I get a lot of questions about how I can have enough time for a side business when I have a demanding full time job. Time seems like a very hard thing for people to control.....and it is!
Before Sloane I watched a lot of TV. First 48 was my binge watching show. I could NOT just watch one episode. Physically impossible to turn off the TV. When I see the show pop up on my guide today I still get some sort of dopamine rush. I'd watch reruns with the same intensity as a new episode.
All that TV time added up to lots of hours. I'd say 2 hours of TV time a day. When I look back I would say I was entertained, but it wasn't adding much to my life. If you do the math the 2 hours a day means 10 hours a work week.....and 14 hours for the full week. I think I watched even more TV on the weekend, so that is a conservative number. Over a month that is 56 hours! 56 HOURS!! Just sitting on my butt watching.
When I moved to Cincinnati to start at P&G I decided to challenge myself and not get a TV. I said the minute I REALLY needed one I'd just go to Best Buy and get one. I went 5 years without a TV. I missed First 48 and all the sports I love. What I found was that I actually got more enjoyment transitioning those hours into Sloane and learning at work.
The only reason I got a TV after 5 years was the cable company called and said that I could get cable and internet for less than what I was currently paying for internet. I ended up getting TV, but barely watched it. I was hooked on spending my time learning and growing.
Look at how you spend your time. There are hours there. My current battle is fighting my phone screen time. I think there is a lot of time there I could get back. It's a hard process to break habits. Start small and see the benefits.
I have recently thought back on some things I would have liked to have financially dealt with. Student loan. Down payment on a house. A better car. Mine is almost 30 years old and has 213K miles on it. I am hard on myself about it because I feel like I SHOULD be able to handle these things. I'm an adult and SHOULD be winning in these area.
I then think of where a lot of my money has gone over the years. Money to start Sloane. Money for a website. Money for a big inventory order. Money to take a risk on an up and coming influencer. Money for a legit photo shoot. ALL of that was necessary to keep Sloane up and going. I COULD have a nice car, but that would have come at the expense of something I needed for Sloane.
There is no way I could have had everything going. Too many needs and not enough resources. Welcome to the life of an entrepreneur.
I have a cousin who has his own restaurant in Dubuque, IA. The place is great and has been very successful over the years. He took me on a tour of the place. I was very impressed with the kitchen, traveling BBQ truck, fridge, etc. As they've grown the business they have had to buy new stuff to support the growth.
My cousin pointed to their huge new walk in fridge/freezer. He said that when many of his friends are buying new pickup trucks he's buying a new fridge for his business. A fridge. That statement stuck with me. I laughed about it at the time, but that is REAL. You cannot have it all. Sacrifices must be made and you need to understand how much sacrifice you are willing to make.
Do you want a car or a walk in fridge???
Having plentiful resources SEEMS like the best option. The answer to the question, "Do you want plentiful resources to go to war or not?" would be a pretty obvious answer. "YES"! Give me everything I can take.
In starting a business I often think that starting with a lot of resources is a curse. It leads to unneeded spending and laziness. The attitude of money will solve everything starts taking over. The fact is that money isn't the x factor in success. You see this in almost all successful businesses. What wins is attitude, fight and unending hard work.
There are so many examples in history of this. The Wright Brothers figuring out flight before the much better funded competition is just one. The Wright Brothers just flat out wanted it more. They had the grit to keep going and figure it out.
For Sloane there were a number of things we just had to figure it out. If we actually had money we might have made different choices and I think would've ended up in a worse place.
Logo: We could've hired an expensive firm to do this. Instead we leveraged 99 Designs to come up with our logo. We were forced to think about what we wanted our brand to be about. This took a LONG time. That thought allowed the story of Sloane to come out, which gave us pride and was a story we could tell to our consumers. A quick fix cute logo from an expensive design firm would have never let our story come to life.
Website: We found a freelancer in OR who made our website. We did not find the hottest website design company out there. We just got it done. We spent probably one-third what we could have. The website worked and served us well in the beginning.
Models: We found models for the website on our own. We worked with an agency to find people, but went with guys who got the job done versus being the top of the line guys. Each time you look at the options as you build your company it hurts a bit to take the middle of the road options, but for most decisions that is fine. Spend on the KEY items, but don't spend on ALL the items. You will need every penny as you grow.
These are three quick examples of where we saved thousands of dollars. That saved money was put into our product. We didn't want to have a sweet website and a terrible undershirt. The undershirt is where we needed to differentiate. We chose the best fabric on the market. This was a wise decision because when people wore it they told their friends. Those friends went to our so so website. Saw our so so design. Saw our so so models. And purchased.
Figure out what is the most important thing to drive purchase. Invest the most in that.
Starting your own business an opportunity to do things your way. You are the leader. You make the calls. You make the culture. You are also responsible when things aren't going well, which will happen. I feel like media portrays the sexiness of entrepreneurship when the experience feels like being an infantry man in an ceaseless war.
I never wanted Sloane to feel like a weight dragging me and my life under water. I wanted it to be a life experience that shows me what entrepreneurship is REALLY like. I wanted to live it versus just listening to podcasts or reading about the people who did it.
My attitude was to have this be a learning experience for me. That's probably why I haven't gone all in, taken investment from anyone and kept it as a side hustle. I did not want to make Sloane my EVERYTHING, which would have upped the tension big time.
By keeping it on the side I have been able to have fun with it. Seeing it grow has been incredible. The small wins like having a successful Kickstarter campaign made me super proud. I have also been able to take the losses in stride since they did not ruin me. Taking a loss on a year because of a dumb marketing move or having a supplier totally screw me over was very stressful, but it didn't ruin me.
I took the L's as learning. I made sure to never do those things again and they also gave me a unique perspective on things for my full time job. We will see what happens with Sloane in the long run, but starting it on the side has allowed me to enjoy the ups and downs. When I look back after 10 years I can honestly say it's been a really fun experience.
If you are interested in starting a business consider doing it on the side to start. You can really gauge if the business has a shot and your true passion for it. Do you actually enjoy the grind? If so, then maybe it's something you consider doing full time? If not, it's a cool story and something you can be proud of no matter what happens. You will have your full time job there waiting for you.