finance

Ask a side hustle: How the heck do you start a business with a full-time job?

Commonwealth Bank
Thanks to our brand partner, Commonwealth Bank

Just like lots of people do, when I first started thinking about creating my small business That Budget Stuff, I had a mental picture of how it would work and how much time I would need to devote to it.     

My business is all about wealth coaching: getting people on their best money path, setting financial goals for growth and security, budgeting and also tracking their success. 

I needed to be really clear on what it would take to make my business thrive, as I had another important factor to take into account – my full-time job.  

And when I say 'job', I mean my career. 

Up until that time I had put lots of effort and energy into establishing my career and it was my main source of income, which I needed to maintain until my side hustle was generating enough money (I'm sure many Lady Startups can relate).

I quickly realised, to be able to set up a small business whilst working full-time, I needed to be on top of a few things.

Here are the ones I always tell other people.

I needed to be organised. 

For me, this meant having a step-by-step process to follow. 

And there is no better system to follow than a tried and true one. I completed the Lady Startups Activation Plan and this took me through the steps to get my side hustle off the ground.  

Straight after this I started to document my side hustle journey online. I even set up an Instagram page for this as well as an Instagram page for my core business, That Budget Stuff.

I have been able to juggle the limited time I have by having a process to follow for setting up my side hustle.  

You can check out this one here from CommBank that has 5 key steps to follow, which I think are excellent for any side hustle or startup needing to develop more of their business plans.

No rest for the wicked! Image: Supplied. 

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I needed to keep things balanced. 

I know, we're all looking for balance right? But when you're working full-time and have a side hustle you're trying to keep afloat, you still need to incorporate some “me time”.  

I haven’t always done this well (if you're leaning into one thing, you're inevitably leaning out of another right?) and I may have had some very late nights before business events.  

But I have now learnt that it is important to build in your own rewards to keep you going.  

My rewards for meeting my business milestones include a pedicure, an afternoon to read my book, going on a hike, and having a bath with meditation music and candles. Must have candles.

These rewards have helped me to reset and avoid that all too often burnout.  

There is no such thing as “zero to hero”. I found more that was helpful on this here in the 5 things you need to do before starting a business.   

I needed to be time efficient.

When I started with my side hustle I knew I needed to invest time at the beginning to being efficient, and setting myself up with processes, procedures and tools that would serve me well the bigger and busier I got.  

One key area that I invested time into was sorting my bank accounts.  

This was essential for me as setting up money systems is one of the main topics I teach to my clients. 

I needed to practice what I preach not only in my personal life but in my work life too, so this was one thing I had to nail. Separating your personal and business accounts is one aspect that's super important, which CommBank provide great reasoning behind (highly recommend you check out like I did). 

I know from experience that every dollar counts for side hustles, so I would definitely tell my fellow Lady Startup community to take advantage of CommBank’s Business Transaction Account, which thankfully has a $0 Monthly Account Fee option.

It gives me the financial status of my business at my fingertips, and also lets me set up Smart Alerts to help me feel in control of my accounts - it's free and tells me every time I receive money or when I've overdrawn my account. I also access customised business insights through Daily IQ, it's a tool where I can see my cash flow trends and explore local economic insights so I can discover new opportunities in my area.

I needed to keep focused. 

For me, working full-time as well as having my side hustle meant getting up (super) early to start a task before work and not being able to finish it until I got home after work. The frustration.

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This break in focus was tough. So, for me the solution was to have a plan.  

At the beginning I developed That Budget Stuff’s Business Plan (here's CommBank’s guide to help you with yours) and then I broke this down into a financial plan, a marketing plan and customer journey plan. All the important plans.

I used all of these crucial plans to develop my 90 day plans and my weekly plans. I can bang on about plans all day: planning has been amazing for me!  

Did someone say plan? Image: Supplied. 

It has meant that when I had a chaotic week with lots going on in my full-time job (and family, loved ones and general life admin and commitments) I know that I just have to follow the tasks on my plan, one by one.  

It helped me to stop that overwhelm and kept me focused.  

I find that planning helped me to focus on the important parts of my small business rather than those squeaky wheels.  

I needed to be responsive. 

Looking after clients is top priority for me, always. I wanted to make sure that I could always respond to their enquiries as soon as they came in, so I'd not be leaving them hanging for long.  

How did I do this when I was also working full-time? 

Proud moment: getting my business cards. Image: Supplied. 

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With some difficulty at first, but once I was clued-up: automation. I can't recommend it enough.

This is what I did:

  • Set up email & website enquiry alerts so that I will always know when they have come through in real-time.

  • Set up an online booking system where clients can easily book in with me without needing to contact me via a web form or social channel. 

  • Set up an automatic billing system, because we all want to be paid on time! Just as aside, I was so excited when I received my very first payment from a client when they booked in for The Wealthy Life System – I may have done a happy dance.

There are lots of different automation software and platforms that you can use, especially for billing. This is where technology can be our best friends in creating efficiencies for us so we don't have to wish we had 7 arms and 100 hours every day to get it all done.  

CommBank has a number of different ways that you can automate billing to your clients with their Business banking options. 

With the backing of one of Australia's largest banks, I've been able to grow as my business does (and for your own situation, CommBank can help whether you're in the process of starting an online store, to exploring lending options).

I want to say that from my experience, having a full-time job does not stop you from having a successful side hustle. Absolutely not.  

In fact, I think it makes you more effective as you really have a very limited amount of time and so much to do. And you just get it done.  

You just need to know what support is out there and where to go for it.

This content is written by Alicia Edwards of That Budget Stuff. As this is Alicia's own experience regarding her own business' circumstances, CommBank doesn't guarantee the accuracy or appropriateness of the information presented for everyone. This article is intended to give general info of an educational nature only. It doesn't factor in the financial situation or needs of other readers and shouldn't be relied on as financial product advice. We recommend contacting CommBank for expertise on what might help support your own business' financial needs.

Feature Image: Supplied.

Commonwealth Bank
Starting a side hustle or new business? Get the support, expertise and solutions you need to set up a business with CommBank. The Business Transaction Account has a $0 Monthly Account Fee option giving you the peace of mind to separate your personal and business finances. Just one way CommBank can help get your business up and running in no time.