3 Simple Steps to a Successful Side Business

By Sarah Peterson

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Have you ever wondered how some people do it?

Building successful side business while looking after everything else.

These are people with full-time jobs, families, many other responsibilities.

You have to admire them juggling their day jobs, children and all the other pressures of everyday life but still have the time and energy to build profitable ventures on the side.

That makes you start to think all of a sudden that you hardly even have the energy to make dinner and avoid falling asleep on the couch while watching television, let alone start building a successful business in your time off!

3 Simple Steps to a Successful Side Business

I get it. Life can be exhausting and you feel as if those who do this have some sort of advantage.

Expertise, experience, a lot of help. An extra hour or two each day that you don’t have.

3 Simple Steps to a Successful Side Business

But they don’t. They have the same 24 hours as you do, and like you, they had to start somewhere.

Luckily, there is a simple way to start building a side business, even if you have a day job.

Here are 3 super easy and super simple steps to get your side business on the track to success!

Try it out and see if it works for you.

1. Re-frame Your Thinking

3 Simple Steps to a Successful Side Business

Wished you only didn’t have that day job. If only you could work fewer hours.

Wishing you had a way to let go and wind down from the day better. Then you could build a side business.

3 Simple Steps to a Successful Side Business

If you’ve ever thought any of these things, you’re not alone. I know I’ve had thoughts like this as well. But instead of looking at your day job as a barrier, re-frame your thinking.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to see anything positive about working a day job and trying to build anything on the side. But there are plenty of positives if you flip the coin over.

For instance, your day job provides:

  • Constraints: Sometimes the constraints provided by our jobs feel like a bad thing, but constraints are positive. They ignite creativity and don’t allow for procrastination. Think back to school when you had to write a report in an hour. You probably did better on that report than you did on the ones you had weeks to write.
  • Skills: Our day jobs give us an environment to learn new skills and sharpen our existing skills. We can then transfer them to our businesses.
  • Funding: You have a day job, so you have an advantage: you haven’t been laid off and forced into entrepreneurship unexpectedly. Our jobs provide us with the funding to get things up and running, or at least put food on the table while we build our businesses.

When you begin to re-frame how you look at your job, you can start to use it as a tool rather than a barrier.

2. Determine Your Key Actions

3 Simple Steps to a Successful Side Business

No matter what business you are building, there are 1-2 key actions needed to build it.

  • Becoming a freelance writer you need to write and send pitches
  • In order to build a web design business you need to design websites and get your work in front of potential clients
  • To have a successful Etsy store (more on how to get started), you need to write great descriptions and take great photos
  • If you want to become a professional blogger, you need to write and build your audience.

What are key business building actions you need to take? Note that I didn’t ask for all actions you should do to build an empire.

If you want to become a professional blogger, there are dozens of things you could do to get ahead. Maintaining a presence on Facebook, hosting Webinars, hacking Pinterest, hosting giveaways, doing keyword research…the tasks are endless.

3 Simple Steps to a Successful Side Business

But underneath the “nice to dos”, there are a few key actions that make your business idea.

Let’s think of your business as a raspberry bush (because I love raspberries).

There’s the root system, the branches, and the leaves. The fruit, the buds, and the little fuzzy thorns on the outside of the branches.

3 Simple Steps to a Successful Side Business

If you didn’t cultivate the roots, your raspberry bush wouldn’t exist. And only when the roots are strong can the raspberry bush bear fruit.

The leaves make the bush prettier and capture nutrients for the bush, and the little fuzzy thorns protect the bush. The buds and flowers before the fruit gain nutrition by attracting bees. But none of this would exist without the roots.

What are the roots of your business? All of the other stuff is great and will come after the roots are strong.

The roots are your key actions.

If you’re creating a course on how to use a software program, your key actions are your course modules and probably building relationships with the users of that program.

If you are a cartoonist who wants to sell your art on Etsy, your key actions are drawing and photographing cartoons.

3. Spend One Hour

3 Simple Steps to a Successful Side Business

Now that you’ve identified the key actions unique to your business, you need to actually do them.

So schedule one hour of this work each day. Grab a free scheduling workbook that I created here to help you schedule. When you’re creating the schedule, think of a contingency plan.

What if you oversleep, get caught in traffic, get behind on work or otherwise don’t end up putting in your hour? What will you do? When will you put in your hour?

3 Simple Steps to a Successful Side Business

When you’ve finished scheduled, show up. No matter what. Rain or shine.

If you are tight for time and have to wake up earlier, then do it. It is worth it to set aside that hour of TV that you have. You ought to spend your lunch break building your business, and that will be your new power hour.

3 Simple Steps to a Successful Side Business

And tomorrow?

One hour, show up and do the work.

And repeat. No matter what.

How I Use This System in My Life

3 Simple Steps to a Successful Side Business

When I was just first starting out with Unsettle, I was working a contract full-time.

At first, I used my evenings to maintain my businesses, so what I did is schedule an hour of completely uninterrupted work each morning.

The reasons why I do this are because of the following:

  • Firstly, I am the most focused first thing in the morning.
  • Second, my husband is still fast asleep so everything is quiet and undisturbed.
  • And third, the feeling of getting work done before doing everything else for the day is very satisfying.

When I sat down to think about the key actions I needed to do to make my business Unsettle work, writing was obviously the topmost priority. And below that top priority is building relationships with my target audience and peers.

So every morning at 5:20 AM, I sit down and write.

And yet sometimes, the things I’ve are not always publish worthy. But it doesn’t matter since I get to do what is needed for that morning, I write.

In the span of that hour, right before it ends, I spend the rest of it doing social media and responding to my audience and peers.

My business Unsettle launched on January 5, and even though I was still working full-time, it was a very successful launch.

I have more time now. And without this system, there wouldn’t even be an Unsettle.


If you’re thinking that an hour a day isn’t nearly enough time to become successful, you’re missing the point.

You have a day job, responsibilities, and you can’t spend all day every day building this thing.

However, if you are finding somewhere to start. Then this is the best place to do that.

This article was originally published on Unsettle.org

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