The Entrepreneur Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question “How do you run a startup with a full-time job?” is written by Tiffany Yu, founder of Diversability.
I’m a big believer in a multi-passionate life. Most people I know have a side hustle or are working on a passion project. I have a friend here in New York who is a portfolio manager and runs her own nonprofit, and another friend who is on the management team of a nonprofit and cofounded a daily text company for women.
Running a startup with a full-time job is a great way to explore different passions and entrepreneurship without the risk of being caught in a bind if the startup fails. Given that New York is one of the most expensive places to live, it wouldn’t make the most sense for me to bootstrap my startup and live off of savings without a plan in place to have alternative income.
Of course, trying to manage what two people could do as one person isn’t easy. Most importantly, time is money, and with limited time to work on my startup, I might miss out on meetings or opportunities and not be able to cross some time-intensive tasks off of my list for awhile.
Here are a few ways I’ve managed to make it work:
1. Cut down on your commitments
When I decided I was going to launch my startup, I needed to make sure I would be as invested in it as I could be outside of my full-time job. I made a list of all of my commitments (read: everything I spent my time doing—including social media) and started crossing off the ones that weren’t the best use of my time. This was energy that could be redirected to building my company. I have always had a hard time saying no, so for everything on my list, I would think, “Does this bring joy to my life or help me propel my startup forward?” If the answer was no, it was time to cut it out.
2. Make time for self-care
While attending events and meetings plays a role in building my company, I need to make sure I am taking care of myself. As a self-proclaimed introvert, I need time for myself to recharge. That means taking a few nights—and some weekend days—off from the hustle and bustle of the city.
3. Celebrate small wins
It can be easy to get discouraged when you’re sitting at your desk at your full-time job and see one startup become an overnight success and get a ton of press. Instead of making a to-do list, make a “done list.” Write down what you did or accomplished, no matter how small, like hitting send on that email you had been sitting on for days or securing that meeting with a potential partner. At the end of the day, even on the most unproductive of days, you’ll see that you made some progress, and that can be a powerful motivator.
4. Find your tribe
Nothing can be accomplished without collaboration or partnership. When I first started thinking about my company, being a part of Dreamers//Doers helped celebrate my small wins, keep me focused, and supported me in general. It is comforting to be among like-minded people because it’s a reminder that I am not alone on this entrepreneurial journey. I am also extremely grateful for the community we have built through my company. Members of our community continue to show up and want to help with social media and marketing. It means a lot and is validating when busy people find value out of what you’re creating and want to make the time to help you succeed.
5. Be kind to yourself
Remember how lucky you are to be able to work and start a company on the side. Not everyone has the means (time and finances) to be able to do something like that. Running a startup with a full-time job is a choice, and it might not be for everyone. If you realize it’s not working, listen to your gut. Success takes time. Be patient and don’t be so hard on yourself if you’re not seeing the results you want right away.
Tiffany Yu is the founder of Diversability, an award-winning social movement to rebrand disability and the director of business development at the music network REVOLT.
Read all responses to the Entrepreneur Insider question: How do you run a startup with a full-time job?
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