On Having Time

The biggest, most common excuse I hear (and use) for not starting a business – or even the marketing channels for a business, but we’ll get into that later – is a lack of time.

I work a full time job and am too tired when I get home… 

I have to cook/clean/whatever and don’t have time right now to add something to that list… 

I have too many college classes and too much homework to think about starting a business… 

 

… but I’ll start it later! 

 

No, you probably won’t, and here’s why. If you’re working a full time job now, you’ll still be working a full time job in a year, two years, five years… because you haven’t started your own business yet and can’t make that jump away from the 9-5. You’ll always have to cook and clean, and that’ll only get more pressing as you have kids (if you’re going to have kids. Either way, it doesn’t go away with age).

The college classes – or high school classes – excuse is one I used for over five years and is probably the one thing I would change if I could go back in time. I get it, those are busy times. Between grades and friends and extracurricular activities, coupled with growing up, living alone, getting a job, and about a million other things, you just don’t want to add something to your plate. That’s where starting a business is different from anything else you’ll do. This is something tangible that you’re doing to directly help your future.

I’m writing this at 6:30 am, on a Saturday, while it’s pouring rain outside. I have to go into work today (#taxseason), but instead of staying in my cozy bed and sleeping a little later, I got up at the normal time specifically so I could write this with my tea before getting ready. Someday, I’ll be glad I did… and today is not that day.

Seriously, though, consistency is key. You have to show up and you have to make time. No one is going to start your business for you and if you want it, you’ll give up an hour of TV/Netflix/Pinterest/Facebook/sleep time a day (or every two days) to work on the thing you want to start. If you really plan it, your busy schedule will give you the time constraints needed to actually get work done and not obsess over whether it’s perfect or not.

I suggest setting a schedule, because it’s way too easy to think that you’ll work on your business after you get on Facebook… or tomorrow… or after this paper is due. Instead, if you want to write one post a week, pick a day (or two, if you need two days) and actually do it. If you want to design something new every month, give yourself every Monday and Saturday to work on it for an hour. Don’t try to squeeze 30 minutes in here and 15 in there, unless that’s what really works for you. If it does, all the better. For me, it does not. I don’t multitask as well as I’d like, especially when it comes to writing. That’s a major reason why I’m writing in the mornings, before I do much else. My brain hasn’t started hopping between tasks and I don’t have to clear the thoughts in my head before I can even start.

Finally – I need to go get ready for work – I’m going to leave you with a story about National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is a non-profit that does a lot of things, but their big thing is hosting, wait for it, national novel writing month every November. The concept is simple, yet daunting: write 50,000 words in 30 days. At the end of those 30 days, you’ll have a huge chunk of something written; something you can edit. Something to get you started.

I’ve done NaNo for the better part of eight years, but 2016 was the only year I managed to write over 50,000 words of the same story idea in a way that both made sense and wasn’t filled with tangents that would ultimately get cut in editing. It was also the only year I was ridiculously dedicated about getting my word count in each day – and even still, I missed several days. It was the year I proved to myself that, for me, NaNo was possible. This year, I’m going to have to plan a whole lot better in the months leading up to November, but I know that I can mentally handle writing that many words in a month.

Well, that’s great, but I don’t want to wait until November to do that, and I don’t want to write a novel. I hear you. Bear with me for a second.

By using this concept of doing something very intensely for a month, you can get a lot done. You’ll see it all over the place – launch a website in a week, get x number of followers in a month, create a new product in a weekend – and I get it, they’re scary. They involve a lot of work and don’t actually guarantee anything.

Still, what those things will get you to do, is do it. You will build a website, maybe in a week, maybe not exactly what you want, but it’ll be something. You’ll have more followers than you used to by the end of the month, and you’ll probably have learned something about what works. You’ll have a new product, or at least know where the bottle neck is in the creation process.

The entrepreneur life is all about making time for new things. Might as well start now.

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