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7 steps to growing a business when you’re still working full time

7 steps to growing a business when you're still working full time MAIN

If you’re growing a business while working full time, it can feel like an endless uphill battle. But a few simple steps can make it easier says leading business authority Royston Guest

You and I are busy people. Our lives have many facets, with work, home, family, friends, colleagues, partners and children. And over the years, no doubt, commitments have crept in, almost unnoticed, to the point where, whether you know it or not, there are probably already multiple versions of you.

Think for a moment about how many versions there are. There’s the personal you with family and friends, the professional you with colleagues and bosses, the you in a relationship, the you as a parent, as well as you just being you.

Each version of you has to meet differing demands and expectations, each version of you dialled up or down as you and your life evolve.

Here are my 7 steps to help you grow a business when you’re still working full time…

Step #1 Understand and manage the tensions between the different versions of you

Managing the tensions between these various versions of ‘you’ is something you’ve probably had to learn and, if you’re being totally honest, probably still learning, as new demands and challenges arise.

The answer isn’t to become universally excellent at all of them, but to understand clearly which one requires the most attention at any given point. Remember, there are many versions of you but only one physical you.

‘there are many versions of you but only one physical you’

Unfortunately, far too many people struggle to manage the tensions, giving all their energy to one version at the expense, or loss of another.

Think about your multiple versions – are any in tension? Are you getting the most out of each one? Do any need to change because you’ve entered a new stage in your life, and you haven’t pressed the reset button yet?

Tap into your conscious choices about how you want to shape your life, the areas you want to focus on, the value you can add and what you are prepared to do and not do.

Step #2 Define what success means to you

Success is such an emotive word, which we each define differently. Success for one person could be at opposite ends of the scale for the next.

However, if you examine the words and actions of some of the most successful people today and throughout history, those individuals who have truly made a dent on the world and created a lasting legacy, you’ll find they each have something in common:

  • A clear set of motivational drivers
  • A reason for being
  • A clear answer to the question ‘Why?’
  • A purposeful intent that drives what they do and how they do it.

Consider the following…what does success mean to you professionally? What does success mean to you personally?

Think about why you get out of bed in the morning. What makes you excited about the day ahead? Why do you care? What difference do you make? Who cares about you?

Think about these things and you begin to raise your conscious awareness of your own motivational drivers, which in turn will help unlock your ‘Why?’ and ultimately your definition of success.

When you are really clear about what success means to you, both personally and professionally, you can pin point your goals, fully aware of the tensions and trade-offs you’re making.

Why is this so important? It’s because every person experiences important moments in their lives, but there is one that stands out above all others: it’s the moment you change from someone drifting through life to someone with real purpose.

‘Success for one person could be at opposite ends of the scale for the next’

Step #3 Set goals of what you want to achieve

Where focus goes, energy flows.  As human beings, we have an abundance of latent potential just waiting to be unlocked.

Focused goals are the magic key to unlocking the door to the source of power: all your resources, including your mindset, physiology and whole being, hotwired to the attainment of your biggest, boldest dreams and goals. Goals breed focus.

Goals are the enabler for personal growth. They take you outside your comfort zone. I challenge you to set goals that make you feel ‘comfortably uncomfortable’, stretching the boundaries of your own possibilities and allowing you to become the best you can be.

It’s easy to drift in life and sleepwalk through your days. If you don’t act on life, life has a habit of acting on you. With goals fixed, you dictate the pace, the cadence and the rhythm.

Whether it’s billionaires, entrepreneurs, captains of industry, elite athletes or anyone else at the top of their game, one of the primary traits of great people is that they are action oriented.

They just make stuff happen. Their days are consumed with thinking about their biggest, boldest goals, and a relentless drive to take daily actions that turn them into reality.


The very act of articulating your goals on a crisp white piece of paper causes you to step into a whole new world of possibility for what your life can become.

  • Setting your goals is a statement that you refuse to be ordinary.
  • Setting your goals is a bold play for your best life.
  • Setting your goals is an act of heroism because you are reaching for the potential sitting inside you.

The key guiding principle to goal setting is aptly captured in this expression, ‘Don’t think of your goals … think from your goals’.

Have a clear picture of what your life looks like, feels like and acts like at a defined future moment in time.

And with that new level of focus and belief, return to your current reality with a detailed plan for precisely how you’re going to bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want it to be. That’s thinking from your goals, not of your goals.

Step #4 Apply the ‘Performance Zone’ and ‘Recovery Zone’ to your working day

The performance zone is when you’re ‘on it’, doing your thing, being the best version of you. But before entering the performance zone a warm up is critical. Take for example running, before you start your 10K run, you complete a 5 minute walk to get the blood flowing and the heart pumping.

Before you enter your performance zone for the day – the office, the laptop, the mobile – start your warm up; think what is worthy of your time for that day, stop and reflect the trade-offs you are going to have to make in order to get things done and accept those decisions, write down your success list for that particular day.

Having set yourself up for success, you can transition into your performance zone being and feeling in control of your day and what you need and want to achieve.

Yes, things will fly at you from left field, but before you dive in firefighting, take ‘time out’ to apply your warm up techniques so you can re-set your day with these new demands in mind.


The recovery zone is often the zone we miss. This zone is where you transition from your performance zone – work – into your personal life.

This is where you come down from the high or low of the day, reflect on what’s gone well or not gone well and question what you have learnt new today that will help you be better tomorrow.

The recovery zone is where you decompress and close down the day so you can shut the door and tune into your personal life; family, hobbies, outside activities and be present in the moment.

Often our challenge is that we put little time into the recovery zone which means we carry the day into our evening, never quite turning off and before we know it, it’s morning again!

Step #5 Block out ‘Quality Downtime’

Let me deal with an urban myth which says the more hours you work, the more you will get done. In reality, the more hours you work, the less productive you become.

Why? Because we all need time to calm our mental chatter, re-energise and re-charge ourselves for the days and challenges ahead. With 24/7 connectivity it’s even tougher to completely switch off.

When you’re not working and it’s your ‘downtime’ switch off phones, tablets and laptops. Seeing a flashing red light on your phone saying new email message is not going to help you switch off.

Your natural curiosity will want to see who it is from and what it is about. And guess what? Once you’ve had a look your mind is now switched into work world.  That means a shot of adrenaline, making it harder to wind back down again.

Step #6 Learn to say ‘NO’ to the unimportant things

Sometimes in life it’s about learning to say NO to the unimportant things, so you can say YES to the important, value adding things. Sounds obvious I know. But just remember every time you say ‘yes’ to something that is unimportant, you are saying ‘no’ to something that is important.

That’s your trade-off. You can’t be all things to all people. Know your priorities. Know your goals. Know what needs to get done over the coming weeks and months for you to feel that you have played your best game.

Question what is worthy of your time. In today’s fast paced world it’s so easy to lose focus, not just on a monthly or weekly basis, but on a daily basis.

Here are five simple questions you can ask yourself to keep you on track. I call them the Focused Five:

  • What do I need to stop doing? (Stop)
  • What do I need to do less of? (Minimise)
  • What do I need to keep doing? (Maintain)
  • What do I need to do more of? (More)
  • What do I need to start doing? (Start)

Step #6 Replace your ‘to do’ list

Instead call it your ‘success list’. See how changing the words from ‘to do list’ to ‘success list’, refocuses the mind on what’s important rather than just what’s got to be done. By making this simple change you’ll find you’re always working on your highest priority items.

Our ability to truly focus on the things that really make the difference can actually be the difference between hitting our goals and being massively off track.

Royston Guest

Royston Guest is a leading authority on growing businesses and unlocking people potential. Entrepreneur, author of #1 best-seller Built to Grow and new book, RISE: Start living the life you were meant to lead.

He is CEO of Pathways Global and founder of The Business Growth PathwayÔ and PTI Worldwide.

RISE book cover

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