Why, How, My Daily Routine…And Did It Work Out?
I quit my cushy 6-figure corporate job to continue building an online business.
Many told me I was crazy, others cheered me on but surprisingly, the majority simply wanted to know how I created the option to leave my job.
Frequently asked questions included:
- How long did it take you to build the business?
- How can I build a similar business and quit my corporate job?
- What does it take to build an online business?
Today, I’ll share my very real daily routine that enabled me to build a business while working a gruelling and demanding job.
Let’s start with some context.
It wasn’t that I disliked my corporate job, actually, I loved it. I was working as a Senior Digital Marketing Manager helping consult clients and lead their digital marketing campaigns.
I was working with and learning directly from Google, Facebook, Bing and Instagram to name a few. I loved my bosses and colleagues. I was excelling and delivering client results. It was a blast!
So then it begs the question; why did I even leave my job?
Yeah sure it paid decently and I was enjoying it, but I wanted and needed to continue challenging myself.
I wanted autonomy, to build something with my bare hands and to know I’m waking up and taking more risks than I would in a month working 9–5.
Over the years, I’ve built online businesses before and after my usual work hours. Most failed. Some have stuck. But boy was it a grind!
Here’s what it looked like, starting with my morning routine.
6AM: Wake Up & Morning Routine
Most mornings I wake up at 6AM so I’m able to fit in tasks and activities before spending most the day working for someone else.
The absolute first thing I do when I wake up all drowsy, is make my bed.
I make a point of this because other than being a little OCD, it’s something checked off the list immediately.
As William McRaven says:
If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.
Next, I fit in a quick 20 push-ups and this helps wake me up and gets the blood flowing.
Now, I’ve already completed 2 tasks within 5 minutes of waking up.
6:15AM: Journal Affirmations & Meditation
I use the Five-Minute Journal to efficiently jot down the 3 things I’m grateful for today, 3 things that would make today great and a daily affirmation to wrap it all up.
Starting the day with gratitude has been such a positive change. It reminds me of what IS important and humbles myself every single morning.
To seal the affirmations and positive thoughts, I spend just 10–20 minutes to meditate.
I then of course, either drink a cup of coffee or matcha green tea.
6:30AM: Work On My Own Online Business
I’m still in my PJs and I spend roughly an hour or so on my business. I always dedicate this time to work purely on my business, otherwise there’s just not enough time in the day to get things done!
I run an eCommerce and consulting business. I share loads of tutorials and lessons on how to build an eCommerce store and take advantage of digital marketing on my YouTube Channel.
Within the hour, I am typically managing high-level tasks that don’t require long work blocks such as:
- Emails & Creative Strategy
- Optimizing Paid Ads & Ecommerce Store
- Coaching & Consulting Clients/Students
7:30AM: Get Ready & Head Into Work
Honestly, it’s hard to peel me off the chair to head into work. I’m so in the flow and having a blast working on my business, but it’s time to head into the *second* office.
I take the travel time to take a breather by reading a book or just catching up with loved ones.
8:30AM: Breakfast, Emails & Day Planning
Working for a digital marketing agency has its perks, for one, we get free breakfast. So you know I’m taking advantage of a good bowl of oats and fruit.
I spend a couple minutes saying hi to everyone and then when the noise-cancelling headphones go on, it’s go time.
My role is quite demanding and we often juggle various large digital marketing campaigns. Being organized is vital.
The first 30 minutes is spent going through emails that came through overnight, checking the calendar for meetings and creating a prioritized to-do list.
10AM: Meetings, meetings & meetings!
Naturally as part of my role as a Senior Digital Marketing Manager, there are a LOT of meetings I have to attend to or head up. Both over the phone and face to face.
I try and schedule these so they’re out of the way in the morning. But for this particular day, I have meetings scattered throughout the day.
Once the initial meetings are out of the way in the morning, I’m back to my desk replying to more emails and working on client campaigns and projects. Basically, keeping clients happy by producing consistent results and a strong Return on Ad Spend!
12PM: Lunch & Gym
I’m not the biggest fan of eating lunch at the work desk (who is), but I do it so I can still manage to fit in a full gym session.
I find when I don’t go the gym during work days, it leaves me feeling quite itchy and fatigued.
Going to the gym really helps break up intense work days and leaves me feeling refreshed.
1PM: Back At Office, Working On Digital Campaigns
After lunch, this is my longest uninterrupted work block.
So, I’m usually working on large client campaigns, building out digital marketing strategies and ads etc. All the fun technical stuff.
Today though, I have a seminar and workshop to attend hosted at Facebook’s office so it’s a little more hectic than usual.
3PM: Facebook & Instagram Workshop
Another big perk working in digital marketing is teaming up with amazing companies such as Facebook and Instagram. I get to learn their first-to-market strategies and implement them into my own business!
So, we head over to their offices and they almost always have catering — free food, booze and networking!
Today, we’re getting insight into new ad features they’re releasing and how we as digital marketers can take advantage of it.
4:30PM: Back To The Office & Wrapping Up!
It’s been a long day so far, but there are still many loose ends to tie up. Client questions, requests and digital marketing campaigns to review and optimize.
At this particular agency I worked for, we work hard and play hard. So as 5PM rolls close, I was pulled away from work for an innocent game of Beer Pong, Mario Kart and other shenanigans. I can’t say no to a good team game and a drink or two.
There has been late nights had with this fun team, but, tonight I have to head home to…work some more. This time on my business.
If there’s one thing you need to do to build a business, it’s:
The amount of times I had to say no to social outings, to parties, to hang out with loved ones to instead hustle and grind it out on my business is not particularly normal for any 20-something.
But you know what’s funny? Though it was a sacrifice, I never felt like I was missing out nor regretting my decision.
I knew I was creating a brighter future and impacting others in a positive way. This in itself, was worth the sacrifice.
7PM: Shower, Cook, Hustle!
A shower to reset, some time to cook and eat and then straight back into the hustle.
At this point, I’m pretty exhausted not going to lie. But it’s these hours that define my success.
I’ll work up until midnight or even longer in I’m in ~flow state~
In contrast to the morning, I’m typically working on:
- Filming/editing Youtube videos for my audience
- Fulfilling eCommerce orders with my VAs
- Managing business fires, replying to emails
- Creative and strategic work
…Annnnd, it’s a wrap.
I get ready for bed and another full day similar to the one above.
As you can see, it can get gruelling. Stress, high workloads, minimal sleep,lots of time alone, sacrifices.
But nothing good ever comes easy nor should it.
Has It Worked Out?
Although I’m always striving to do and be more, the company I’ve built has now hit multi 6 digits.
It has changed a lot and with each new step comes new challenges to overcome.
But boy is it fun working on your own empire and crafting your own lifestyle. No more 6AM wake ups, no more red tape and no more nasty clients.
So has it worked out? It’s rewarding and I’m happy. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.
If you found the routine interesting, now see it all in action in the video below!
Interested in building your own eCommerce business from scratch? Join the free web class I’m hosting: https://www.andrewethanzeng.com/free-webclass/
More about me: https://andrewethanzeng.com/about/