Lessons from my Double Life
Twelve months ago I started Citrus Content, I had no idea about what to expect but knew I could make it successful. At the time I was working full time and like most families in the UK we needed two incomes to pay the mortgage so I began leading a double life. By day I would go through the motions of the employed, rush home and spend some family time, then off to my office to start work on my business. No matter what people tell you about leading a double life, the facts are it is exhausting, exciting, stressful and yet so much fun. As of the 1 August, I ended my double life and now focusing solely on Citrus Content, I just feel like a huge weight has been lifted. For those of you taking the tentative steps into a double life I hope that these tips will help.
Your family and friends will suffer no matter how much you try and organise your work round them. It is impossible to dedicate 100% to your business and still give your family the amount of time they need and deserve. I virtually became a hermit for 12 months trying to juggle everything. Set one time in the week that you set aside for family time. I used to set Sunday day as our family day, I would make sure we did something special on that day even if the day could only be for 3-4 hours. I found it more difficult as we have had serious illnesses in the family which have also been emotionally stressful to add to the mix.
You think you have felt tiredness before? Think again. Yes you sacrifice that completely, when I did get to bed around 1am, I would restlessly be thinking of all the things that needed doing and how was I going to squeeze them round everything else? Sleep when you know you really need it. You will get to a point when you know you need to sleep, I would sometimes have a siesta when I got home from work, just to recharge. When you finish work, you will sleep better than you have slept in a long time trust me.
You will let people down
Unfortunately this was my biggest bug bear. With my personal blog Trying to Balance the Madness, I had some many good intentions to showcase people and companies. I was asked to write a number of guest blogs which I wanted to do, but if my client work took all my ‘free’ time this got pushed back. I’m ashamed to admit that a lot of work I intended to do for other people is yet to be done. To those people this affected I am truly sorry! Learn to say NO! yes OK I was rubbish at this, but since leaving work I am more careful on what I accept unless I can honestly work it into my schedule, the last thing I want to do is let down a paying client.
Growth will be stunted
I am not being harsh it’s just that you will spend all your ‘free’ time working on your client work, it is hard to put in the hours required to strategically grow your business. You also need to think about whether you can manage any growth. I reached a point where I knew I couldn’t accept any new clients as I physically didn’t have the hours in the day to achieve anything more. Know how much growth you can realistically manage, once you have stopped your double life, this question doesn’t go away but the way you are able to manage growth changes.
Should your clients know?
This is only a question you can answer, you know your clients. I never promoted the fact that I was employed, but some of my clients knew my situation and some didn’t. I didn’t want any client thinking that their work was being affected as I was working full time. You will be surprised to know how many business owners are leading a double life – many that you don’t even expect.
I know that the last 12 months of my double life has been one of the hardest things I have ever had to do but wow was it worth it. In just 12 months I have managed to build a business I am proud of, that is successful and I can see so much in it’s future. Thank you to all my amazing clients that have made my first year in business so pleasurable.
If you are thinking of leading a double life, remember like in most things, you only get out of it what you put into it.