In my experience, there are basically two types of entrepreneurs. The business owners who start a company — they build it — they live it. With the one-business owner, there is no doubt what they are doing and no doubt what they love and where their heart is residing. But how do you divide your time with multiple businesses?
You must strategically divide your time with multiple businesses.
Then there are the serial entrepreneurs who love to start lots of companies. The serial entrepreneur — prefers to run more than one company at the same time. These entrepreneurs also love to build, and they love and live in the company. Sometimes there is a doubt about which company they love most. This information on the “most prized business” is sometimes difficult to decipher. I’m the latter — a serial entrepreneur — and that is what charges me.
That’s not a knock against anyone successful and happy with owning one business. It’s just that most serial entrepreneurs realize that it’s in our best interest to start multiple businesses.
Owning more than one business helps diversify your income streams.
Owning many businesses means providing yourself with multiple streams of income and financial security — if one company fails. Owning numerous businesses keeps life exciting and gives us a chance to put our different skills, experiences, and interests to use.
Here’s the catch. Juggling your time between all of your businesses can be brutal. Brutal is both the downside and the upside of owning and running numerous businesses. Think about putting in an eight-hour day at work and then coming home to work on your side hustle. That’s a long and grueling day — which again is often the upside.
Thankfully, there are ways that you can successfully divide your time between all of your businesses so that you don’t get burned out.
Multiple businesses need to be parred-down in the following ways.
Schedule your life.
Scheduling is key. If there was one piece of advice that you take away from this article — scheduling would be it.
The first place to start when organizing your schedule is to use a calendar. I prefer an online calendar Calendar.com; then, I can update and view my schedule on my phone. I also like the fact that I receive reminders and notifications from the phone as well. However, an old-school paper calendar will also work.
Once you have your calendar — list your priorities for the day on it ahead of time. This way, you won’t forget essential events/tasks or accidentally double-book yourself. Most importantly, having a calendar ensures that you get everything done for both businesses. A truly beautiful calendar — can hold all of your information — but not look cluttered.
For example, Monday’s could be spent writing blog posts for one company, while Tuesday’s are meeting days for the other business.
In order not to get overwhelmed, don’t clutter your calendar with habits or minute tasks that you do regardless of the scheduled items. You also need to start saying “no” to things that you’re either not excited about or don’t provide intrinsic value to you in some way. Doing otherwise will be stretching yourself too thin.
Have a central location.
If possible, try to have both businesses located in the same location. Because my companies rely mainly on virtual workers — this isn’t an issue. I have the luxury to work at home if I like, but I enjoy having an office — pristine clean — no noise. In this way, people from each company can work alongside each other if they come into town the same day or week.
Having the businesses work out of the same office saves me time since I don’t have to commute (I may walk the 10 minutes to the office), and I can easily interact with the team members who are not physically nearby. The office arrangements and the employee arrangement allows me to have meetings, and schedule on and off-site events — and it’s a breeze for all business-related issues combined.
If you can’t have both ventures at the same location, at least try to have them within proximity to each other so that getting to either office isn’t a hassle or overly time-consuming for either walking or driving.
Hire a talented staff (and trust them).
Entrepreneurs believe that they can do it all. But, as any seasoned entrepreneur will tell — this isn’t feasible. There’s only so much that you can do in a day. There are only so many hats that you can wear.
That’s why you need to recruit and hire top-quality employees. They should fit your company’s culture, as well as be talented, competent, and trustworthy. Also, don’t be afraid to check your ego at the door and hire people smarter than you.
When you hire correctly, you can delegate assignments so that you can work on your priorities. You can also rest assured knowing that when you’re not focused on one business — the other is in good hands. Allowing more freedom helps me not micromanage them, meaning I shortened the leash and let them take the ball and run with it.
Pick your projects wisely.
My dad was a Kenny Rogers fan. As a result, I have a bit of a soft spot for the man, also. I also applied one of his most well-known songs to my businesses:
“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run.”
These words are something that Sir Richard Branson learned and has talked about.
Branson attempted to launch both Virgin Films and Virgin Atlantic at the same time. Virgin Films was too much of a risk and put the entire Virgin Group in jeopardy. Branson decided to cut his losses and focus on Virgin Atlantic instead.
If a business isn’t working out, then it doesn’t make sense to devote any more time and resources to it. You may have to walk away. It’s not easy. But it’s better to spend your time on a business that will be successful than staying on a sinking ship.
Let’s face it; if you’re not organized, you’re in trouble. That’s true if you run one business. But it’s even more so if you have multiple businesses.
Being organized can help your business because it ensures that your business is presented in the best possible light. Let’s say you run a health food store, and it isn’t organized. How much time would you waste doing inventory or helping customers locate items?
When you’re organized, your business also runs a lot smoother. That’s because you have schedules, deadlines, and shared calendars that keep everyone on the same page. It also eliminates distractions, assures projects are completed on time, and sets-up “smooth sailing” plans for the future.
Create theme days.
Jack Dorsey can run both Twitter and Square because he maximizes his time with theme days.
Here’s how the strategy has allowed Dorsey to spend 8 hours a day at each company:
“The way I found that works for me is I theme my days. On Monday, at both companies, I focus on management and running the company…Tuesday is focused on product. Wednesday is focused on marketing and communications and growth. Thursday is focused on developers and partnerships. Friday is focused on the company culture and recruiting. Saturday I take off, I hike. Sunday is reflection, feedback, strategy, and getting ready for the next week.”
Theme days is an effective technique because it establishes a rhythm and groups like tasks together. Listen to others that have been on this journey.
Maintain your life-work balance.
I’m not going to sugarcoat this. There will be times when you’re going to have to put 16-hour workdays — and sometimes a few more hours than that. Especially at first — when you are starting a company — you’ll have to work all weekend instead of spending time with friends or family. That’s just part of the journey. But, please, learn to do a great job at outsourcing.
At the same time, you can’t work 24/7/365.
You can’t work as many hours as you think you can — but it doesn’t mean that you should force yourself to go on a vacation while putting out multiple fires. It means that you need to take a break occasionally. It is essential to do something that you enjoy every day. It could be taking your dog for a walk and listening to a podcast for 30-minutes or relaxing by the pool for an hour. Maybe it’s having dinner with friends or exercising for an hour.
We all need time to relax and recharge. That may not sound possible when running multiple businesses — but it’s necessary for the long haul.
Go to your calendar and start blocking-out specific times for yourself. Learn the ways that smart entrepreneurs schedule and how those that waste-time schedule. Do something that’s not work-related. You’ll be surprised at how much more productive and focused you’ll be.