5 Life-Changing Tips for Growing a Business While Working a Full-Time Job

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Perhaps your ultimate goal is to abandon your job, say “screw you!” to your boss, and never look back.

But let’s be honest: That’s probably not happening today.

It might not happen for a few months, or maybe years.

But that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s totally possible (and maybe even beneficial) to keep your job while you build your business.

There are plenty of ways to quit your job. I happen to favor real estate investing, but I get it: Different strokes for different folks. A lot of my examples in this post will be about real estate. But if you are trying to build the next Facebook, I still believe these tips can be life-changing.

I believe these tips will make life far easier as you build your business WHILE working your full-time job.

And by “easier” I don’t mean “easy.” It’s going to take work. It’s going to take hustle. It’s going to take smarts. 

And it’s going to take YOU following the following five (and bonus #6) to get there. So let’s get to the list.

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5 Life-Changing Tips for Growing a Business While Working a Full-Time Job

1. Take Inventory of Your Free Time

I know what you are thinking right now:

I don’t have any free time. 

Yes, you probably are incredibly busy. I get that. But what are you busy doing? What’s taking up all this time?

If you are looking to invest in real estate while working a full-time job, the first thing you need to do is take an inventory of this time. Actually pull out a piece of paper (go ahead, I’ll wait) and write it all down.

Sure, your job takes time. Probably forty hours a week.

And then you have your commute — probably another ten.

Of course, you need to eat meals, which is probably another ten.

And then sleep, which accounts for another sixty hours a week.

life_hack_regain_free_time

Let’s add all that up:

40 + 10 + 10 + 60 = 120 hours per week.

Currently, there are 168 hours in a seven-day period, and until God decides to change that, it’s going to stay that way. Which means, even with a full eight hours of sleep per night, an hour commute to and from work, and a full-time job, you are still looking at over forty hours per week of “down time.”

Now, I’m not suggesting you are just sitting around doing nothing. There are also important things like:

  • Family life
  • Date nights
  • Sports (or your kid’s sports)
  • Church
  • Exercising
  • Cleaning
  • And more

But the point is: Write down exactly what your week looks like. By taking an accurate inventory of just what your week is like, you will gain a wider perspective on what’s most important in your life, what time you are wasting, what activities can be postponed, what habits you need to break, and where you are going to fit in time to build your business

Related: Ready to Quit Your Job? STOP! Here’s Why That’s the Worst Idea for New Investors.

Do you really need to spend seven hours per week watching Netflix?

Could you work out during your lunch break instead of in the evening?

How important is that weekly poker game to you?

Building a business while working a full-time job is going to take sacrifice. I’m not saying you need to kill your social life, but at least begin asking the question: What am I spending my time on, and does that reflect where I want my future to be? 

2. Schedule Your Business Time

Next, after your time inventory has been taken, I want you to commit to setting aside a certain amount of time each week that you will dedicate to your business.

Maybe it’s twenty hours per week.

Maybe it’s five hours per week.

Maybe it’s one hour per week.

I don’t care. Whatever you can set aside, set it aside! Actually schedule it into your calendar.

This concept, known as “time-blocking” completely revolutionized my life. We schedule time for our boss, our kid’s soccer games, our weekly poker game — so why not schedule time each week for your future?

Maybe that means waking up one hour earlier each week for the next year while you build your business from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. each weekday.

Maybe that means packing a cold lunch each day so you can use your lunch break for your business.

Or maybe that means dedicating two hours each evening when your kids go to bed.

Whatever you need to do, do it — and schedule it. 

real-estate-investor-schedule

3. Make a Plan that Fits Your Time Constraints

Many people make the mistake of picking a business strategy that they cannot succeed at.

For example, maybe they want to flip houses, but they work 60 hours a week at a demanding job. Soon they can’t meet contractors or inspect the work being done, and the $20,000 budget turns into a $50,000 budget, and the house has purple walls.

I don’t know what kind of time you’ve scheduled in your week to dedicate toward your business, but you know. So it’s time to pick an investment strategy that works for you. There are a million gurus trying to tell you that they know the perfect strategy for you — but how could they? They don’t know you!

Only you can prevent forest fires pick a strategy that works for you!

To pick a plan, I like to point people to the following Venn diagram, which shows that the best plan is one that fits your time availability, your location, your skills, and your goals.

Full Time job Real Estate

Unless your plan takes all four of these factors into consideration, it’s not going to give you the future you are trying to create for yourself.

For example, you might think your plan should be to acquire fixer-upper, single family houses (what I call the “BRRRR” strategy: buy, rehab, rent, refinance, repeat), but if you lack the time to manage the fixer, you are going to struggle.

Or perhaps you want to buy small multifamily properties (duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes), but if your location isn’t conducive to this kind of investing, it’s going to be tough.

Or maybe your goal is to quit your job in the next six months, and you want to buy single family homes to get there. That’s going to be tough because the plan doesn’t fit with your goal. 

Now, I know you are probably asking yourself, “But Brandon, how do I find this perfect plan? I’m a complete newbie!”

Good question, John. (I’m assuming there is a “John” reading this somewhere — and you just got a little freaked out when you saw your name!)

The simple answer is: education.

But you don’t have a lot of time for education. I get that. Which brings us to tip number four:

4. Multitask Your Education

Generally speaking, multitasking doesn’t work well.

Just ask the 3,000 people per year who die from driving while using a cell phone. (Seriously, we need to all stop that.)

What you think is multitasking is really “task switching” — quickly moving back and forth between two tasks. It’s simply impossible to focus intently on two different important activities at once. You can switch back and forth really quickly, giving the illusion of multitasking, but that generally just makes you worse at both. (Just ask any husband whose wife is trying to have a conversation while the game is on.)

However, one area of your life where you CAN multitask exceptionally well is by combining auditory learning with physical activities. And for those who work a full-time job, this ability is KEY in maximizing your education while minimizing the time needed to learn.

veteran's association

Related: 5 Ways to Make Enough Side Money to Eventually Quit Your Job

For example, you can:

  • Listen to a podcast episode (like the BiggerPockets Podcast) while driving to work rather than the radio.
  • Get ripped six-pack abs while listening to an audiobook, like the newest full-length audibook from BiggerPockets, The Book on Rental Property Investing, written by yours truly. (Which comes free with any book package purchased on BiggerPockets until December 17th. Better hurry! Click here to buy now.)
  • Listen to episodes of the #AskBP Podcast while taking a break at work.

Imagine spending just one hour a day listening to real-life real estate investors talking about what has worked, what hasn’t worked, and the systems they have used to build their business. What could this kind of education do for you?

As tens of thousands of investors have already found, it can transform your life. And it doesn’t take any additional time.

The more you hear, the better you’ll be able to draft a plan that works for you and your goals, your skills, your location, and your limited time availability. So whether you are listening to something BiggerPockets produced or one of dozens of other high quality real estate podcasts or audiobooks, just take time to listen.

Now, a moment ago I mentioned systems. And for those who work a full-time job, this is vital.

5. Think “Systems and Processes” From the Start

Finally, when building a business while working a full-time job, it’s vitally important that you think of your business like a business. This means:

  • Having systems and processes for how you do things.
  • Having other people do repetitive tasks for you.
  • Maximizing profits and minimizing expenses.
  • Taking things seriously.

You have a limited amount of time to spend, so get the most out of every moment by working on what matters most. Create detailed checklists for how you do every task. Don’t waste time thinking, “Ok, what do I do today?” When you start working on your business, get right into it.

One of my favorite business quotes comes from a book called The Miracle Morning for Salespeople by Hal Elrod, Ryan Snow, and Honoree Corder. In this book, they say:

Full Time Job Image 2

Let me go ahead and repeat that to make sure you didn’t miss it:

“Every result that you desire — from improving your physique to increasing your sales — is preceded by a process that is required to produce the result. When you define YOUR process, and commit to it for an extended period of time, the results take care of themselves. There’s no need to ever stress or worry about how a day, week, or even a month of selling goes — so long as you’re committed to your process over the long haul.” 

Boom.

In other words, focus on the process — the everyday repetitive stuff that is going to give you the results you want. You aren’t going to get six-pack abs by thinking about them and posting pictures on some “dream board.” You are going to get them by working your abs every single day.

The same is true for growing your business.

Stop planning on getting rich, and start planning a process. 

If you are unsure of the “process” you should follow, read (or listen to) a few books!

For example:

Furthermore, blog posts will give you thousands of different processes that have been tried and tested by others in the space. Don’t just read them; follow them! The processes have been worked thousands (or millions) of times before. You don’t need to make up your own, but you do need to have the guts to follow them.

Related: How I Find, Vet & Purchase Investment Properties While Working a Full-Time Job

Do you?

Okay, before we move on, I want to give you one more “bonus” tip for building a business (especially a real estate business) while working a full-time job.

work-with-wholesalers

Bonus #6. Attend This Week’s Webinar!

I know, I already mentioned the webinar at the start. But I had to mention it again here because if you’ve made it this far through this post, you clearly are interested in this topic.

So join me this Wednesday for 90 more minutes on this exact topic. I’ll have numerous more tips and suggestions, and we’ll even dive DEEP into a few systems and processes that YOU can begin to implement in your business starting right now.

I hope to see you there!

Click here to sign up for this week’s webinar! 

——–

Finally, if you enjoyed this post, do me a favor.

Share this on your Facebook and Twitter, or print it out and mail it to your mom. (She needs to hear this stuff too, as does the rest of your family and friends who are stuck working a terrible nine-to-five job.)

Let’s spread the word that building a business while working a full-time job IS possible.

Thoughts? When in your day do YOU find time to grow your side hustle?

Leave your comments below — and let’s talk!

About Author

Brandon Turner

Brandon Turner (G+ | Twitter) spends a lot of time on BiggerPockets.com. Like... seriously... a lot. Oh, and he is also an active real estate investor, entrepreneur, traveler, third-person speaker, husband, and author of "The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No (and Low) Money Down", and "The Book on Rental Property Investing" which you should probably read if you want to do more deals.

11 Comments

  1. Chris Clothier

    Brandon –

    Love this weeks article from you! This is a great topic that fits so well into life itself and not just the real estate space. Let me throw a tip out to you that you may pass on or use at some point in the future when you are mentoring others, speaking in public on building your business or even writing more articles on the topic. It is the concept of 96 minutes that has really changed my focus and it fits right into your tips #2 and #3.

    It is the 80/20 rule that we all have heard, but often fail to take seriously. 96 minutes represents 20% of an 8 hour day. Eight hours spent on your business daily – really spent focusing is tiring and can be difficult. Many of us spend more than 8 hours but how much time are we really FOCUSED?

    Today, I focus intently on the MOST IMPORTANT task(s) of the day in my business for a minimum of 96 minutes each day. I realize that the constraints of family, business, faith and free-time will eat most of my day regardless if its my 8-hour business day (yeah right! I haven’t seen an 8 hour business day in years) or the other 16 hours spent sleeping, eating and playing. So for 96 minutes every day I am on task, on point and allow nothing to get in my way. The rest of my day is spent working, but this ability to focus my most precious asset – time – has helped transform me as a leader, an entrepreneur and a smart, savvy investor.

    I know that I will accomplish more during those 96 minutes everyday if I plan them and never let anything get in the way of my ability to focus on those minutes. That 20% can be transforming!

    Sorry for the long comments – thanks for letting me share. Love your articles – love the books you’ve written – love the passion you bring to everything that you share. Keep it up!

    All the best to you in 2016 – Chris

    • Brandon Turner

      Hey thanks Chris! You win for best comment on a blog post of mine in 2015 🙂 And yeah, totally 100% agree. I’m a big fan of the Pomodoro Technique, which focuses a person on the most important task of the day in 20-minute intervals. 20 minutes of dedicated, 100% focus is usually stronger than 8 hours of mediocre work. So yeah, great tip and awesome comment!

    • Chris Duzan

      Great article Brandon! And I love your comment Chris. I know of the 80/20 rule but never really thought about putting that towards time in the day. 96 minutes/day, this really forces you to break down your processes into pieces that can be done in that time and the smaller time frame really gets you working on it. I don’t know about you guys but whenever I have too much time on my hand I actually get less done, I just start over thinking things and start doing busy work. Having this exact amount set aside forces you to really get straight to the point.

      Thanks again for the great posts guys!

  2. Eric Turrentine

    Great article. The concept of breaking down my day and scheduling the time to work on my business really hit home. I have noticed that I loose focus when i don’t have a plan for my time.
    Without a to do list to mark off, my activities tend to swing to binge watching a show on Hulu.

  3. Lennie Holland

    Great advice, I’ve been starting a podcast when I’m getting ready in the morning and going to work then finish that podcast during lunch. I like to hear if there is a outtake at the very end, those are funny.

    Now if my name was only John I could have felt special like you were talking directly to me. ha

  4. Miranda Atkinson on

    Thank you Brandon for this! The advice hits home. I’ve been literally trying to plan out “in my head” where to begin. Guess its the old pen and paper. Put an actual plan IN WRITING and get it going. I am new to this industry, like brand spanking new. ANY advice/mentors is GREATLY appreciated!

  5. Jerry Weber

    Terrific topic, thanks for the wonderful article! I’m currently working full time and I wanted to quit well beyond yesterday, at the moment I can’t but I know the day is coming where I can. The most frustrating part for me is how much the job is in the way of what I’m really wanting to do. The job does have it’s purpose in that it’s paying my bills and keeping a roof over my head, but when I think about all I could be doing with those 8 hours that I’m there and the 45 minutes each way it takes to drive there and home I really grow to resent it. What’s worse is I work nights so most of the local REIA meetings are out of the question unless I schedule a night off (which I did for one particular meeting recently). The advice you gave here was great and I plan on using it, and making some sacrifices so that I can use the free time I do have more wisely, and start wholesaling Real Estate (my goal) which will pave the way to financial freedom. Can’t wait to give notice and make investing my full time income!

  6. Justin R.

    Oldie but a goodie.

    One thing I thing got short changed in this article is what one is *Interested* in. If I were drawing the venn diagram, I might even replace ‘Location’ with ‘Interests’.

    I’ve seen it in many people in multiple professional environments (REI and the corporate world) – if you’re not doing something you’re authentically interested in, the likelihood for sustained success is so much lower. And, the likelihood for extraordinary results is even lower.

    I think of it like this, which is pretty much what Brandon wrote, but some different framing:
    1. Decide what your goals are.
    2. Figure out your sweet spot. It’s the intersection of what you can do (skills), have time to do (time), and want to do (interest).
    3. Identify where your goals can be met within that sweet spot.

    The sweet spot just happens to be smaller for most people who have day jobs. These things always look so trite when written down, but are so important to internalize.

  7. Ashley Wilson

    Great article! To further the “while driving” tip, my husband and I listen to podcasts whenever we are in the car together. We often find ourselves stopping them, and discussing the topics to see if it can relate to our business. I feel that too often people want to have sit down formal discussions on these topics, when some of the best ideas can be generated in a more casual setting.

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