Side Business Experiment: 3 Tricks to Find Time to Start Up While You’re Working Full Time

side business, Stephanie Holland, The Freedom Philosophy

Starting up on the side is genius.



You can begin exploring, experimenting, making, creating and even selling before you leave the corporate safety net. And then use the experience to decide whether you want to quit and work on it full time before you put all your eggs in one basket.

Even though a side business sounds like a lot of work, you get to decide how much time & energy you invest at the outset, and because you have a full time income you can take your time and find your own rhythm, and make high-integrity decisions about your ideas & the direction you want to take them.

As far as I’m concerned a side business is the best way to start.

Even if you don’t have the perfect business idea just yet, you can use the time to:

  • brainstorm.
  • decide what to focus on.
  • choose which projects you want to pursue.
  • generally wrap your head around your life + career goals.

You can also use the time to choose one idea to start with and assess it’s feasibility, opportunity and uniqueness while still earning a regular income. 

That’s a pretty strong position to be in.

The Catch 22 is that when you’re working full time, the cliched 9-5 is often 8am-6pm or 7am-8pm.

Your current job keeps you on your toes.

I get it …

There’s no room to squeeze anything in at the moment.

You’re jammed in between the clutches of your commute, at the beck and call of corporate bosses and if you’re lucky get to go to yoga and see friends a couple of times of week.

But even that’s a stretch.

So how do you squeeze more time into an already bursting calendar?

Well, friend, you gotta re-frame what you do in certain ‘spaces’ so you can grant them powerhouse potential.

Here are 3 tricks for finding time to start up on the side:

1. Turn your commute into an incubator hub

Your daily commute has incredible powerhouse potential.

Instead of checking email and Facebook on your way to work, transform your commute into a design lab for your life + business.

  • Journal or brainstorm ideas with a real pen and paper. Get an elegant moleskin notebook and purple pen. You can start asking the tougher questions you’ve been tip toeing around, like what do I really want to be, do and have?
  • You can brainstorm, mind map, list resources, design prototypes … pretty much anything you would do in your home office or at a co-working space.
  • You can listen to educational podcasts in your field of interest or entrepreneurship and collect your insights and ah-ha’s.
  • You can read {or listen to!} business or strategy ebooks you’ve downloaded from online entrepreneurs, people who inspire you, or people who are doing what you’d like to do.

Whatever stage you’re at: brainstorming, goal setting, validation, prototyping, audience research, selling, launch etc you have a perfect startup hub already integrated into your day. 

If you’re lucky enough to get a seat you can do almost anything.

If you’re standing up squeezed between someone’s elbow and armpit, stick your ear buds in and get inspired.

If you’re driving switch on Voice Memos on your iPhone and record your stream of ideas or thoughts, to-do lists etc

When I had the idea for The Freedom Philosophy I used my twice daily commute on the L22 from Newtown to Sydney. Australia as the incubator hub for the project. I did all my best thinking & planning on the bus. When it came time to work on the project full-time 4 months later, I had the entire project mapped out from start to finish, and knew exactly what I needed to do to take it from concept to fruition so I could crack on right away.

2. Work on your ideas before you arrive at your day job

The  thought of waking up an hour earlier can seem about as attractive as sticking pins in your eye, but when we spend time on what we really care about, we feel uplifted, empowered & energised for the rest of the day.

Like any routine it can take a while to get used to, but can become effortless lifestyle if you commit to it.

And get this … according to Dan Ariely, an Israeli American professor of psychology and behavioural economics, the peak productivity period in our day is 2 to 5 hours after we wake up. After that there are declining returns on the work we put in.

So why not spend your most productive hours on what YOU really care about? Your own life + work.

I was working at AOL Huffington Post when I came up with the idea of Absolutely on Purpose, my first book project. I set my alarm an hour earlier and arrive at Store St Espresso in Fitzrovia at 8am. I called it my freedom session. The baristas knew my name, my beverage of choice, and I felt the buzz of life course through my veins while I brainstormed ideas for the book and eventually — over three months — put together the book plan. Before quitting to focus on the project full time exactly I knew what I was doing, why I was doing it,  who I was doing it for, and how I was going to get it out there.

3. Write down everything. Anytime. Anywhere.

Our best ideas comes to us randomly — while we’re in the shower, exercising, in conversation, watching a movie — but can disappear as quickly as they arrive so we have to capture them immediately before they go off and find some other person who’ll take action around them.

Yes, this really does happen!

Increased levels of dopamine, relaxation and distraction allow our subconscious mind to unfurl it’s magical wisdom and creativity when we least expect it … so we must have strategies for capturing them at all times.

I keep notebooks & pieces of paper everywhere: handbag, bedroom, living room, desk, I even have Aqua notes in the shower.

I put ideas in my iPhone, write them on my hand, it doesn’t matter where but kit yourself up with some stationary and pens and write every single idea that comes to you down before it disappears into the ether!

Some of them might be nothing … but ONE of them might just make you scream: Hell YES!

Investing time and energy in your own goals for life + work instantly shifts you from corporate misfit to future entrepreneur.

You begin to take control of your own direction, develop more confidence in your abilities, greater trust in your Self, and slowly cultivate the core fibre of an entrepreneur. Guts. Instinct. Resilience. Tenacity. Fearlessness.

You develop a clear idea of your goals and a solid game plan to make them happen, you have more motivation to crack the whip and get on with it.

Excuses big and small bite the dust.

And since you can integrate these 3 ideas to inject powerhouse potential into your busy schedule, there’s really no stopping you from getting started right now.

Challenge: Conduct your own side business experiment. Pick one trick above and try it out for a month. Share your story with me at the end!


PS. Claiming greater control over your time is an element of ‘Conscious Leadership’, the first module of my signature course The Freedom Philosophy Classes.

Conscious Leadership is about priming yourself to be CEO of your own life {+ business}. In module 1.1 you learn the 4 most important areas to invest your time so you can focus on what will generate results, and in module 1.4 you learn how to set up your schedule so you don’t end up working 24-7 when you’re starting up on the side. When you consistently focus on what matters, you move forward. Fast. Take a sneaky peak right here.



How would you like the clarity to flesh out your ideas and the tools to create a concise plan that propels you towards your startup vision?

Stephanie Holland Marketing Consultant

Hey, I’m Stephanie. And I’m your greatest ally.

I’ve mastered the art of turning an idea into a vision that can be reverse engineered into the immediate next steps, and this is what I share with you.

Find about more about my one-off, 4-week and 8 week strategy sessions, or send me a note and we can connect for a 15 min call to discover how I might be able to work with you to bring your idea to life.

Find out more


Other posts in the Startup Strategy series:

3 tricks for finding time to startup on the side

12 reasons to take a leap of faith and work for yourself

5 tools you’ll need when moving beyond the corporate 9-5

4 steps to starting a business before you escape the 9-5

Forget a business plan; write a business clarity plan instead

Original image: Rachael Crowe via Unsplash

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field