When you first start a side hustle you tend to be a one-man band. It means you’re doing all the work, but there’s also plenty of upsides to this:
- no communication issues
- no meetings
- no job descriptions
It’s all you!
As I learned through the years it’s important to resist doing everything yourself. That will quickly lead to burnout or will cause you to abandon ship on your ideas.
As you’re side hustle gets more successful you might need to bring in some help.. Managing a small business or side project like this can be quite difficult. I would know, for the past eight years I’ve run Listproducer.com which has become part of my business. And for the past five years I’ve had the help of my fabulous editorial assistant Nicole. Until recently, Nicole has lived in the UK while I’ve been in the US. Plus for most of that time we both had full time jobs!
Having to manage work schedules, time zones as well as an editorial calendar certainly has a few pitfalls.But being so far apart forced us to hone our productivity and make the most of the time available to us. After a while our process became like a factory machine. It’s only when we stepped outside our bubble to explain our process to others that we realized how intuitive it had become.
So how did we reach this point? And how can you organize your side hustle for optimum efficiency and productivity? Here’s our video on the topic!
Here’s our best tips:
1. Make the time work for you
When I tell people that I worked with someone in the UK they often saw that as problematic. England is 5 hours ahead of New York so by the time I woke up, half of Nicole’s day was already gone. What will surprise you though is that this time difference actually made us more productive. It’s really noticeable now that we’re on a similar time schedule! (Nicole now lives in Canada.)
Nicole would do a lot of work in the evenings and then around the time she went to bed, I would be finishing my full time work at Fox News at the time, which allowed me to pick up where she left off.
If there was a last minute change I wanted to make to an email she could then look into in the morning when she woke up, a few hours before the email would go out.
But you don’t have to be in a different country to bring this kind of working style to your side hustle. Split up the day based on your schedules so you can pass work between you, and maximize your working hours!
2. Google Docs & Sheets – Use lots of them!
Technology is fantastic! here are so many software options available to help you manage things. When we first started writing together Nicole and I would use Evernote for our blog posts and email copy. But it doesn’t easily allow you to track changes so we moved over to Google Docs and Sheets.
This worked nicely for us because it allowed us to have a running editorial calendar and to keep a tab of ongoing ideas. There are so many apps out there, so be sure to find one that suits your way of working. This can help you to keep tabs on your own work as well as keeping tabs on others. Looking ahead in the editorial calendar would often prompt Nicole to check in with me about upcoming posts or summits we hadn’t yet discussed. This is where having someone to keep you accountable is so important. Keeping my blog and content running is a priority to me but because I’m juggling so many projects it’s amazing to have another pair of eyes.
3. Learning How Other People Work – And Embracing It!
We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Both Nicole and I have worked in production (me in TV and her in film) so we both know how to organize a schedule, but outside of that we have pretty different skill sets.
We would pick and share tasks based on our strengths. It may sound simple, but people can often be shy to speak up about the things they struggle with. Instead they grin and bear it when there’s no need and a simple fix can often be put in place. For example, Nicole struggles with writing headlines. No biggy! My news career has taught me to speak in soundbites so it’s faster and easier for me to come up with a snappy headline. In your own business be sure to have honest discussions about what is or isn’t working for you and lean into the strengths of your team.
4. Finding time to juggle two worlds
For the past 4 years Nicole has worked a full time job as well as finding the time to help with listproducer.com. How does she do it? When we talked, Nicole explained that it’s all about finding a little bit of time everyday. I’m a huge advocate for breaking up big tasks into smaller, manageable chunks – and this is no different! If you can find the time to go to the gym for an hour in the evening you can also find the time to work for an hour on a blog post. Then on the weekend you can dedicate two or three hours a day. It’s all about slotting the broken down tasks into your schedule as and when works best for you.
Want to know more of our production secrets? Check out the video where I interview Nicole here!
Original post found here.