• Cotton & Push

The Catch 22 of Working Full Time and Starting a Business

By Cotton & Push



I wake up sleepily at about 7.30 am. I let myself lie in today, but as soon as my alarm has

stopped making me want to cry, another reminder goes off. “Instagram Post! Do it” it says.

“Ugh, another one? I swear I just posted”. And the self loathing begins. “Most do it every day, you need to do it every day.” “Why aren’t you up yet? Have you checked your e-mails?” It’s a tricky plane to cross each day. Most of us choose to go on this rollercoaster of funding a new business by working full time. Therein lies the CATCH – you end up having little time for your passion, your baby, the thing you’re so invested in. Yet, you cannot pursue it full time, you must remain in employment, you must tough it out.


“Working a full-time job while funding and founding a business is both empowering and

completely draining. The biggest challenges for me have been:

-Managing my time (obviously)

-Not letting my stress affect my relationships,

-Maintaining my physical and mental health.

-Of course, finding time for ALL my emails and trying not go get them mixed up is a big challenge too.

But despite all the bumps along the way, I keep reminding myself that if it were easy then everyone would do it. Being an entrepreneur is not something just anyone can legitimately put on their CV!”


Jessica Clarke, Founder of Vegan Threads



Let’s talk about mental health. I am no stranger to struggles with mental health. No, I do not

pretend to know the deep struggles of some but you can say I’m one of these people with

recurring depression and ever-niggling anxiety. Starting a business whilst working has not

helped either. The stress is the instigator of anxious episodes and breakdowns. The feeling and fear of failure, would be the door to depression. Though, it’s not all doom and gloom. Like Jessica said, it CAN be empowering. Knowing you are working (even though you’re working too much) to achieve the goal of being your own boss is incredibly freeing.


Physical. OH do not get me started. How should I put this…after I’ve finished admin on my

website, gone to work for 8 hours, helped with walking the dogs (you may have kids or other

such responsibilities), and pitched in with dinner and/or cleaning the house…the absolute last thing on my mind is going for a jog. Annoyingly, exercise is probably one of the best things that would help keep me sane and fit enough to handle this dual platter of stress. The fatigue and general wear makes doing this very hard…for me anyway.


What triggers me most is how I must look to others, to my peers and to clients, to important people I’m trying to impress. It’s hard to maintain the perfect pristine image you’d like when you’re making silly spelling errors in e-mails or when a section on your website actually has a mistake in it you were meant to take out but forgot. It’s tricky to seem 100% dependable when you miss checking your work e-mails for one day. You’ll find that on that one day, someone will have asked you to do a time-senitive task too. You laugh because otherwise, you’ll cry.


Tips?


-Do not feel that you must be doing something every minute of every day. Some tasks seem monumental, but when broken down, will only take 1 hour. Use time around responsibilities to breathe, and pursue little joys like taking care of yourself, cooking, going for a walk, or listening to an audiobook.

-Do not fall into the trap of working over-time just to fund your next project.

-DO include social activities in your life. It’s very easy to say no to every offer that comes along, because you’re “busy”. Well, you’ll always be busy, but finding time to let loose and let your friends distract you from your looming deadlines tends to help.

-Do remember to sleep well, do remember to eat well. Bad food will just make you lethargic and unable to perform at your best. If you find no time to cook, a good frozen plant based burger is easy to cook, as is a quick stir-fry or curry dish.


Remember why you are doing what you are doing, and what you are striving for. You are making progress, and soon, it will get easier. Our journey is still going, and if you'd like to see what we've managed to build click here.

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