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Confessions of a Part-Time Content Empire Builder

Hailey Dale


I’m Hailey – content strategist and founder here at Your Content Empire where we help you create more profitable, purposeful and productive content — and hopefully enjoy yourself more while doing it too. Learn more about me here >>

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Confessions of a Part-Time Content Empire Builder

Like most side-hustling entrepreneurs, it’s always been my plan to go full-time in my business. But the idea never really felt really possible or had a definite timeline associated with it (I know, I know, bad SMART goal setter!).

The truth is I was lazy. I had (wow) a good paying job with security, and even though I was working all the time, I was making it work. When I made my biz plans for 2017, leaving my job was not even on the horizon, but when February rolled around, I made a snap decision, crunched numbers for a few days and gave eight weeks notice.

Then on April 21, 2017, I packed up my last few pens and my kettle and kissed that place goodbye. There’s nothing I’m going to miss.

It took me 2.5 years, and there were definitely periods when I felt like calling it and quitting my business altogether. Read on for my confessions of building a content empire part-time.

It isn’t always pretty

I worked all the time

My last day off? August 22, 2016. The only reason I know this is because it was my wedding day and I may have still been answering emails and coordinating client projects.

I worked every weekend, every holiday, on sick days. I started at 5 am to get a few hours in before commuting and then again until bedtime. Lunch breaks meant client meetings or working through them, so I could leave early to get to other client meetings.

I definitely don’t wear this as a badge of honour, and I don’t think it was completely necessary to grow my business (I certainly wasn’t as productive as I could have been). But even though I wish I’d been more balanced with my work, you do have to be willing to work more than the 40 hours a week if you’re also working full-time.

My health suffered

Because I was sitting on my butt all the time and eating whatever was quickest, my health took a major hit. I’ve gained too much weight since starting my business. And I really wish I’d prioritised my health more than I have.

Looking back, I can see some easy things I could have done to move more, stress less and eat healthier, but hindsight’s 20/20. I can only hope that making an effort now that there’s room in my schedule will help and that there aren’t many negative effects that are permanent. We all get one body – it’s time that I act like it.

I didn’t feel like a ‘real’ business owner

There were times when I didn’t feel like I qualified as a ‘real’ business owner because I had the security of my day job.

Once I went to a local business meetup, and as soon I mentioned that I also had a full-time job, I felt a bit dismissed even though by most traditional metrics my business was one of the more successful ones there.

And another time, I was part of a disastrous collaboration and repeatedly had my level of commitment challenged. Despite being upfront and transparent about how much time I could put in, I felt judged and emotionally manipulated at every turn for having a full-time job.

These things happen.

I wish I’d grown a thicker skin earlier because it takes some emotional toughness and maturity to handle having a foot in both worlds – the business and corporate realms. Also, shitty people exist, but I still believe there are more of the heart-centered and authentic ones out there. So choose wisely about who you invest your time into!

There were some major plusses

I never had to compromise

I see a lot of business owners stressed out about not getting enough clients, selling enough spots in their programs that they’re willing to try anything and everything. Including – working with the wrong people, adding on services that they really don’t enjoy and slashing their prices.

The good thing about having a job while you grow your business is that you’ll feel a lot less pressure to do any of that.

If you don’t get enough new clients every month, oh well, you still have your paycheque.

You’re able to spend time on your business foundations and be intentional about growing the business you want instead of one that just works for the moment.

Time constraints made me more productive

Another benefit of having less time to get things done is that you get more done in less time.

When I have something on my list, like write a blog post, it can take all day to write it. But when I have a 2-hour window to get that blog post done, it always gets done.

So even now that I’m full-time, time limits are still the name of game for me.

Lots of financial wiggle room for reinvesting

I could reinvest aggressively which made me grow faster than I probably would have

Instead of relying on my business to support me, I was able to reinvest every penny I made back into the business for the first two years.

If I hadn’t had this freedom, I would have been scared to invest in anything!

Why I made the decision to go full-time

I worked on my money mindset

This sounds a bit woo-woo, but it’s true. Over the past couple of years, I’ve done a ton of work on my money and success mindset. From all the books to courses I’ve gone through, the Lucky Bitch Bootcamp by Denise Duffield-Thomas is the best.

The key for me was getting clear about what my first class life looked like. And I realised it was more about owning my own time, having the complete freedom to pursue projects that I felt passionate about and the ability to work from anywhere than about accumulating a pile of material things.

Being able to do whatever I wanted instead of dragging myself to a job I didn’t enjoy anymore became a symbol of ultimate luxury for me.

My job started being a barrier to growth

At some point, my job started to get in the way of growing my business. I’d hired people and signed up for expensive tools to help me run it so I could keep doing both. But at a certain point, I questioned how far I’d go to keep juggling or whether it was time to just make a choice.

The choice was made when I almost turned down a slew of exciting opportunities because of the time factor. The Universe was sending me signs, I just had to wake up and pay attention.

I read a certain book

I was part of a Secret Santa exchange and received a book that had been recommended to me again and again in the past. I took it as a sign and got the audiobook to listen to during my commute.

Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead was a total game changer.

From breaking up with praise, to understanding where my experience with fears came from, to setting gift goals – as soon as I read it, I know it was time to give my notice.

Why I wrote this post

I felt I needed to write this post for a few reasons. First, I wanted to mark the occasion. This is a big change in my business and life, and I’ve resolved to be more open with what’s really going on in my business – the good, the bad and ugly. I completely shocked my mastermind buddies when they found out I had a job which let me know I hadn’t done a great job of being completely open about it.

Second, if anyone reading this is also double-dutying – you’re not alone, and I commend you for rocking both a job and your biz at the same. It’s not easy, but it’s possible (for awhile at least!)

Are you growing your business part-time? Or did you when you first started?

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