6 months ago, I decided I needed to get a day job.
The decision came after I had run my fashion design business and realized I needed firsthand experience running the kind of business I wanted. I got a job as a Personal Assistant in a big manufacturing company. The role is combined with several other unofficial roles.
6 months down the line, I can safely say I am not so over my head as was 2 months ago.
Between this full-time job, running my fashion design business on a small scale and freelance writing, it is safe to say I had no “me” time. I had no life outside of work.
I had finally done two things I dreaded: living for the weekend and working hard without being productive.
Two months ago, I told myself that this had to stop.
I finally came up with a routine that helped me do all I wanted realistically and still have a life.
Here are my four quick tips for having a life with a full job and side gigs.
I found out that having a to-do list keeps me organized. With so much to do at work and in my side jobs, I find myself running around a lot and doing nothing much.
My daily To-do list is organized the night before. I factor prayer, working out, my main job, my writing, my sewing in the evening into the list.
I make sure I leave blocks of time to accommodate the unforeseen jobs that will come up at work. This is a daily occurrence.
The To-Do list increased my productivity by 50%.
2. Thou shall set realistic targets
3 months into the job I developed stress belly and added weight. My face broke out and I started to wear wigs, leaving my natural hair matted under the wigs. Forget mani-pedi. That was gone.
When I took the decision to get my life together, the first thing I did was set goals.
Safe to say the targets were pretty high and I gave up.
I went back to the board and re-drew the plan.
Work out thrice a week as opposed to every day. Drink water, get my nails done bi-monthly. Braid my hair once a month and wear wigs for the other days of the month.
2 months in, my stress belly has reduced and I still maintain my hair and nails routine.
3. Thou shall factor in “You” time
I love going to the movies, green tea, and red wines. One of the first things I stopped doing was going to the movies. Weekends were tight. No more tea time and wine time.
I now find time on Sundays to savor a cup of tea or a glass of wine. Most importantly I fix movie dates so I will have to make time for them. This means I must close out official work by Friday and put extra time into the writing. It is worth it.
If your job pays a bit low like mine, you might grow resentful over time. This will definitely affect your work-life balance. For someone who wants the experience, this will make a terrible experience.
One way I have managed to balance myself emotionally is to relate each work experience to my business.
One thing I have learned to do is to be grateful and positive. It gives more light to the work I do. I make the choice to cut back when I can.
Balancing two or more responsibilities with self-care is hard but not impossible and we are getting there.
Till next time. For now, drink a glass of wine or cradle a cup of tea and take care of you!
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Are you thinking about resigning from your job to pursue a postgraduate degree?
The decision to leave the security of full time employment is a huge one. So, you should not make it without thinking it through thoroughly.
Here are some things that you will have to consider before you hand in that resignation letter.
First of all think about why you want to leave your job, are you leaving because you are unhappy with the job that you are doing or you want to change careers.
If you are simply unhappy at your current job, would your decision change if you were offered work somewhere else? Now, If this is the case then why not simply find another job where you will be happier?
Also, if feel that you need to study towards a certain degree to secure a promotion at your current job then discuss this with your manager and find out for sure that you need the degree for the promotion. If there is another way to get the promotion other than leaving to study further may not be the solution that you are looking for.
But if you are looking to pursue a different career or a career in research or academia, then you definitely need a post graduate degree. Find out exactly what you need to secure that job, I mean if you are going to risk this much, then you may as well be super prepared.
Also think about why you want to resign from your job and study full time rather than studying part time. Is this really necessary? Some ladies have been able to work 9-5 and work on a side hustle at the same time.
Resigning means that you do not have an income, so think about this:
How will you pay for your studies?
How long is your degree? Reality is that studying can be expensive.
What happens if you do not get a job straight after you finish studies?
If you have been saving for it then GREAT but if you are thinking of getting a loan, then how will you pay it back?
You really need to plan for it. There is also the issue of maintaining your current lifestyle, truth be told sister… shopping for you may be a thing of the past without an income. And yes….it could also be goodbye to ladies night drinks with the girls.
So be ready to cut down on some of your favorite past time activities. Be REALISTIC with yourself about what this means for you.
If you plan on job hunting after you graduate, it will not hurt to volunteer where you would like to work on a part time bases while you study, this will increase your chances of getting a job there when you graduate.
Quitting a 9-5 job to study will not work for everyone. But this being said, you should not be discouraged if you are sure that this is what you want to do.
Just be prepared for what this will mean for you. Now go out there and get it done, hun!
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These days, side hustles are the new hobbies and working more than one job is pretty much expected. Between paying off student loans and getting the rent check in on time, it’s no wonder more working class people leave their 9-5’s and clock in for a 5-9 right after.
Although working those long hours can be vigorous, it’s commendable. One trait that highly successful people share is that they’re persistent, meaning grind until your goals are reached by any means. Oprah didn’t become Oprah by showing up to work and then kicking her feet up afterward, so why should you?
Stick to a schedule
Since your time is now limited and especially precious, every minute counts. Staying on schedule will make your tasks flow more easily and relieve you of the stress of forgetting to complete something.
Although it seems obvious, keeping a calendar with your tasks detailed by day will be extremely helpful. Keep your calendar in a place where you are productive and visit often such as your desk.
If you’re busy at job 1 planning an annual fundraiser, it’s probably not the best time to pick up an extra shift at job 2. Be honest with yourself and what you can and can’t handle.
Stretching yourself too thin isn’t beneficial if you work a full-time job and have clients to please for your personal business. Therefore, be realistic and don’t sacrifice sleep in the meantime.
Know when it’s time to throw in the towel
Letting something go doesn’t mean you quit, it means you’re changing strategy. When one job doesn’t fit your lifestyle don’t be afraid to move on.
Be honest with your employers
By not being upfront with your employers about other jobs, you welcome easy opportunities to cause a rift in the workplace. Chances are, after being open with your boss they’ll understand and be receptive to why you’re drinking 3-4 cups of coffee a day.
How to plan a productive day with multiple hustles
Wake up on time
Every second counts when you’re attempting to balance multiple gigs. This means the snooze button is no longer an option. Set your day up where every moment is valuable.
Meditate/Set your intentions
Whether you do this in the morning or before you go to bed, it’s important to take time to centre yourself and stay focused in the midst of being busy.
There are several apps that make meditation easy whether you’re at home, on your lunch break, or on the train home. Both Simple Habit and Headspace provide users with free customizable opportunities to wind down with meditations ranging from 5 minutes to half an hour.
Make your lunch productive
Although it’s important to take a break during your lunch time, if your mind has been focused on multiple projects, take your lunch to hash out your thoughts or get some work done. Also, make sure you’re eating a healthy lunch that will give you energy.
Keep a notebook throughout your day
You know that thought that pops into your head about job 2 while your at job 1? The same thought you forget about once you actually get to job 2 and now it’s driving you crazy? Avoid the hustler haze and carry a notebook to write down your random thoughts throughout the day.
It can be overwhelming working several jobs and still having to be concerned with making dinner, washing your hair, or cleaning the bathroom. Instead of getting flustered with everything you need to get done, plan out each task one by one.
Always take time to yourself. Whether it’s having a glass of wine, watching an episode of your favorite show, or taking a nice bath. It’s crucial to maintain your sanity and mental health while you’re busy.
Writing down everything you’re thankful for will ground you and put everything in perspective especially if you’ve had a bad day. When you visualize what you’re grateful for you’re able to appreciate everything you have and stay motivated while you grind.
Get a good night’s sleep
You can only be so productive without a healthy amount of sleep. It’s a fact!
In August 2016, my friend and I took the plunge and decided to launch our very own social enterprise. Born out of many long conversations and brainstorming sessions, we finally settled on creating an organization that could help address some of the challenges Nigerian girls are facing stress-induced their educational development. That was how Give Girls A Chance came about.
We were giddy with excitement as we embarked on the process of registering the organization and launching a fundraising campaign. In January 2017, we had raised enough money to sponsor the first group of girls in the program with full scholarships including tuition, fees, books, and uniforms. We also recruited five amazing volunteers to serve as mentors through our dedicated mentoring program. With all of this in place, we set to work running the organization like the bad-ass boss ladies we are.
Half a year later, we can honestly say that this been the hardest undertaking of our lives thus far, but also the most rewarding thing we have ever done. Mind you we both decided to do this right at the moment when our other professional careers were taking off. I had just joined the UN in August and was posted to Zambia. My partner Hauwa was wrapping up her youth service and about to start working as a full-time doctor.
But this idea was something that had been on both of our minds for a long time and we did not want to wait any longer. We are both deeply passionate about public service and believe that it is our duty to contribute to the development of Nigeria. What better way to do that than by training up the next generation of women and future leaders of our country? So, we took the plunge, and for better or worse, we have survived to talk about it.
For every success that we have had, we have had twice as many failures and faced countless roadblocks. When it comes to laying the foundations for your businesses while holding down your day job, here are some of the experiences we’ve had and advice we would like to share with the readers.
Say goodbye to sleep…at least for the time being
Before you take this flirtationship any further, imagining the idea of starting a side hustle, business or organization while keeping your day job and still managing to get 8 hours of sleep, stay fit and avoid stress-induced acne, let me stop you right there.
Unless you are Wonder Woman (and who knows some of you very well may be), you should know now that you’re going to have to make a choice between bringing your business to life or getting the daily recommended 8 hours of sleep. I can’t tell you how many sleepless nights we’ve had and how many things we’ve had to miss out on because we choose to invest our waking hours and our resources into growing our organization.
There is so much research, planning, and coordination required to grow a business and if you have to do this alongside a job that demands the 8 hours of the day when most people are typically productive, it simply means you’re going to have to cut into your sleep and leisure time to stay on top of everything.
The good news is that the joy of seeing your idea come to life is unparalleled. Nothing beats that feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment you will have when you start to hit your targets. And if all it takes is skimping on sleep every now and then, that’s a small price to pay, right? You can always make it up later when your name is up in flashing lights and you’re rolling deep in that moolah.
I grew up with a banker for a father and he tried his best to instill in me the spirit of budgeting and saving. But I like shiny things too much and I’m always ready to take on the challenge of seeing how much stuff I can get for all the money in my account.
I am so thankful that Hauwa is in charge of the finances for Give Girls A Chance. We managed to raise a significant amount of money when we first launched and true to form I wanted to go big and sponsor as many girls as we could but Hauwa talked sense into me. We decided to start with 11 girls, put some money into savings so we could pay for events and plan for the future.
We knew that it would not be cool if we sponsored 200 girls for one semester or two, but then had no money to keep on going. The girls would end up right back where they started, having to drop out of school because they could not afford to go. Instead, we decided to take things step by step, prudently accounting for every kobo and making sure we were getting the best return on our investments.
As the new school year approaches, we are thrilled as we can now comfortably take on more girls for an extended period of time. My advice is to use the resources you have wisely and always have some money left in the bank.
Because we both have full-time jobs, the only times we are able to work on Give Girls A Chance related activities are in the evenings and on weekends. In fact, that’s not true. We end up replying to emails, texts, and requests during our lunch breaks at work too!
Saturday mornings at 9 AM are set in stone for our weekly check-in meetings and Sundays at 8 PM we check in with our strategic support team. Without fail, every week. Yes, this means even when one of us is on vacation in Zimbabwe or busy with bridesmaid’s duties at a friend’s wedding, we still make time to check in and get work done.
From the beginning, we also agreed that even though we had to start small, with a limited budget and resources, we would always strive for consistency. This means that we have set the organization’s calendar to run a major event or campaign every month. It’s been hard, but we have followed through on that promise.
Slowly but surely, we are building our presence and making a name for ourselves in the NGO space in Nigeria and people are starting to take notice.
If you plan to grow a business successfully from scratch, you’re going to have to get very comfortable saying the word, please. From the beginning, Hawua and I were clear about what our strengths were and what things needed to get done that we were not capable of doing ourselves.
We knew that if we were clear on what our vision was, along the way, we were bound to run into people who believed in our vision as well, or at the very least believed in us. These people would be willing to lend us their time or money to show their commitment.
We got my cousin to build our website for free (shout out to Urey Onuoha), we got help from our parents and friends as we drafted and refined our strategy, our friends and family were also the first to contribute substantially to funding the organization.
At the SheHive in Joburg last year, I met the amazing Yetunde Dada who heads her own social enterprise CRNCH. CRNCH has been instrumental in helping us get our strategy right, making our grant proposals look amazing and spending hours brainstorming and working with us on everything from how to fundraise to how to make our mentoring program more effective. All of this for free and in their spare time.
So my advice is to network like crazy and don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and ask people for help even before you are able to afford them.
Plan for your growth so you’re not surprised when it happens
Having a plan from the beginning will help you avoid a lot of confusion further down the line. A good question to consider is, “Do I want this to remain a side hustle or do I eventually want to get this business to the point where I can quit my day job and focus all my attention on this?”.
Another question could be, “Do I want to keep my business local, take it nationwide or global?” For Give Girls A Chance our vision is to grow the organization to the point where it becomes a major player in terms of work being done at the intersection of educational development and women/girls issues in Nigeria.
We want to have a presence nationwide, basically, anywhere there are large groups of out-of-school children we want to be active there. So while we are currently focused on our activities in Abuja, and limited by bandwidth and resources, we are always on the lookout for new opportunities and partnerships.
We are exploring diverse fundraising streams and we are learning from best practices globally on how to structure and deliver educational development practices. We may be small but we are agile and easily adaptable. The question is not will we grow but rather how soon?
There are going to be many days where you will look and think to yourself, but why am I killing myself softly with all this wahala. After all, I have a daytime job to fall back on so why not just focus on that?
You have to be ready for those days. At the beginning of the year, we compiled a list of the top 10 goals we wanted to achieve through Give Girls A Chance and I printed and stuck those to my dream board so I am reminded every morning of what we are doing and why I must remain committed.
The cause is also one that is dear to my heart, helping other girls succeed and make the most out of their lives. So at the end of the day even if GGAC were to only change one girl’s life, that would still have made all the difference for me.
What is that one thing fanning the flames of passion in your heart? What is it about this idea, business or organization that you know you must achieve and won’t stop until you do? Remind yourself of that as often as possible, especially when the going gets tough. It will help you keep you on track.
These are just a few of the things that we have learned along the way that we hope could serve as encouragement and motivation to other women who may be thinking of embarking on the same journey and establishing their own businesses or organizations.
Wherever you are in the process, we would love to hear from you and hear your thoughts. What have you learned from starting a business while keeping your daytime job that you would like to share with us and with the other readers?
You have a great full-time job but because of passion and interests, there are many other eggs in your hustle basket. It’s becoming a struggle to be on top of your game in your different work zones and this is a huge pain point for you.
How the can you be more effective and ace each hustle?
So you’re a lawyer by day but also run online bi-weekly legal training sessions for your Facebook community? Or you’re a bank employee during the week and an event planner during the weekends?
You need to plan ahead. What are the things you need to achieve per week or per month in each work zone? How can activities be spread across to enable you to perform them efficiently?
For instance, you may need to take out a day to plan weekly/monthly activities. You will also draw out a schedule of when to perform specific tasks and follow through. A good plan is a foundation for work effectiveness.
It’s one thing to have a plan and it is another to follow through. Yes, you need to follow through otherwise you’d keep going round in circles. This means deliberate scheduling of planned activities and allocation of timelines.
Most times, we waste time on activities that do not in any way help towards our big picture. This makes our other work zones suffer. So you get on Instagram looking at lovely pictures, fashion statements and couple goals when you are supposed to be writing a book, 5 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour? Wehdone ma, when do you think you’d finish that book?
You need to start prioritising. Of course, you can take part in other activities but it shouldn’t be at the expense of your A-game.
By now, you must have realised that you cannot do all. Either because you do not have enough time or you do not have enough expertise in certain areas. You can achieve this by employing interns or entering a partnership with another business.
I can hear someone say, “but that would cost money”. Well, it may not always be free but could cost you something which is not necessarily money. Once you’ve identified the areas you need to delegate or outsource, then you need to get creative with payment options.
What then can you offer the person rendering you a service? If you are an accountant, you could offer to manage their books. If you’re the lawyer offering online legal sessions, you can offer legal training to the Facebook or Whatsapp community of the expert you are delegating to. The idea is to get creative in delivering value because trust me, you need help and you may not have all the money to pay.
You should automate certain tasks. It makes things faster and saves you much needed time. For instance, you need to upload content on various social media platforms.
Instead of going from one to the other, get an app that helps you reach all at the same time. Or you work in a bank but bake for your clients too and you still want to be mixing your dough manually?
Dear Motherland Mogul, you do not have time for that, invest in the right equipment. Please automate certain tasks so that it can increase your efficiency in other areas. Remember, asides work you still have other areas of life where your attention is needed: religion, relationship, social impact.
You also need to rest and engage in leisure activities. If you do not have good health or you are not well rested, there is no way that you can focus and act efficiently on the job. You need to be deliberate about your health and wellbeing. Eat well, rest well, have fun and when it’s time to work, go make us proud.