Maybe you’ve always dreamt about starting a business but just weren’t able to take the risk of leaving your full-time income behind. Maybe you believe starting a business requires a large amount of capital and risk. If so, what you may not realize is that it’s possible to start a business while still employed, and often with very little money.
You can create a business, even while you have a day job. It takes some planning and preparation, but it’s definitely possible.
Over the years, I’ve had many businesses on the side while I was still working. I’ve done coaching, online sales, website design, direct sales, consulting, event planning, and more. All while having the security of a full-time job. Building and creating businesses has always been an interest for me. It’s what I do for fun, as well as for profit.
Admittedly, working on the side isn’t possible at every job. Some executive positions have an employment agreement that prohibits moonlighting, or maybe the job just consumes every ounce of your energy. But for the most part, starting a business while you are still working can be a great learning experience. Not to mention, a potential source of new revenue for your family.
If you are considering becoming an entrepreneur while maintaining your full-time job, here are 7 Things to Consider:
1. Know Your Company’s Policies: Make sure you know and understand your company’s policies about moonlighting. If there are specific policies against running a side business, you may want to limit your activities to the planning phase. You should also review your company’s non-disclosure and non-compete agreements to ensure you are not in violation. If you have any questions, you should also consult with an attorney.
2. Treat Your Business Like a Business: That means creating specific goals, plans, and a timeline. Without these things, your business may only be an expensive hobby. If you take your business seriously, others will too.
3. Keep Your Finances Separate From the Beginning: To receive the tax benefits of owning a business, you’ll want to keep your business and personal finances separate. That means setting up a business bank account, tracking your expenses, and keeping your receipts.
4. Generate Income: If you have the green light to start your business, begin to generate income as soon as possible. This will increase your confidence and demonstrate the validity of your business model. Plus, it will help cover some of the start-up and maintenance expenses.
5. Keep Your Business Activities Separate from Your Full-Time Job: The more you can keep your job and your new business separate the better. That might mean limiting your work to evenings and weekends, but you’ll be building a business with integrity. Not to mention, you’ll avoid potential conflicts with your current employer.
6. Test Your Business Concept: Trying your business concept with potential and actual customers is a great way to see if your model will work. You could also create surveys for your ideal customers to see if your solution would meet their needs, and if they would be willing to pay for it.
7. Manage Your Time: As always, good time management skills are necessary for success. Here are some specific tips:
- Block out time on your calendar to work on your business and stick to it; even just one action or as little as 20 minutes per day of focused attention on your business can keep forward momentum
- Create a clear vision and a realistic plan and timeline for your business
- Limit additional commitments that aren’t aligned with your business plan when possible, such as extra work shifts or taking on additional carpool duties
- Make time for self-care and important relationships to prevent burnout
Now It’s Your Turn
What are some of the things you are considering about starting a business? What has worked and what hasn’t? Share your thoughts in the comments below.