This is the third part of the 4-series article about starting a business while having a demanding job. Go to Part 1. Part 2 or Part 4.

You are already familiar with the first group of people who want to start a business while having a demanding job.

Now, I would like to talk more about the second one.

GROUP II: I’m determined to start a business no matter what


It doesn’t matter if you hate what you do on a daily basis or if it isn’t that bad. The point is: you know where you want to go, you know that starting a business is your next big step and nothing will stop you from making it.

You would rather prefer to be laid off and have 100% of your time to develop this new project, than having to sit at your job for 12+ hours a day doing something you know will only bring you regrets in the future.

Usually, in this situation, you will also have less or no monthly income. Your biggest problem is that, after all, you have a job and are in doubt whether you should go full contact with your new business or stick within the company and mitigate the risk.

Anyway, you feel it’s getting harder and harder to stay focused on your full-time job when you’re so excited about the side project.

You cannot help yourself and start working on your side business during the regular working hours, because you actually believe that’s what really matters, and your focus on the full-time job is now reduced to a best-effort approach.

Finally, it is most likely that you see this side business as a significant opportunity to transform your lifestyle entirely; you’re not only in this for the extra money.

If you feel like you belong to this group, then I’d recommend you the following steps:

  1. Develop a rigorous daily schedule

Here’s what worked for me.

To ensure you are maximizing the time you have to dedicate to your personal project, the first recommendation I’d share is to define a strict daily schedule.

You should be aiming at the following:

Arrive earlier than your colleagues

When I was at my first corporate job, the vast majority of people would arrive at 9h30/10h in the morning. Yes, it’s damn late, but somehow usual in Portugal. So, I decided to come to office at 9h instead. That way, I had one free hour with no distractions to fully dedicate to my project.

Have lunch earlier or later than everyone else

If you’re really excited about what you’re doing, you will want to use the lunch time to work on your new business. So if you have a quick snack before everyone else, you will have almost one hour free of noise to speed up things.

Do not stay late, define an exit time and be consistent

I started leaving the company much earlier. Around 18h15, I would abandon the building, so I had more time to work on my side business.

Do not waste time on trivial stuff that gets you nowhere

Enough wasting time on the Internet or chitchatting on a coffee break. Remember, now you are on a mission, and the quicker you start your business, the sooner you will change your lifestyle.

Now, I am not sure if it is a common thing, but in Portugal, there’s an emerging trend that people work longer hours. In many firms, it is still considered high professionalism and dedication to leave work at 20h or 21h, or even later.

So, to leave at 18h, you need to accept that you’ll unintentionally signal to your colleagues that you are no more willing to climb the fancy corporate stairs. This means that you deeply understand that you’ve taken an option.

Which brings us to the next point.

  1. Stand up to your goal and be ready to say NO.

One of the hardest things to many of us is clearly saying NO. However, few things are more important than that. When you notice, a significant part of your time might be taken away by errands that add absolutely no value to your new project or whatsoever.

When you are creating a side business, and that’s where you’re focused, you will want to say NO to a lot of distractions on a daily basis.

Here’s a summary of some of the most crucial things to say NO to:

– Say “NO” to coffee breaks when you don’t feel like taking a break

– Say “NO, I’m in the middle of something” when a colleague interrupts you just to chitchat

– Say “NO” to a colleague trying to get away with passing you some of his work

– Say “NO” to meetings where you add no value, especially the endless ones

– Say “NO” to staying in meetings more time than you need

– Say “NO” to your boss when he asks you to stay late more often than a singular occasion

– Say “NO” to investing hours in promoting yourself to climb the corporate stairs

You see, in most of the corporations, the employees are just entertaining themselves to make sure the time passes faster.

But you are different; you already decided not to accept that your life will be another empty pool like those guys that sit in a meeting room at 14h and make all they possibly can to leave by 18h, after a “quick and fruitful” chat.

Saying NO to all that crap you see every day is a critical step to gain more free time and mental focus to launch your side business successfully.

  1. Stop accepting all types of work

Another very common thing in the corporate world is to accept everything your supervisor demands from you. And while I know that sometimes you simply can’t and shouldn’t say NO, the reality is that there are ways to delegate work and win more free time.

One of the ways you have to increase your time span to work on the side project is by relieving yourself from the tasks that are time-consuming and that can be done by someone else.

So, you want to delegate as much as possible. Take the time to access accurately where you’re investing your daily time and select the 80% of the regular junk that you must sweep just because you are an employee at that organization.

When you have these tasks selected, start being creative and think of ways to delegate them to someone else.

Yes, I know, it is mean. First, I’d say you should refuse to help your colleagues with their work, and second, I would tell them to do precisely the same.

Yes, I know it sounds ruthless, but you’re on a mission to build something big, which can ultimately lead to more exciting career opportunities for you and help your country’s economy.

Everyone has their reasons to delegate work, and we are not special.

Now, if you ask me, this is the type of circumstances in which you can be smart.

Make sure you don’t upset your colleagues, of course, but think of clever ways to delegate the work, either by telling them that you’re very busy with another project or mentioning that they are the most capable ones to get it done.

Do not be mean, but be SMART

And besides, you don’t depend solely on delegating to other colleagues. If you have some cash available, you can hire a virtual assistant to help you with things that he or she can do, even without being part of your firm and, naturally, without breaking any legal rights – remember to pay attention to that.

  1. Explore ways to work remotely

From the moment you decide it is time to give all you have to create your new venture, you want to aim at operating in “burst” or “batch process” mode.

This means that you will do your best to concentrate all your day job’s tasks in a small stake of the week time span.

However, this becomes harder to do when you are sitting near to your boss every day. You’re always worried that he might have an angle on your PC or that your colleagues realize that you’re working on your personal project instead of what you’re rightfully paid to do.

So you might find useful to explore ways to work remotely. Technology nowadays allows you to have a close to perfect experience in working remotely. You can even perform all types of meetings through or Skype, in an easy way that was never possible before.

Working from home would allow you to organize your time as you please, what would be a tremendous way to speed up the business creation.

Now, if you want to dive in a bit more on this topic, I’d like to recommend that you read Ramit Sethi’s guide on Working From Home. In this handbook, Ramit gives you some examples of how you can negotiate to work remotely, even when your company has never allowed it before.

Give it a check.

Now you learned about both groups of people who want to start a business while having a demanding job deeply explained.

What’s next? In the last part of the article, that will be published soon, I will introduce you to what these groups have in common. Let me know whether you belong to the second group.

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