Want to Start a Side Business? Begin by Dropping the Ball

By Published On: April 4, 2023Categories: Business Ownership7.2 min read

Do you dream of starting your own business or side hustle, but feel like you never have enough time?

If you’re nodding your head yes, I can assure you you’re not the first woman to feel that way. In fact, I’ve been there myself, so I completely understand why adding yet another responsibility to your already full plate may sound crazy.

For most women, it’s challenging enough to balance work and family, let alone a new business or even a side hustle. But here’s the good news. With the right mindset and approach, you can do it all.

The rub? You have to let go of the idea that you can do everything yourself. At least, that’s what author Tiffany Dufu argues in Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less.

As an enthusiastic toddler mom, marketing executive, and now the owner of a med spa, I had to learn this lesson the hard way. On the bright side, now I can share my experience—and the wisdom I’ve picked up from others along the way—in the hopes that it inspires other busy women with big dreams to take the leap towards entrepreneurship.

The Challenge (and Freedom) of Letting Go

I’ll admit, delegating hasn’t always come naturally to me. It wasn’t until I started running my home like a business and focusing on what I do best that I started making progress in the office and found the work-life balance I was so desperately seeking. Once I had the right systems in place and outsourced the tasks that drained my time and energy, I freed up several hours a week to focus on my primary job, open room in my schedule to oversee a side business and still enjoy family life.

Running Your Home Like a Business

Before you think about starting a business or side hustle, make sure your home life is a well-oiled machine. This means having systems in place to run your home like a business (bonus: it’s good practice for running an actual business!).

It’s been my dream to own a business of my own for more than 15 years.  I spent a lot of time studying business ownership and learning from successful founders before ever attempting to open my own.

One of the best pieces of advice I received from a business coach was to audit my time. The truth is I had no idea where my time went every week. All I knew was that I constantly felt overwhelmed and exhausted.

So, for an entire week I recorded how I spent every waking minute. And the results were surprising! It turned out I was wasting a ton of time on tasks that kept me from my family and weren’t supporting my goals.  I was simply busy being busy.

This gave me a helpful baseline to learn how to manage my time more efficiently. From there, I created a weekly schedule for myself and my family to ensure I spent ample time with them while also setting aside enough time to work on my business plan on nights and weekends.

Auditing my time also helped me identify tasks that routinely drained my time and energy. This became a helpful starting point for determining what to outsource.

Outsourcing to Achieve More

Of course, even if you’re open to the idea of delegating, deciding which tasks to outsource isn’t always easy. In Drop the Ball, Dufu suggests outsourcing the tasks that are outside of your zone of genius – what she refers to as the highest and best use of your time.

Whether at home or in a for profit business, there are many tasks that take up a lot of time but don’t necessarily align with your strengths. For example, if you’re a great writer but struggle with numbers, consider outsourcing your bookkeeping to someone who excels in accounting rather than learning to use Quick Books, yourself – so you can focus your energy on writing the blogs that will generate leads for your business.

Does it cost more to outsource?  No, because it’s not a cost – it’s an investment.  By freeing up your time and energy to focus on the highest and best use of your time, you’re betting on yourself and your talents so that your zone of genius can reach those who need your product or service!

Here are a few other examples of tasks you can outsource:

  • Household chores: Instead of doing all the household chores yourself, consider outsourcing tasks such as cleaning, laundry, and grocery shopping.  Reading Drop the Ball opened my eyes to the concept that your family members won’t care who did the laundry or re-stocked the fridge, as long as clothes are clean and there’s food on hand.
  • Childcare: Consider hiring a nanny or part-time babysitter to help you with childcare tasks.  I struggled with this one the most – not because of the cost, but because time with your children is so fleeting and valuable. But I learned that my daughter benefitted from spending time around other caregivers who could teach her in different ways and expand her world in ways I couldn’t.  Not only did she enjoy her time with new caregivers, but it enabled me to enjoy my time with her much more because I wasn’t as worried about my to do list.
  • Business tasks: Depending on your business and skillset, you might want to outsource tasks such as website design, social media management, or a range of administrative tasks.  We are incredibly fortunate to live in an era of such widely available gig work – from offshore virtual assistants to highly specialized Upwork consultants, it is possible to “hire” exceptional, cost-effective talent in a way that can flex as your business grows.

To this day, I regularly ask myself “is this the highest and best use of my time?’ before adding anything to my plate.  This is especially hard when bootstrapping a business when cashflow is lean, but having the discipline to focus on tasks most likely to generate value and outsourcing those most likely to drain my time and energy has become a survival mechanism!

Surrounding Yourself with the Right People

The other question I ask myself daily is “Who can help me get this done?”  In Who Not How, Dan Sullivan emphasizes the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people to help you achieve your goals.

Sullivan proposes instead of asking “how” to accomplish a task or goal, ask “who” can help you achieve it. This simple mindset shift can make all the difference when starting a new venture.

Surrounding yourself with the right people means finding mentors, colleagues, and friends who can support and guide you as you start your business. It also means building a team of specialists who can help you with tasks that are outside of your expertise.

Sure, you could handle all the sales calls yourself – but should you? Better yet, is there a CRM expert who could help to automate the nurture elements of your sales pipeline?  Thinking Who not How also trains you early in your business venture to systematize processes – helping to deliver a consistent customer experience and expedite scaling of your offering.

At the end of the day, and as hard as it may be to admit, you can’t do it all or have it all without the willingness to ask for help. Once you accept this truth, you open yourself to a world of new and exciting possibilities.

Ready to Take the First Step? CornerCap Can Help.

Starting a business or side hustle is all about balance. It’s about finding the time to work on your business while still being present for your family and your day job. And it’s about outsourcing tasks that don’t align with your strengths so you can focus on what you do best.

Starting a new business also means surrounding yourself with the right people to help you achieve your goals. Sometimes you’ll need a mentor or coach to point you in the right direction when you’re stuck. Other times you’ll simply need the encouragement of a close friend or family member.

Meanwhile, a wealth advisor like CornerCap can help you align your personal financial goals with your entrepreneurial aspirations. If you’re ready to take the leap and start your own business, I’d love to hear from you. Contact me to learn more about how our team can help you achieve your dreams of being a successful part-time business owner.

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