Productivity, Systems & Processes for Side Hustlers and Entrepreneurs

If you’re a new entrepreneur working to build more income with a part-time business, then establishing systems, processes, and productive habits could be the keys to your success.

As a part-timer, you should strive to make the most of the hours you have to spend on your business venture.

Whether you’re blogging about personal finance, selling art on Etsy, or growing a real estate investing empire, drilling down on productivity can help you save time and make more money.

The guide below gives more insight into why productivity, processes, and systems matter and how you can maximize your time as a weekend warrior.

How to Build Productive Practices, Processes, and Systems for Your Part-time Business

Building sustainable practices that increase your efficiency and allow you to scale your part-time businesses is essential.

You may only have 20 hours to dedicate to your venture, but solid habits, systems, and processes will work around the clock for you.

Here are a few of the most significant ways you can start optimizing your time and efforts now.    

Check Out Other Entrepreneurs’ Productivity Tips

More than likely, your primary job has some structure which lends itself well to productivity. When you strike out on your own to start a business, creating productive routines falls on your shoulders.

Balancing a 9 to 5, weekend venture, and social life can be challenging, and it’s all too easy for your side venture to fall through the cracks or spill over if you don’t prioritize productivity.

Fortunately, you aren’t on your own. There’s a whole community of weekend warriors out there who’ve successfully created additional streams of income.

Many of those entrepreneurs have compiled resources to help you build productive habits, like this blog, for instance.

Look at other people’s productivity hacks, tips, and tricks, and give them a try. 

  • Need help with time management? You might find something like the Pomodoro method useful, breaking your tasks into 25-minute chunks with 5-minute breaks, followed by a longer break after every 4 Pomodoros.
  • Struggling with distraction? You might need to turn off notifications or disconnect completely from the outside world during designated work times. There are even apps designed to limit your screen time and block you from distracting websites.
  • Environment bringing you down? Tidy up your workspace, light a candle, or find an instrumental playlist designed to help with focus. Or you could expand your horizons, venturing outside or to a local coffee shop.

These are only a few productivity tips that have worked for other entrepreneurs.

Try implementing some productivity hacks and see which ones work for you, building them into your routine.

Focus on Habits

Habits can make or break your business. While motivation may help you kickstart your entrepreneurial endeavor, it won’t sustain it.

To see your business thrive, you need to focus on being consistent. Why? Because your habits will ultimately drive your actions and determine how you spend your hours. 

When you don’t have a 40-hour workweek to devote to a project, creating strong habits is even more crucial.

Work on starting good habits that will carry you through on the days when your willpower is lacking.

This could mean forming a morning, afternoon, or evening ritual that helps you to focus on your new business. Creating a hit list of tasks and priorities in the morning can give you direction for the rest of the day.

Likewise, a nighttime routine where you reflect on what you’ve completed, set new goals, and unplug from your work can be extremely effective.

Or you may need to build out a schedule that sets clearer boundaries, designating time for your project and sticking to it.

As you introduce new practices into your routine and follow through on them repeatedly, these habits start to solidify. 

Just as important as building good habits is cutting out your bad habits

For instance, if you’re prone to endlessly scrolling on social media when you open your laptop to work, or sleeping in every Saturday even though it’s your only time to pursue your part-time career, you may need to break these habits and replace them with more beneficial ones.

Build Systems and Processes for Scale

The bad news? The hours you have to dedicate to your part-time business venture are limited.

The really good news? You can build processes that work for you while you sleep, socialize, and go to work.

Without processes in place to scale your venture, your earning potential and the reach of your efforts will eventually cap out.

But a solid system can compound the effects of your work and reach more people than you could on your own.

Scaling your business doesn’t necessarily mean adding employees or increasing the amount of time and energy you put into it.

On the contrary, your processes and systems should allow you to broaden the scope of your part-time venture without putting more time or manpower behind it.

To build these systems and processes, consider some of the following:

  • Automate the boring stuff: Repetitive tasks take up your time and can get tedious. If you find yourself coming back to basic tasks repeatedly, work out a system that puts them on auto-pilot.
  • Outsource: Some tasks are necessary to your business but aren’t worth the time or money they take you to complete. When that’s the case, adding outsourcing to your process can be a huge timesaver and income earner.
  • Use tools: Take advantage of apps and platforms that go to work for you, from customer relationship management software to calendar apps to content management systems.
  • Pick scalable business ideas: Get creative with what you produce, monetizing your expertise. Whether you sell a course, make YouTube videos, create digital art, or invest in a vacation rental, focus on creating a one-time product that keeps on earning.

Build Systems and Processes for Efficiency

When you launch a second or third or fourth source of income, your time is going to be limited and incredibly valuable. 

Building a scalable business plan that furthers your reach is important, but you should also focus on creating efficient processes.

If you don’t prioritize efficiency, you could be putting extra strain on yourself. Rather than disrupting your work-life balance or burning yourself out, press pause and see what you can do to be more efficient.

So how do you create processes and systems for efficiency? Here are a few pointers:

  • Use a CRM: Want to manage client relationships, track your activity, contact customers, and automate processes all in one place? You need to use a customer relationship management platform to streamline and optimize your procedures.
  • Focus on project management: To increase efficiency and stay on top of your tasks, use project management software. That way, you can spend your time doing what you love and thrive at, just managing the rest.
  • Optimize your schedule: Monitor the way you’re spending time then see where there’s room for improvement. You may find some tasks are consuming more time than they should and could be automated or outsourced. You might also repurpose wasted time, or realize you need to incorporate more breaks and balance.
  • Delegate and automate: Once again, some tasks require attention but not necessarily your direct attention. You’ll be much more efficient when you start offloading these items from your to-do list.
  • Build standard operating procedures (SOPs): An SOP document gives clearly outlined directions for the processes you use in your business. They can be super important for outsourcing or working on a team, but also for your own insight. As you outline your own systems, you may see room for improved efficiency. 
  • Get organized: I’m not just talking about your desk space here. If you’re a blogger or social media marketer, get your content calendar in order. Are you putting your ideas, SOPs, and client info down in Google Docs? Create a system for naming your files. Efficient strategies will be a game-changer for your new business.

Why Productivity, Systems, and Processes Matter to Your Business

Breaking bad habits, making new ones, and creating systems and processes take time, but they’re worthwhile steps that are essential to your business’s success.

The sooner you start focusing on increasing your productivity, the sooner you’ll form habits and begin maximizing your time.

In addition to making your venture more profitable, you get to enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done rather than stressing and spreading yourself thin.

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About Philip Taylor, CPA

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, blogger, podcaster, husband, and father of three. PT is also the founder and CEO of the personal finance industry conference and trade show, FinCon.

He created Part-Time Money® back in 2007 to share his advice on money, hold himself accountable (while paying off over $75k in debt), and to meet others passionate about moving toward financial independence.

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  1. Matthew Kirkland says

    This is a great point. My wife and I create and sell jewelry at the local farmers market as a hobby. I keep saying we need to set up a Quickbooks Online account to track our revenue and expenses.