Many of us have considered leaving the 9-to-5 and starting a new business. From a casual side gig to launching our own start-up, we dream of the day we can work for ourselves. And yet, our financial or personal situations won’t allow us to walk away from our day jobs. Not yet anyway.
So we put this scenario in front of members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC):
“I have to keep my day job while starting my business. What is one piece of advice you have for me?
Want to start a new business without risking your current position? Try these helpful tips.
Commit to Days and Times in Advance
“Create a schedule in advance of the days and times you will commit to working on your new venture. Then, most importantly, stick to it. Otherwise it’s too easy at the end of a busy day to want to relax. You may be too tempted to let yourself get distracted by other activities. But the hard work will pay off. And you’ll eventually be able to work full time on your own business, doing what you love and are passionate about! “
Cut Back Hours Gradually
“If you can begin to cut back hours at your day job, even two to four days a month, then start the transition process now. With one day a week to focus completely on your business, you’ll be a lot more productive. And you’ll be able to adjust to the change in income. Usually we view day jobs as all-or-nothing. But with this strategy, you can get the best of both worlds during the transition.”
Don’t Get Discouraged
“A lot of people think that they can’t start a business unless they devote 100 percent of their time to it. Sure, it is going to require a lot of effort. And you are going to be mentally and physically exhausted. But as long as you completely understand this going in, you can make it work. Be prepared to give up your social life as well! Your new venture just might require all of your time away from your day job.”
Use the Day Job to Pay Off Your Debt
“I know so many people who started businesses while maintaining their day jobs. They often felt ready to make the jump into running their businesses full-time after they had debt paid off. They also had enough money in the bank to give them a six- to 12-month runway of living expenses. Take advantage of the regular paycheck. Save as much as you possibly can. That way, you’re not making decisions based on fear.”
Talk to a Lawyer
“Even if you’re starting a business that has nothing to do with your day job, it’s worth consulting with a lawyer. After all, you want to make sure you’re not setting yourself up for any issues. Something as seemingly innocuous as sending a message from your private Gmail on your company laptop could spell trouble down the line. Share your current employment contract and startup plans with a lawyer to cover your bases.”
Prioritize Your Business as Much as You Can
“If you must keep a day job, make it a priority to set time aside each morning to work on your business. Have a financial goal clearly laid out. Then, as soon as you hit it, you can quit your day job. Use positive language with yourself, such as ‘I will quit this job when I make $10,000/month.’ This is a simple and effective way to help you achieve your dream.”
Manage Your Free Time
“Manage your free time better. You’ll need more of it to apply to your side business. Use software such as LeechBlock to prevent access to websites that distract you (like social media). Also, use your lunch hour for quick errands or a gym workout and cut back on TV and social media. And remember, you’ll have plenty of free time once your small business grows and you’ve left your day job.”
Quit as Soon as You’ve Saved Enough Money
“Use your job as a temporary safety net. Then save what you calculate you’ll need for at least 12 months of living comfortably. This shouldn’t be too hard. Because at the same time, you’ll be dedicating your free time to growing your business and going out less. As soon as you have your runway built up, leave your job. By that point, your business should ideally be earning you income too.”
Budget for Fatigue…
“…and fight through it. Having a day job and simultaneously starting a business is not an ideal situation. You will risk making bad decisions and hurting your reputation. After all, both commitments are bound to bleed into each other’s time. You may eventually start resenting your day job. But before then be aware that you no longer own your own time. It’s business all day, every day.”
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Business Collective.
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.