Many people dream of starting their own business but worry about the effect that taking the plunge can have on their financial stability. However, it is possible to build a business on the side while continuing to work full-time.
First, people should consider how they define “success.” This needs to be the person’s own definition, not that of a boss, family, colleagues or friends. Many people are seeking promotions and ever-growing paychecks, but they need to consider what will make them truly happy. This includes considering the type of work they want to do, where they want to live and what kind of life they want to have. This should be reviewed periodically because the answers will change.
In deciding what kind of a business to create, people should think about what they are in a unique position to offer that they feel enthusiastic about. A side business has a number of advantages over jumping into full-time entrepreneurship, including the ability to develop skills that will be useful in the day job. The excitement of the side business can also help keep the day job from feeling stale. It may be possible to negotiate more flexible hours at the day job, fewer hours or working from home and could be necessary once the side business picks up. If this is not possible, people may want to schedule time in each day for working on the side business. This could even be done during the lunch hour as long as the person is firm about guarding the boundary. It may also be possible to outsource some work.
Having an exit strategy from the day job can be helpful whether the entrepreneur takes the steps to leave the job or if something unexpected happens. A regular day job may feel secure, but a sudden downsizing may happen at any time. Having a plan in place to cope with this possibility is important.
In fact, having a side business can actually mean that losing a job turns out to be a largely positive experience. The weeks, months or even years spent laying the groundwork for entrepreneurial success can actually provide more financial security than struggling to stay at the same job ever could.