How to Start a Business When You Have a Full-Time Job – Guest Post
By Guest Author Callum Mundine, the head of marketing at Warble Media. They are a boutique website design and digital marketing agency based in Dubbo, NSW, Australia. If you have any questions about marketing, feel free to contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org
How to Start a Business When You Have a Full-Time Job
You’d be surprised at how many successful businesses have been started by people with full-time jobs (Google, Spanx, Twitter, Salesforce… just to name a few).
If you’ve come up with a great idea but you’re not ready to give up your stable salary (smart choice), here are a few tips that can help you juggle the craziness of starting your own business whilst working a full-time job.
Create a schedule, and stick to it
Be prepared to work long, unsociable hours. That means weekends and any spare time you have between finishing your working day and going to sleep. One of the hardest parts of working on your own business at the same time as being in full-time employment is balancing your home and social life with all your work.
The best way to combat this is to make a schedule, and more importantly, stick to it. Look at your week ahead and prioritise your time. You still need to eat and see your family and friends, so schedule in any important commitments and use your time wisely.
You may have to miss the odd barbeque here and there, and your friends may complain they never see you anymore, but be patient, as your hard work will eventually pay off.
Do I really need a business plan?
Creating a business plan will help lay the groundwork for your startup and is a crucial step for anyone who is serious about starting their own business. This is where you’ll brainstorm tough questions such as: where will your financing come from? Is your product or service unique? What problems does it solve? What will account for your main costs? What’s your target audience?
There are many online resources which can help you structure a business plan and make sure you include the most important information about your future business. If you’re struggling to find answers to many questions, you may need more time to figure out how to make your idea viable.
Remember, if your first idea fails but you still have a stable income from your full-time job, you can still afford to explore other avenues.
Before you leave your current job
You may be itching to finally quit, become your own boss and follow your dreams. But don’t be too hasty, and make sure you understand the legalities of quitting your job before you tell your employer you’re leaving.
Make sure you work on your business during your own hours. If your employer thinks you’ve used their time or equipment to work on your startup it could cause legal problems down the line, so it’s just not worth doing.
Also, take into account any non-disclosure or legal agreements you may have signed. Be completely sure you’re not breaking your contract by leaving, and if you have any doubts, it’s best to consult a lawyer first.
Make some time for networking and meeting people in your industry. Local business communities offer great opportunities to collaborate and gain insightful information that could help you in the future.
Don’t wait until you’ve quit your job before attending networking events and gaining exposure to the right people, it could give you the push you need to perfect your product or find a solution to a problem.
Commit to your idea
If you really think your idea for a new product, service, online business, etc… is worth pursuing, it needs to become more than just a hobby. Creating your own business can be fun and fulfilling, but if you’re planning on drawing an income and becoming financially independent, you need to take it seriously.
That means you need to set goals, allocate your time, stick to your schedule, and know what’s coming next. If you keep putting off working on your startup, the chances are you won’t get very far.
Take time to test and develop
It’s quite probable that your initial vision won’t become your final product. Take the time to test, develop prototypes, and continually work on making your idea better. Keep soliciting honest feedback and researching your market.
There’s no point rushing to get your product market-ready and missing the needs of your target audience, so take the time to make improvements and understand what your customer base truly wants.
Is there a right time to quit?
Taking the leap from full-time employment to focusing on your own business can be terrifying. It may never feel like the right time, but if you’ve taken the steps to prepare for this moment properly, you might just be ready.
But before you decide to make the leap, be sure to follow your strategy, make sure any legal ends are tied up, and be confident in your financial projections. Grow your network, create a stable customer base, and test and perfect your product.
You’re sure to be faced with unknowns, but being as prepared as possible will greatly improve your chances of success.
The Bottom Line
Many people come up with great ideas but don’t have the time or energy to see them through. Those who manage to successfully juggle their startup with full-time jobs understand that certain sacrifices need to be made until they can quit and jump in head first.
Is it possible to do both at the same time? Absolutely. It will take good planning, commitment, and the confidence to back yourself once you’re ready to go from employee to entrepreneur.