As we discussed in last week’s post, there are 3 things you must master to take your side hustle full-time: your business strategy, workflow, and finances.

Last time, we discussed mastering The Fundamentals of Your Business Strategy. This week, we’ll focus on mastering your business workflow. This means your productivity, time management, and systems for getting work done.

I always knew that I didn’t want to quit my job until I had a hold of how I was going to manage all the learning, planning, and execution in my business.

I think we all go through this stage of overwhelm in our business where we have so much to do on top of what we have to do in our personal lives.

You may think, like I did, that the solution is more time. But that’s far from the truth. In order for you to have more time, you have to be able to master the two or three hours you have right now. If you can’t manage to complete your projects with the amount of time you have now, trust me, a whole twenty-four hours won’t make a difference.

I realized this when I left my job to write and produce content online full-time. I thought, “Great! I’m finally gonna be able to tackle all the projects I always wanted to do.” Boy, was I wrong! At the time, I had some workflow systems in place, but as it turned out, they weren’t enough.

I was instantly thrusted into overwhelm and filled with immense anxiety because, now that I had cut all ties with my job, my income depended on my efficiency to get tasks done. I was working upwards of ten hours a day and feeling miserable because I felt like nothing got done.

Anytime I feel like I’m drowning in my workload, I know it’s time to step back and reanalyze all of my projects and revisit my organization, business systems, and productivity habits.

5 Tips to Master Your Business Workflow

Tip #1: Plan Your Day the Night Before

This is number one on purpose. I use the five-column list I create during my weekly planning session to plan my day.

(If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out the “Plan Your Week” post here.)

In short, this five-column list is a weekly to-do list with (you guessed it!) five columns titled:

  • business to-do
  • homework
  • personal to-do
  • profit-producing activities
  • course-correcting actions

I pick a couple items from each column, plus any uncompleted task from that current day, and schedule each task with a SET time limit.

Bonus tip: always give yourself a little extra time. Things always take longer than expected.

Tip #2: Streamline Your Process

What I mean by this is to adopt systems that will help you work faster and more efficiently. To do this, you can create an outline, template, or a checklist. List every single step you must take to get a project completed from start to finish.

For example, I just launched my fourth book on Amazon. Throughout the entire process, I worked from a checklist that outlines every step I need to take to publish a book, from the book idea to hitting the publish button. I also include useful links to resources I may need in the future. I find myself refining this checklist with each book I write, which makes the process play out smoother each time I publish a book.

Take all the tasks you repeat often and start streamlining the process in the form of an outline, checklist, or template. This will help you make sure you don’t miss any steps. Plus it’s less overwhelming if you focus on one small part of a big project at a time.

Tip #3: Treat Your Side Hustle Like Your Day Job

Even though I really wanted to work from home and be my own boss, I never took dedicated consistent action. For years, I would just dabble here and there with different ideas to make money online, mainly because after work I was “too tired.” It was easier to log onto social media, watch TV, relax, and do leisurely activities.

Then one day, I had a huge lightbulb moment.

In the past, I worked two jobs without a problem. I would wake up at  4am and drove four hours to work in another city for my boss. Anytime I got a call to come in to work, I would be up, quick and in a hurry, even if it was my day off. I have always taken pride in my work ethic. So why in the world wasn’t I doing the same for myself and my dreams?

I had no answer, and that thought has stuck with me since.

Isn’t it true? It’s so easy to stay on task at our day jobs because your boss keeps you accountable. But when it comes to your own goals and dreams, there is no one to keep you accountable but yourself. You have to be your own cheerleader. Give your side hustle the same dedication you give to your day job.

Tip#4: Focus on What is Important

Starting an online business can turn into a sinkhole before you know it. The learning never stops. And the more you learn, the more you find there is to know.

If you’re not careful, you’ll end up in a constant cycle of consuming too much information and doing very little creating.

You have to put yourself in a position where your output of value is greater than your input of data.

In the past, I would continuously put off projects. I would focus on insignificant details. I watched everyone else zoom right past me. They were busy making progress because they put their imperfect work out there and focused on important things. Meanwhile, I remained stagnant on the sidelines, always perfecting my work.

This is where Evernote saved my sanity. I document any idea, resource, or project that needs to get done in my business into a specialized Evernote notebook. During my weekly planning, I review these notebooks and decide what the most important tasks are for me to get done the following week. This allows me to be strategic and keep the momentum going.

Tip#5: Ask for Help

There are things you’re doing right now that someone else can do for you. And chances are they can do it better and faster than you can.

I spent days trying to format the manuscript for Online Business Success. Thankfully, I came across someone who did it for me. She did it faster, and it looked one hundred times better.

In the beginning stages, you may not have the luxury to hire out work. But if you can, do it at least on occasion. Here two inexpensive options:

#1: Trade your services with someone else. For example, if you know graphic design, you can create a graphic for someone in exchange for an editing job.

#2: Check out Fiverr. They offer a lot of services starting at $5. You can hire someone to do just about anything for your YouTube channel, blog, social media, or marketing.

Final Bonus Tip

The five tips I have discussed here will help you master your business workflow and eventually take your side hustle full-time. However, the most important thing you can do is let go of the feeling of needing to quit your job NOW.

The fastest way for you to get to where you want to be is to be grateful for where you are NOW.

Your current job is helping you make your dream of being your own boss come true. It’s providing for you and your family. Always be grateful. If you have any negative feelings towards your current job, you’re literally blocking your desire of working from home.

Everything has its place. If you were to become successful all of a sudden, you would miss out on the lessons you need to learn in the process of becoming successful. Slow progress is actually a good thing. Enjoy your journey, celebrate, and be grateful for your small wins.

Next week, I’ll share the third and final part to this series, Organizing Your Finances, so you can take your side hustle full-time. Join the #Momboss newsletter to be notified when that blog post is live.