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Get the most out of your day job while waiting to do your side job full time!

Lots of female business owners are still working a day job when they're trying to get their true passion - their side gig - off the ground.

You may be waiting impatiently for the day you can write the resignation email, but in the meantime, here's some advice for getting through the days while you're working two jobs: working your arse off at night on the stuff that REALLY matters to you: your own business.

Personal Branding Photographer Edinburgh - woman working on laptop in cafe

Get your important stuff done in the morning

Front-load your work day. Even if you've been up for two hours already working a side job. 

Most folks have more energy in the morning so do all your strategic stuff, your planning stuff, your phone calls etc, then. And if there’s something really ghastly on your list, just get the damn thing out of the way as early in the morning as you can.

Eat the frog. Your day can only get better then! If you coast along in the morning having a bit of a skive, you’ll just find that as the day wears on, you’ll only be able to face the more menial, task-based things on your list. And so the important stuff will roll over to the next day.

Might as well just do the rubbish stuff first thing, hmm? I’m not naturally a morning person but I can do it when I have to.

But make your to do list the night before

There’s something quite satisfying about spending the last wee while of your workday getting all your planning done and gearing up for the following day. You write your list out and go home.

It’s lovely not actually having to DO anything on the list! And when you come in in the morning, you don’t have to waste too much brain-power on something really menial – you can horse on through your tasks and achieve loads. (Preferrably before you get mired in your morass of emails.)

Don’t hide behind email – talk to people

I used to work in IT. IT people can be very, very wary of talking to anything other than a computer screen, and I noticed it was really common for them to send emails to people three feet away from them at the next desk rather than just speak to them. Or, rather than getting off their backsides and walking to the other side of the office to go to someone’s desk, they’d email.

Yes, sure, there is an argument that you could be interrupting someone by phoning or going up to their desk and saying hi. But after years of seeing colleagues only engage by email, I’ve seen the damaging culture that produces, the lack of team cohesion, the misunderstandings and resentment because busy people sending emails don’t always word them very well, leaving their intentions wide open to being misconstrued.

There is just something deeply weird about working in an office of however many human beings but not wanting to talk to them.

Sorry, but networking IS important

We all know it, really, don’t we. It’s who you know more than what you know. So trite, but so true.

It’s all very nice knowing a wee handful of folks very well, or having a huge number of superficial contacts, but it’s not enough. Be strategic about your networking, about your contacts.

Make the effort to meet and stay connected to lots of folks, and invest some time making your relationship with both reciprocal and effective. These contacts could come in very handy when you've finally walked out the office door for the last time.

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Get good at something, very good

I've had a good few jobs over the years where I was the “go to” person for several different things. And it’s a real benefit as it boosts your networking effectiveness and elevates your worth come appraisal time, plus people talk about you outwith work too, to all the people THEY know. 

Make sure it's good stuff they're saying about you - you never know who might want to hire you or buy from you in your self-employed capacity!

Plus you feel really good when people acknowledge you, yes you, as their expert in something. It’s very satisfying.

Be proactive and take initiative

Don’t sit on your arse waiting to be told what to do

Waiting for someone to tell you this is the biggest waste of time and the road to nowhere.  Saying “nobody asked me to do this” is a fast track to failure and makes you look pathetic and lazy. And hell, you're working a side job, you're working two jobs, and the last thing you are is lazy, right?

If you really don’t know what to do, start watching, watching very closely. Observe the gaps in what needs done. Figure out what your bosses or colleagues need – just because they’re not asking you to do it, doesn’t mean to say these needs don’t exist.

If you can fulfill these needs without being asked, you will look fabulous. You will then have my permission to feel satisfied and smug. And they’ll love you.

And again, you'll get talked about all over the place in a good way.

Screw up? Hands up

Don’t bother being defensive about bog-ups you make or errors in judgment. Everyone can see your excuses and they’ll write you off as being a pathetic twat.  Just stop trying to justify your screw ups!

Take it on the chops – apologise and show ’n’ tell what you’ve learned from it. We're not machines, we're human, so move on.

People over perks

One company I worked for had a very, very impressive array of staff benefits. My cohort of university graduates were desperate to get in there. Some of us did.

But what we didn’t realise until our bums were on the seats was, the management were dickheads, a lot of the middle managers were dreadful, and the culture stank. For many of us, a great staff restaurant does not compensate for despotic bosses.

Are you at a dead end?

There are always shitty elements of work. Keep an eye on whether the shitty elements outweigh the good ones.  Analyse what you’re doing today and figure out if it maps across to where you want to be tomorrow. Cause if you can’t map your future success with the stuff you’re doing now in the place you’re at now, then you need to either fix that or walk out and get a new job.  

Or else just regard this wholly as a stepping stone to running your own show. If you can put up with it for a while, being in a dead end rut in the day job can give you that extra push to get the hell out of there.

Speak up, don’t just bitch about it

If you have problems with your bosses, the culture in your workplace, or your job and responsibilities, for heavens sake speak to the relevant people about fixing it.  

Don’t whinge and whine at home or (much worse) to colleagues about it. Don’t be a victim. It’s boring. And kind of pointless.

If you can communicate effectively to the right people what needs improved, and even better provide a few suggestions as to how, you can actually shape your professional destiny and probably improve the lot of others at the same time.  

And nobody likes serial whingers anyway. Bitching and negativity in the workplace is insidious and loses you all respect. It’s toxic.

Pick a professional idol

... and pretend you’re him/her – you may not know what the hell to do in a given situation, but your professional idol does.  

If you were Ms X, how would you carry youself, make important decisions, organise yourself and your workload, accomplish stuff?

Fake it till you make it … So you might as well fake being someone fabulous.  It really gets you in the right mind set for achievement, and when you get out of there and start running your own show, achievement is kind of vital.

Working two jobs - branding photographer Edinburgh

Don’t burn your boats

Over the years your reputation is the most valuable currency you have. (Not only in the workplace either.)

Your reputation can either open or close doors for you professionally. Nowadays everything is recorded forever and accessible by most, so you can’t screw up and pretend it never happened.

Never walk away from a work situation or a job on a sour note if you can possibly help it. The world’s a smaller place now and people know, you know.  If you tarnish your reputation by being a flakey dickhead, then good luck with the repair job. It could take you a very long time.

The trick is, make your days as smooth and easy as they can be. Do the work you're being paid to do properly, even if you know that the "real" work is what awaits you when you get home.

Yes it can be knackering to put in a full day and then sit up half the night on your "real work", the work you love and that fires you up, but you know deep down it's really worth it, isn't it?

Just keep going and your time will come. 

And if your're working so hard on your side job, trying to get it profitable enough so you can jack in the day job, have you thought about getting personal branding photography done to take your side job to the next level? Read more about why you need to consider it and get in touch with me!

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