Running a business while also holding down a full-time job can be exhausting, but for many entrepreneurs that is the reality. For most, leaving a good job to follow a dream just isn’t an option. They have a mortgage, a car payment, a cell phone bill, and cable and internet. Throw kids into the mix, and there’s a whole slew of additional expenses. It’s just not feasible to drop everything and start over – but that doesn’t mean you can’t do both.
As difficult as it can be, keeping your day job while you build up your own business is actually a great idea. In fact, according to The Academy of Management journal, if you leave your day job too soon, you could be setting yourself up for failure. When you keep your full-time job, you guarantee that you’ll still have a source of income while you figure things out. You’ll have time to work out entrepreneurship at your own pace, and to really develop your business before jumping in.
If you’re wondering how you can start your own business while keeping your full-time job, read on:
- Use your current job as a resource. Your boss can teach you about business management and delegation. Your admin can school you on keeping records or managing emails. Everyone you work with, from the CEO to the mailroom clerk, is a potential source of information!
- Take your side gig seriously. It’s easy to fall into the habit of treating your business like a hobby when you have a fulltime job, but you need to make it your main focus. It’s going to involve a lot of long nights and late hours, working on weekends, and missing out on some fun stuff, but in the end, it’s worth it.
- Invest wisely. It can be tempting to buy all the latest software and gear right off the bat, but you don’t really need it. I mean, lets be real, having a pro-level subscription to MailChimp isn’t going to make or break your business. Sign up for as many free services as you can, and spread the rest out, buying a little at a time. (And don’t forget – many entrepreneurs have a variable income – you need to save up some money so you have a safety net later!)
- Network, network, network! Talk to as many different people as you can – online and in real life. Every single person you meet could be a potential client, business partner, mentor, or referral source.
- Start making money! Doing some actual client work moves your business from the realm of “what if…”and into the real world. Plus (and this should be obvious), it will be a lot easier to transition if you have at least a little income coming in.
- Take the leap! There comes a point where it’s do or die. You can’t keep working a fulltime job and having a side hustle forever, because, let’s face it – it’s difficult. Like, really, REALLY difficult. There is never going to be a “perfect” time to do it. Much like having kids, no one is ever entirely ready, but when it happens, you make it work.
Once you take the leap, you are probably not going to match your corporate-job salary right off the bat, and you’re probably not going to have a ton of clients. But what you will have is a good foundation. By working two jobs, you’ll have spent some time investing in your business and finding some solid clients. Once you quit your full-time job and free up your time, it should be pretty easy to take off from there!
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