Putting off your dream business because you are already in steady employment can be one of the worst decisions you could ever make in your life. You will never know what you could do unless you try. Below are a few tips to help you make moves in the right direction.
There will never be a perfect time to quit your day job but minimizing your risks and being passionate about your project are very important to your success. My grandfather who barely spoke English told me this...There are 3 8-hour workdays in 24 hours...pick which two you want to work and you will be successful.
Contributors: Gene Caballero from GreenPal
Hold off on going on a hiring spree, dive into your work and know your business inside and out before you bring on employees. We were a two man show for years, literally. Finally when we started to add to our team, it was and is still a slow process. We guard our company with everything we have, so we are thorough with hiring the right person for our company. Also, don't take loans out and quit your job....do what you can with what you've got. Be smart with your money, and be smarter with your time. Both of those things are crucial to a new business, so focus on maximizing the usage of both.
Contributors: Bryn Butolph from Eat Clean Meal Prep
Find someone who is in the same boat or someone who can hold you accountable to your goals and meet with them every week to discuss your goals and accomplishments. This is the fastest way to get the tedious work of starting a business out of the way, because an accountability partner shouldn't let you get away with not reaching your goals every week. You won't procrastinate if you're accountable to someone.
Contributors: Sarah Moe from Flauk
If your strength is not in web design don't struggle and try to learn; many people give up when they can't figure out some aspect of business. Rather than give up, delegate. Find a team or hire a freelancer to do the tasks you don't want to or don't know how to do.
Contributors: Sarah Moe from Flauk
Many employment contracts either forbid you from working on something on the side and/or your employer can claim ownership of anything you make while working for them (sometimes even off company time). However, just because your employment contract includes these clauses, doesn't necessarily mean the end of your entrepreneurial dreams. The best advice is to change your employment contract to allow you to work on something on the side. The alternative is to not let the company know, but this is obviously is not recommended, especially if your business is very similar to your employer.
Contributors: Ian Wright from British Business Energy
Wake up one hour earlier and stay up thirty minutes later. In the thirty minutes before bed, write the to-do list for the following day, and wake up that hour early to do it. You will have the rest of your life to catch up on sleep.
Contributors: Sara Axelbaum from Litty Bird
I have found that people aren’t always prepared with the knowledge they need to succeed. They don’t know what they need to know. So many failures happen in the first year because of this. They have a great idea, feel there is a market for the product or service but end up failing because they needed to have more things in place than they knew they needed. Get the information and preparation to start your business right or you will flame out before you can succeed.
Contributors: Boyd Petersen from BP Media
Your lunch break, evenings, weekends, or any other time you have when you're not on the clock at your day job is time you should be using to help build your own business. "I don't have time" isn't an excuse; you have plenty of time, but you're using it wrong. Get up an hour earlier, stay up an hour later, whatever it takes!
Contributors: T. Logan Metesh from High Caliber History LLC
I started my marketing agency 5 years ago after working at an agency for 8 years. I thought it would be difficult, but it was easier than I thought once I started utilizing my network. The best place to start is Linkedin, where you can export your contact list, then start sending emails and contacting people in a more precise way. I made a list of the friends, partners, agencies, past clients and started contacting them. My story was simple, I would be doing similar work with my new company, but with a different focus and much more attention given to clients on a personal level. The response was wonderful, I had several people refer me to friends, and I had a few contacts ask for proposals for digital marketing. Within 3 months, I had to quit my job in order to keep up with all of the new projects! Looking back on that strategy, it is something that anyone can implement in their career change from being an employee to a business owner. It’s a different mindset, be ready for struggle and excitement and take time to give back to the community that helped you.
Contributors: Scott Fish from 32 degrees digital
Starting any business on the side is incredibly resource intensive -- not just financially, but your time. In other words, if you're not a designer, don't spend days piecing together your logo. Find the best expert you can afford, and pay them so you don't have to waste your time.
Contributors: Aytekin Tank from JotForm
I had a great boss when I started my business. She allowed me days off when I needed (unlaid) and she allowed me to slowly cut down my working hours. From 5 days a week to 4, then 3, then 2. I tried going down to 1 day bit she rightfully told me to take the plunge.
Contributors: George Fairbairn from George Fairbairn Photography
Consider joining an industry specific shared-work space such as a kitchen incubator, church kitchen, or even partnering with a restaurant and using their kitchen on off-hours—which often coincide with the “on-hours” of startup founders who are simultaneously working a full-time job. Incubators and shared-work spaces act as a proxy to capital in early years when growth is risky, and provide micro-enterprises to prove their concept before breaking ground and to reserve operating capital for high-priority expenses such as research and development, trademarking, personnel acquisition, marketing and branding. According to research conducted by the National Business Incubation Association, it is estimated that 87% of businesses that graduate from established incubator programs are still in business within five years, versus 50% of those that have not had this support.
Contributors: Josephine Caminos Oria from La Dorita Cooks Kitchen Incubator
Being transparent with your employer as soon as you can will also help everyone. In my situation, I was clear with them from day one when I picked up my first client. I kept an open line of communication as to how quickly or slowly I’d need to progress with my outside business. That way they were able to find my replacement and I was able to spend 4 weeks with her training and reviewing the job duties. That was incredibly helpful to my replacement, my employer, and to me knowing everyone was in good hands.
Talk your plans through with your family and make sure they’re aware all of the extra work you’ll be doing and the extra stress you’re going to be under, but also why you’re doing it and how it will help them. You’re going to be working a lot of extra hours during unsociable times, and having your family on your side could make-or-break your new business plans. When I first opened my own e-store I was spending 6 or so hours each night working on the website, on top of the 9 hours I was working my day job, not to mention the weekends. This meant a lot of missed time spent with the family. Luckily, they were on-board and supportive but even so, spending so much extra time at work still caused some friction. Rest assured however, things do eventually calm down and if you scale and delegate correctly you can soon get back to a healthy work/life balance and you’ll all be far better off for it.
Contributors: Nathan Wilde from Easymerchant Limited
When you are at your day job, do not be sneaky and work on your side business. Stay present and continue to work just as hard as you would if you did not have a little something extra in the works. Digging into company time is risky business that can lead to you getting fired and earning a terrible reputation. You might need to keep your position for years before your business takes off and becomes profitable enough to sustain your lifestyle.
Contributors: Holly Cromer from Holly Cromer Photography
The best tips I can give to starting a business while still employed is to use your time wisely. It is critical to plan ahead and strategize and to be organized. Plan your day and set realistic goals for yourself and your new business. Do not let your new business get in the way of your full time job, as you do not want to lose your revenue stream while you are growing your business. When time permits - lunch, breaks, before & after work, get down to business. Know what you plan to do and then get to it. Do not wait until your time is free to think about what is next. Make sure you keep a short list of items for today and then a longer, more strategic list of items to work toward. Keep cleansing and prioritizing the list so as not to keep moving forward. Do not set huge daily goals or you will feel unaccomplished. Instead, set realistic goals and work toward them steadily. Because you cannot work on your business full time, be realistic and calm.
Contributors: Deborah Sweeney from MyCorporation
When I started my aerial photography business, I started small. I spent time on the weekends and after work doing my research on clients, reaching out to them and getting my photos taken, processed and delivered. As I got busier, I slowly took off days at my full-time job so I could do my aerial photo work. It started as the occasional day off once a week, to one day a week off, to two days a week off, and after that, I decided to go full-time. There were bumps along the way and valuable lessons learned. I am glad I had the financial security of my full-time job when I started my own business.
Contributors: Mark Holtzman from West Coast Aerial Photography, Inc.
Working two jobs means you now have two different personas. Who are you, and what do you do, become more complicated questions. If your own business is who you want to be, then start defining yourself by your new business and not your other job. As you start defining yourself by your own business, it’ll gain more traction in your own mind, other people’s minds, and help lead your towards greater success and less internal incongruence.
Contributors: Benjamin Ritter from Live for Yourself Consulting
Traditionally, launching a business took time and money--often a lot of it. The time part of this formula can be challenging for want-to-be entrepreneurs who are working full time. The money? That's a challenge for many people. One way to circumvent both the time and money obstacles to entrepreneurship is to turn to marketplaces that help you quickly launch your business on their platforms. Some of these platforms build websites for you, train you in sales and marketing, make insurance and marketing collateral available to you, and drive business to your website. You often set your own prices and select the products or services you provide. The platform takes a cut of your revenue, but for many, this is a win-win situation--and it's a fast pathway to entrepreneurship! Some platforms can have you up and running your own business, with customers, in a matter of days. Can you work full-time and be a side hustle entrepreneur? Yes, in fact, that's why they call it a side hustle. It's not your full-time gig. At least, not for now.
Contributors: Trish McDermott from BabyQuip
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