How to build your Subscription Box while maintaining a 9-5 job

entrepreneurship Nov 13, 2017

One of the best things you can do in life is to start your own business. Those feelings of seeing something you have created grow before you very eyes (outside of your children) and flourish into a sustainable income source is second to none.

In the same breath though, one of the hardest things to do is to grow your business while you are still working full time. 

It feels like there is never enough time in the day to get all the things done you want.

Between

  • Commuting to work,
  • Family commitments,
  • Doing your job.
  • Returning Home

It just feels like there is no time left to fit in actually running the business. So how do we do it?

Well. This post is going to show you some easy ways to sure you hit those business goals but make sure you can still meet your 9-5 commitments and have a life.

Before I dive in. I do need to set some expectations.

This is not going to be easy. 

Everything I’ll show you are simply tools, strategies and advice.

None of this will substitute the hard work and dedication needed to get a business off the ground.

That only comes from within.

So make sure when things get tough, you are tired or maybe you feel like giving up – you remember why you started this crazy journey in the first place.

 

First Strategy

Bracketing + scheduling your time daily.

What worked really well for me when I first got serious bout building a sub-box was being very specific about when I was going to do the work.

I knew I was going to be putting in a lot of nights and a lot of weekend doing this, but I had to be realistic about what would actually work for me.

My wife and I came up with a pretty clear plan about when I would work and when I would stop. I can’t stress how setting aside clear times and boundaries within your personal life for business activities is so important when you have a spouse.

How did I do this?

I used a Best Self Co planner.

 

 

As you can see from the planner, it was pretty easy to see where all your time goes in the day. It’s also a good indication about where you are wasting time that you didn’t need to.

 

Second Strategy

Project and Daily Task Allocation

The next strategy I can thank my good buddy Chris for. There was a time in my business where I felt I was just reacting to everything that came into my inbox and never really getting anything done. It was just respond, react and then finally when I had a moment I could start planning for the day ahead.

What he suggested is stupidly simple – but it really clicked with my brain. He taught me to use a Project Management software like Trello to map out long-term goals + daily actionable activities.

I’m now a massive convert to Trello. I think I would rather go without Facebook than live without a project management tool in my life.

What is Trello?

Trello allows you to create lists. Doesn’t sound so fancy right? But where this shines is the ability to create tasks, checklists and activities within those lists.

The way I used it was: Long Term Goals / Projects + Daily Task Checklists.

So, by having a clearly defined goal, the required steps to complete the goal + any and all relevant information contained within one list – I was inspired to just smash that activity out as a priority. 

Not only this, but I was able to start using the information to create SOP’s (Standard operating procedures) to train assistants and my wife in critical aspects of the roles I was hiring for. These were the daily tasks that I knew I needed to do – but didn’t want to get bogged down with.

You can start to see patterns in the activities you are doing when you are listing it like this and hopefully be able to make the leap into hiring these tasks out. 

This works similarly to the Best Self Co diary but in a more granular level.

 

Third Strategy

What can be done at lunch?

Something that helped me get ahead was sacrificing my lunchbreak for a "work break". Every lunchtime I used to sit at a café around the corner from my work with my laptop and just smash out tasks.

What can be done in a lunch hour?

  • All your customer emails
  • Content creation
  • Scheduling your social media content
  • Ordering supplies
  • Planning out the next few months worth of themes.

 

Use your lunchtime to start decimating those Trello Cards and keeping on top of your activities. The best part about this is that you are essentially buying more time back for the end of the day. This is more time you can spend with family.

 

Forth Strategy

Monthly and Weekly Tasks

When I first started I was pretty good at leaving everything to the last minute. This included all my packing, ordering, and even paying my bills.

This is a massively bad habit to get into and was something I needed to mature in as a business owner.

How I got over this though was by breaking down everything I did into “weeks”.

How does this work?

Most Subscription Box businesses run on a monthly delivery cycle. This means that ever 4 weeks you need to be shipping out again.  This also means that you are doing the same things at the same time each month. 

What worked for me was breaking it down as follows.

Week 1 – Order Stock

Week 2 -  Receive and Pack Boxes

Week 3 – Generate Shipping labels and Ship

Week 4 – Whatever / Family

Each week has a clear goal and end point. Once I achieved that goal I would stop. Even if it was the first day in that week. It made sure that I wasn’t burned out and was fresh for the next weeks tasks.

It also allowed me to know roughly what I’ll be doing each month so we could plan out family outings, lunches etc without getting into a massive anxiety induced panic about things needing to get done within the business.

 

Conclusion

 While this isn’t an exhaustive list of ways to cope with the 9-5 + a fledgling subscription box business, it’s the strategies that helped me get my sub-box into it’s first 6 figures without feeling overwhelmed.

Your turn: What strategies have you implemented for your business, let me know in the comments!

If you are serious about growing a Subscription Box, make sure you download my complete blueprint for starting and growing a 6-figure subscription box here.

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