfully running my coaching business alongside my full-time job and family commitments for a couple of years.

Yes, at times it can be a challenge.

Sometimes there are tears, sometimes there are days when I wonder why on earth I’m doing it, but mostly I’m having a lot of fun!

Here are my top tips for making it all work without burning out.

 

1. Be Clear on Your Goals

Where do you want to be with your coaching business a year from now? How many clients do you want and what kind of coaching will you do? (For example, I started with 1:1 coaching and have recently developed into a combination of group and 1:1 which I find fits better around my job commitments).

It’s also extremely useful to be clear on your ‘why’. What are your reasons for building your coaching business? For me, it’s the opportunity to do something I love and help women whose confidence is holding them back. I also get to build something that is uniquely mine where I can make 100% of the decisions.

Once you have your why, write it down and keep it somewhere prominent to remind you to keep going when things feel tough.

 

2. Don’t Plan TOO Far Ahead

A further point on goals, I’ve found it helpful not to look too far ahead.

Sure I have an overall goal, but then I’ll look at what I want to focus on for the next month and park the rest. Otherwise I find I feel overwhelmed and end up procrastinating. I also find it helpful to revisit, review and reflect on a monthly basis.

 

3. Decide When You Will Work

I’ve found it helpful to sharply define the times I will work. For example, I never work after 8.30pm in the evening but I will work between 6.30pm and 8.30pm on two to three evenings each week.

Look at the time you have available and also work out when you are the most productive.

For example, if I have something to work on which requires some brainpower, I’m better doing this in the early morning before I go to work. I find it’s easier to concentrate and focus at that time of the day.

Typical time slots for working on your business when you work full time are early mornings, evenings, and weekends. You could also schedule small tasks for lunch breaks, for example, a call you need to make or a social media post.

My typical pattern tends to be a couple of early mornings each week for marketing and client admin, a couple of evenings for coaching calls, and then blocks of time in the early mornings on weekends for larger pieces of development and strategy work. Find what works for you and then schedule the time slots into your diary.

I’ve also found it helpful to identify and weed out time wasters and distractions. For example, I’ve muted most notifications on my phone and limit my time on social media.

 

4. Define What You are Working on

Once you have the times that you will work on your business scheduled, define one or two things you want to work on during that time.

Ever found yourself at your desk with a vague thought of doing some work on your business, then finding yourself still there 3 hours later having not achieved very much?! I know I have.

Be clear on what you want to achieve, work only on that, and be strict about your start and finish times.

 

5. Schedule in Time When You Won’t Work

Equally important to scheduling time when you will work is scheduling time when you won’t.

It’s all too easy to take up every single spare hour building your business, particularly in the early stages when you are filled with enthusiasm. I’ll admit, I did this at first and then it began to feel more like work than fun and I was getting tired.

Now I schedule downtime for resting, getting outside in the fresh air, and spending time with the important people in my life.

 

6. Don’t Take on Additional ‘Stuff’

This is another thing I’ve been guilty of. Nowadays, I’m very protective of saying yes to additional things, particularly in the evening.

Accept that you can’t do everything!

If there is something you want to fit in then be flexible.

For example, I sing in a choir and the practice sessions are on a Tuesday evening. Evenings are generally when I have clients so I’ve accepted that I won’t make the choir sessions weekly. Instead, I aim to go every few weeks so I can have the best of both worlds.

 

7. Get Some Help

Consider the smaller tasks you do which could be done by someone else.

You could hire an assistant as you grow to help with social media, copywriting, client admin, etc. Also, think about any domestic tasks you could outsource.

 

8. Drop Perfectionism

This has been a big one for me.

Accept that you can’t do everything.

If the housework has slipped but you’ve had a successful week in your business AND made time for yourself and your family then that is a huge win! Celebrate that and leave the ironing to another day (or see above and get some help!)

Another important lesson I’ve learned is accepting that what I have now is good enough and that I can always change or tweak things later. For example, the social media post you are writing, stop spending so much time perfecting it and post it as it is. The most important thing is getting yourself out there and no one but you will notice if something isn’t ‘perfect’.

 

9. Explore Flexible Options With Your Employer

Most employers have flexible working policies nowadays so it’s worth thinking about how you might be able to work differently in your full-time job to balance your time more effectively

For example, I’m about to condense my hours to give me every other Monday free. Once you’ve built up enough regular income you can consider requesting to reduce your hours in your day job. (It’s worth getting financial advice at this point to ensure you have taken everything fully into account, for example, the impact on any pensions you have, etc).

 

So there are my 9 top tips for balancing your coaching business alongside a full-time job, I hope you find them useful.

 

Alison studied for the Diploma in Life Coaching Skills.  You can find out more about her at getsetbelieve.com.

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