Minimize risks and maximize the success of your start-up, all while keeping your full time job.
First of all, let me take my hat off to you: you want it all, and you want it now. Bravo!
Holding on to your 9 to 5 job as you build your start-up is not uncommon. It may actually be a good idea if you need financial stability or more capital to fund your business. Also, it’s a safe way to go, if you need more time to decide if you want to become an entrepreneur.
And this is OK! Entrepreneurs are not born, they are (self) made, and many of them had to keep other jobs as they were starting out.
But juggling a career and a business does have some risks: you may burn yourself out, get fired, or sink your start-up!
To help you avoid these risks, I sat down with a few entrepreneurs, and here’s what they advise:
Be ethical with your employer
First, check contractual stipulations to make sure there is no conflict of interest. Then, make it a motto out of giving 110% to your job while you are there. Working for your business on company time is not fair towards your employer, or safe for you. You risk losing your credibility as a professional, or your job and income.
Plan your time
Week days are a big no-no, but you still have to invest time on an ongoing basis, to grow your business. So carve time out of your weekends, mornings or evenings to make progress, and work off a specific plan. For example, I use my weekend mornings to write new content and plan my social media strategy. Then, I spend about one hour each evening to promote my website and do research.
Plan your finance
Use a sizable portion of your income as investment in your business, and reinvest all revenue it will generate. Although you may probably start small, it’s good spending to build a professional website, a small product inventory, business cards, an audience through Facebook and Google adds, and attend industry events. And this brings us to point 4:
Being exposed to like-minded individuals will build your entrepreneurial muscle and inspire you. However, this will not happen naturally around your office watercooler, so start being intentional: join networking events, use Saturdays to work from a co-working space, or join an association for entrepreneurs. Social media is also great: I met some awesome collaborators thousands of miles away through Instagram!
Run a real business
Even if you are a small, one-woman-show, project a professional image from the start: a polished website and impeccable customer service. Don’t cut corners when it comes to quality, if customers start associating you with bad service, it will take a lot of time, effort and money to change their perspective. Also, value your craft and charge for your services at their full value from the start.
Take care of yourself
This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You are looking at months of intense work, so it’s absolutely important you take care of yourself. Sleep at least 7 hours a night (and I mean it), eat clean, exercise or meditate regularly. This way, you will keep your head clear and energy level up. Also, keep some weekends open to spend time with family and friends, it will give you the energy you need to keep going.
And last, remember that what you are doing is awesome: it’s bold and it’s not easy. You are a do-er, an action taker, imaginative and resourceful. You are the type of person that truly makes a difference!
Now, I would like to hear your tips and tricks for balancing a career, a business and a personal life in the comment box below.
Also, if you have friends who are planning to start their business but are working full time now, please share this article with them. It may just give them the confidence they need.