A Peek Inside the Real Life Routines of Successful Entrepreneurs and Side Hustlers

daily schedule for online business owners
 

When I first started my business, I felt like there was never enough time in the day.

I worked full time in a demanding job, I struggled to fit my business tasks and client meetings in around my work and family responsibilities, and self care? Forget it.

When I made the transition to running my business full time, all of a sudden, I had all the time in the world, but actually getting things done was even more of a mystery than scheduling around my day job! I’d sit down at my desk, coffee in hand, and think, What am I supposed to be working on? And when? How should I structure my schedule? How do other people make this look so easy? Time blocking? Office hours? Only working when you feel inspired? Now that I’m free, what’s the most efficient way do this whole entrepreneur thing and still have a life?”

After tons of trial and error—and constantly pulling the Pele card from my Goddess oracle deck (her advice is to make an honest assessment of how you’re spending your time, oy vey!)—I finally found a system that works for me, but I’m big on helping clients find their own individual flow, so I wondered what other people did that worked for them. I was really curious, so I decided to embark on a bit of a research project, and in this article, I’m going to share my findings with you.

I interviewed 12 real life, successful lady entrepreneurs and side hustlers to hear how they organize their days for efficiency, productivity, and the ability to have a life outside the hustle. Here’s what they had to say.


Trina Patel of Cash Bar

women's leadership coach

What is your business/side hustle and what does it do?

Personal Finance Coaching for millennial women.

What was your transition to full-time entrepreneurship like?

It was difficult at first! I was so used to being at work for set hours during the day that having a flexible schedule sometimes made it hard to stay consistent and disciplined. But it was also nice to learn my workflow routine so I could optimize my time. 

What’s your daily routine like?

I plan out my week the before the week starts and leave a little flexible time as things come up. I like to start my mornings off with a workout and then use the first half of the morning to check through emails and respond to other requests. I can usually do this at home. When I need to do work that requires a block of my time, I will go to a coffee shop and work on those things (usually client work or writing content). In the evenings, I usually have client meetings or networking events.

What self-care advice can you give new or aspiring entrepreneurs?

Always make it a priority and block out time for self care. For me, scheduling exercise classes works well because I get penalized if I have to cancel it last minute. 

Find her inspiring and empowering work at @cashbarco and www.cashbarco.com


Stephanie McKenna of Bowerbird Atelier

women's leadership coach

What is your business/side hustle and what does it do?

Bowerbird Atelier is a custom stationery studio specializing in weddings and events. I'm passionate about helping committed couples curate a visual language that perfectly represents their unique love, so that they can share it loudly and proudly with their community.

What was your transition to full-time entrepreneurship like?

When I quit my full-time job in 2014 I was terrified of making the leap to freelance work. Luckily, I have an amazing Mom who basically offered to support me if there was ever a time that I couldn't pay rent, and that gave me the confidence to go it alone. (Luckily, I have never had to take her up on that offer!) I started with freelancing on Graphic Design projects (I had been consistently working with clients on the side throughout my full-time job, so it was easy to ramp it up). I also got a part time job with a florist, freelancing for wedding, which was a great way to get some extra cash, spend some of my time off of the computer, and gain more contacts in the wedding industry.

What’s your daily routine like?

My husband is a bartender, so as much as I like the idea of arriving at my desk bright and early, I usually spend the mornings with him. I set my to-do list the day before, so once I get to my desk I will check my email and answer anything quick to deal with, and then add any additional to-do's to my calendar.

Ideally, I start on the hardest/most creatively draining project first but often those seem daunting to jump into because they can take hours to complete, so I'll warm up with a few easy tasks to feel super accomplished early on and clear up my to-do list to leave the afternoon for that one big juicy thing.

I also like to prioritize things that I owe to people, so I can get those off my plate. Being ahead of client deadlines frees up my head space for my own personal projects and promotional or marketing work - the stuff that is really important to keep my business afloat.

I make sure to track my time throughout the day, and log my hours every time I finish a task. I've found that being able to look back on how long certain things tend to take is the best information for putting together future project proposals so I can make sure I'm not undercharging for my time. It's also helpful during those weeks when I feel super unproductive - because I can look back and realize I've done a ton, and it gives me permission to take a break and be easier on myself.

What self-care advice can you give new or aspiring entrepreneurs?

Only work during set hours, and put those hours in your email signature!

Find her at @fleurot.deck for her new tarot deck (that’s quickly become a personal favorite of mine) and her site.



Safiya Bouhouch of Beldi Collective

women's leadership coach

What is your business/side hustle and what does it do?

Beldi Collective is a socially conscious leather goods business that supports artisans in Morocco and gives back to causes.

How do you balance the demands of your day job with your business?

By giving myself grace and building my business slowly to avoid burnout.

What’s your daily routine like?

Going to work, coming back home and going to yoga, responding to business emails and working on my company…sometimes going to networking events and then getting enough sleep to stay focused the next day!

What self-care advice can you give new or aspiring entrepreneurs?

Consider self care an important part of keeping your business running! If you don’t take care of yourself, your creativity suffers your business won’t be able to thrive.

Find her at @beldi.co and www.beldicollective.com


Sarah Webb of Plaid for Women

What is your business/side hustle and what does it do?

Plaid for Women is a media company for women where we unconditionally support each other. #NoMeanGirls

How do you balance the demands of your day job with your business?

I set strict times in which I am on my day job and on my side hustle.  Because my side hustle is a passion project, I try to spend no more than 2 hours a day doing that and put my day job first.

women's leadership coach

What’s your daily routine like?

5-6 workout

6-8:30 morning routine, get kids to school

8:30 - 11:30 Day job

11:30 - 1:00 Business development/lunch

1:00- 2:00 Plaid for Women

2:00 - 4:00 Day job

4:00- 8:00 Family Time

8:00 - 9:00 Plaid for Women and then go to bed early

What self-care advice can you give new or aspiring entrepreneurs?

I always make myself take one full day off per week with no computer. 

Find her at @PlaidforWomen and join her #nomeangirls campaign here.


Nicole Gulotta of Wild Words

women's leadership coach

What is your business/side hustle and what does it do?

Wild Words is a nurturing community for writers. We focus on making space to create, caring for our minds, bodies, and spirits, and embracing the season we're in.

How do you balance the demands of your day job with your business?

I've learned to drastically shift my expectations. Occasionally I'll brainstorm everything I want to do—all my big dreams, ideas for courses, blog posts, books—and then sit with it. I look at my life, my schedule, where I want to be, what I can manage, and decide on the most essential project to focus on at a time. I'm also really generous with myself in terms of energy levels. If I've had a long day at work and was planning to come home and write, I'll take a bath or go to a yoga class instead. The body always comes first.

What’s your daily routine like?

My weekdays are pretty predictable—preschool drop-off, work, preschool pick-up, dinner, etc. I try to go to yoga in the evenings a couple of times per week, and if I'm feeling up for it, work on some of my creative writing after my son goes to bed. 

What self-care advice can you give new or aspiring entrepreneurs?

Nothing I'm able to do can happen without prioritizing my health. I've learned this lesson the hard way, which is why I'm willing to choose body over business every time. It's easy to think meditating, exercising, or other self-care practices are taking you away from projects and stealing time, but it's actually providing more clarity, more space, and more peace to do your work.

Read about her amazing community at www.thewildwords.com, and join her private Facebook group here.


Nikki Bonsol, Singer and Songwriter

start a business

What is your business/side hustle and what does it do?

I’m a musical artist.

What’s your daily routine like?

I don't have much of a routine since every day is very different and my schedule shifts to match my top priorities for the week. The most consistent thing: I try to start every morning with my morning practice. Light a candle. Yoga with Adriene. Journaling. Musical improvisation.

What’s one shift you’d like to make in your routines?

I'd like to be better about taking breaks! Working for only an hour at a time, then taking a REAL 15-minute break. I do that sporadically and those days feel awesome.

What self-care advice can you give new or aspiring entrepreneurs?

I'm really into thinking about "creative health" lately, those practices I need to have in place to feel like I can write from a connected and honest place. I'm finding that Creative Health incorporates bits of Spiritual, Mental, and Physical Health... Since my art is what fuels me AND what feeds me (makes money), self-care and taking care of my health holistically is non-negotiable. My advice in a nutshell: establish habits that are healthy for YOU early so you can keep creating. And you don't have to stick to them perfectly. (Because perfectionism will stress you out more. Don't need that!)

Find her here, where you can listen to her new demo-it was just featured in Danielle LaPorte’s Letters for Renewal campaign!



Britt Buntain of RoseWater

What is your business/side hustle and what does it do?

My business is a design and organizational asset resource for female entrepreneurs.  Business-focused printables, all-bases-covered checklists and how-to's, and beautifully designed templates for courses, opt-ins, and more.  I also help people with branding and websites.

women's leadership coach

How do you balance the demands of your day job with your business?

This took a while to figure out. To me, there is no "perfect balance" and the work is to just get as close as you can without burning yourself out.  So, if you only post on Instagram one day because your family and day job demanded a little more of your time, don't feel guilty about it. Next week, your job could require a little less and you'll be that much more excited about putting energy into your side gig.  I know it can feel like you're slacking but you also have to trust the healthy, organic growth of your side business when its founder isn't bitter and burnt out.  Do your best. It's enough.

What’s your daily routine like?

Coffee with my husband, half hour commute to work where I listen to business books and podcasts, day job, sometimes working on my side gig at lunch and sometimes not because I just want to watch an episode of Bachelor in Paradise. Then I commute home listening to podcasts, get home and stretch or work out and determine if it's a good night to work on my side gig or not.  If it's a good night, I'll work as long as I'm excited and my body isn't aching from sitting.  If it's not a good night and it feels like it's draining me, I have a glass of wine and recharge for the next day. It took years to realize this was okay! It still takes conscious practice.

What self-care advice can you give new or aspiring entrepreneurs?

STOP feeling guilty. Make it a priority and don't feel like you need to dive in for an hour of "self-care" right off the bat. If you want to sit with a glass of wine and read a magazine for 15 minutes to start, that's fine.  You make the rules.

You can find her simplified branding guide @itsrosewater on Facebook.


Shelly Armenta, Freelance Writer

What is your business/side hustle and what does it do?

Writer, copy writer, editor, freelance marketing consultant.

How do you balance the demands of your day job with your business?

First, community: It takes a village, girl! Then, routine, routine, routine! It’s a necessary part of my day and life, and I’ve developed time management tricks and tools that help me stay on track. I also battle depression and PTSD which definitely makes everything in my day to day life complicated. But with the right tools, it’s possible to balance both. 

start a business

What’s your daily routine like?

5am- wake up to do devotions and write for at least 15 minutes 

5:30- I take my dogs out on a walk and grab espresso

6- Shower and getting ready for me

6:45:- wake up my kids. They have a morning routine that allows me to delegate responsibilities like feeding the dogs, picking up after themselves and even making breakfast and packing their lunches. 

7:30- I’m on my way to work 

7:45- I check my calendar and my to do list that I prepared the night before and grab more coffee

8-12: Work, work, work

12-1: Lunchtime. I spend the hour writing and or editing current projects. 

1-5: Hustling like Rihanna again

5-5:30: Commute home. I use my car audio to listen to podcasts or call friends and clients back

5:30-9: All of the mom duties + an hour of family quiet time that we use for reading or writing

9-11: If my husband isn’t working the night shift, we spend the time together. If he’s at work, I use it to write, catch up on social media, and plan things out

What self-care advice can you give new or aspiring entrepreneurs?

Establish a routine that works for you! Sometimes it’s helpful to mimic someone else’s routine as a starting point. Take what works and leave out the rest. Personalize it for you and what your responsibilities look like. 

You can find her @thebookishbelle on Instagram.


Ana Krish of Sunyata

women's leadership coach

What is your business/side hustle and what does it do?

Sunyata - We are a holistic self care platform. We're currently building an app to help people implement self care rituals into their schedules seamlessly and effectively.

How do you balance the demands of your day job with your business?

I'm still trying to find the perfect harmony and avoid bingeing on work during the weekends. "Theme-ing" has been the best way so far: I now organize tasks/project types with colors on my Trello and then tackle each color in blocks of time or different days. For example, Saturday morning is purple (Personal). Thursday evening is yellow (app user research). This reduces the time I spend frantically switching between tasks and increases my time spent in a flow state. 

What’s your daily routine like?

Gratitude/Pray > Get ready for work > Breakfast & Coffee  > Commute > Day Job >  Gym on my lunch break > Day Job > Errands or Socializing or Gym round two > Decompress and Dinner > Work on Sunyata > Shower/body care > Prepare for next day (or play on social media!) > Sleep 

What self-care advice can you give new or aspiring entrepreneurs?

Stay tuned for my app! Self care recharges your battery so you can keep doing what you love. Ideally it's less of a "should" on your calendar and more of "yay! I get to..." You don't have to run miles or journal if that's not YOUR thing. Give yourself little things to look forward to and create positive associations. Tactically: make it official! I always keep a monthly massage on my calendar. It's my favorite "meeting." Harmony over hustle! 

Stay in touch with her @sunyata.io on Instagram to be in the know when her self care app launches!


Micky Vranic of Uggly Mugg Creative

start a business

What is your business/side hustle and what does it do?

Virtual Assistance for service-based small businesses and not-for-profits with soul. 

What was your transition to full-time entrepreneurship like?

It was slow and steady over the course of a year. I took on other flexible jobs: grocery store demos and things like that while I built my client roster.

What’s your daily routine like?

I work 4 days a week and take Fridays off. I generally begin my day at 9am with a quick call to my team, and review a game plan for the day. I assign any tasks, review my goals, and jump into my inbox. Then I begin working through client projects one by one.  I am generally done by 4 or 5pm each day, with an hour for lunch at 12 or 12:30.  My morning routine starts early - 6am - and involves movement, walking the dog, and an hour of writing.

What’s one shift you’d like to make in your routines?

I'd love to commit to 3 longer work days, in order to have both Monday and Friday free + one day a month totally devoted to business management.

Find her @ugglymuggcreativeco to watch her newest videos and on her blog.



Ashley Ayala of Sister House Collective

start a business

What is your business/side hustle and what does it do?

Sister House Collective is an ethical boutique turned media platform focusing on conscious living for the average woman.

What was your transition to full-time entrepreneurship like?

Before I became pregnant, I had JUST become a full-time entrepreneur and it was empowering and terrifying all at the same time. Motherhood was definitely a game-changer for me. I closed my store and completely restructured my business to accommodate my new lifestyle as a mother first, everything else second. I wanted to be present and joyful in these young years of my daughter's life, so for me, it was cutting my working hours down drastically. I hire help when I need it. Cutting my hours in half wasn't ideal for growing my businesses, but it was ideal for my sanity and the wellbeing of our my family, and that comes first!

What’s your daily routine like?

My working days are packed at the moment. I work about 20 designated hours a week, plus when I have more collaborations or coaching, I will work when my daughter is napping or after she goes to bed, plus the periodical Instagram posting while we're out and about. My routine is different for each of my 3 working days, but I usually stack meetings one day and work on social media, book keeping, website maintenance, and blogging the other 2 days.

What self-care advice can you give new or aspiring entrepreneurs?

You have to schedule it into your day. At the beginning, the end, the middle- wherever it's appropriate. Put it on the calendar and honor it just like it's a commitment you've made to anyone else. We have to show up for ourselves. We are worth it!

Follow her @sisterhousecollective on Instagram for all things ethical fashion.


Llyane Stanfield of J'Ouellette

What is your business/side hustle and what does it do?

I work with jet-setting business professionals who are wrestling with learning French on their own so they can speak Parisian French CONFIDENTLY in their travels and in business.

What was your transition to full-time entrepreneurship like?

start a business

After having full time jobs and building my business part time, I tested one it one summer to see if my business would sustain itself. It worked! I only have part time jobs every so often.

What’s your daily routine like?

I have a very strict routine:

- 3 days/week I take clients

- 3 days/week I work on marketing, scheduling social media, and reaching out to prospects and possible partners

Every day I have a daily routine with reminders from Google Calendar to my content and create traffic to my website.

What self-care advice can you give new or aspiring entrepreneurs?

Schedule clients only a fixed number of days in the week. Have one or two days to manage the engine of your business. Specialize these days, don't mix and match - it's way more productive. Have at least one day away from the business. Religiously.

Take her free crash course here and speak French confidently.


Now that you’ve heard from these incredible entrepreneurs, which tip do you want to implement right away? Leave a comment to let us know. Plus, don’t forget to download your FREE creative business plan template and tutorial!

 
 
 

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daily schedule for online business owners
daily schedule for online business owners
daily schedule for online business owners
daily schedule for online business owners