Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
ENTREPRENEURSHIP / SEP. 07, 2014
version 3, draft 3

How to Start Your Small Business Without Quitting Your Day Job

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Your reasons are your own. Many people dream of quitting their job and start their own business, but just as many (and perhaps even more) wait until things are a bit more established before handing in their two weeks notice. It might be a question of finances, or just as likely they want to make sure their idea is going to work. Whatever the reason, it is possible to launch a new business and keep your day job - at least initially. The secret, much like the fabled tortoise, is slow and steady wins the race. 

Take Baby Steps

As a working entrepreneur, you need to take baby steps. Don’t bite off more than you can chew at any one time. You don’t have eight plus hours to devote to your idea like someone with no other job. You need to be selective. You need to identify the hundreds of little, and then medium, and then big things you need to do to move your small business closer to fruition. And then tackle them one at a time. Small tasks and goals are crucial at this stage because a) they are easy to complete in the time you have available, and b) the completion gives you a sense of accomplishment rather than frustration...you are making things happen.

Use Your Time Productively

Having a full-time job and starting a new business at the same time is less than ideal, but by no means impossible. You have so much time at your disposal. You just have to use it productively. Do not - I repeat do not - use company time to work on your endeavour. That is going to rub everyone (colleagues, supervisors, managers, admin) the wrong way. But you can use “your” time...work on something small (take baby steps) over your lunch and/or coffee break. Set your alarm for 30 (or even better, 60) minutes earlier every day and check something off your list. Stop watching television or surfing the net for four hours each night and instead use that time to finish a bigger task for your small business. The time is there...you just have to identify it and then use it. It will require sacrifices, but it’s worth it to move towards your dream while still maintaining the security of a regular paycheck. Make it work.  

Get Help

A lot of entrepreneurs want to do everything alone, and without the constraints of a job, that might work for them. It won’t for you. Seek help in every way one can: get advice and suggestions from people you admire, trust, and look up to. Delegate less important tasks to outside help utilizing low cost freelance assistance via Fiverr or Elance. Pay someone to do the things that you either don’t know how to do, or don’t have the time to do well. The cost is worth it to move things along and save your sanity.

Set Goals and Priorities

Related to the whole baby steps idea, make a list of short, mid, and long term goals. Rank them by importance and priority. And then start working on them however you can. If something has a deadline for whatever reason, then you know it must be a priority. Get it done. Other tasks can get attacked in whatever order you set. The important thing is to set a timeframe - but don’t make it unrealistic or unreasonable - and chip away at it. Even working part-time, you need to have some sense of urgency. Otherwise, things may sit incomplete for weeks, months, years. Keep the pressure low, but not turned all the way off. Set a calendar with deadlines.

One Thing At a Time

As a gainfully employed entrepreneur, you’ll need to be mindful of burnout. Attempt to do too much, and you’ll fade away, explode, or both. Identify ONE thing at a time that needs to get done in the time you have (mornings before work, lunch and coffee breaks, and/or after work), and work on it until it’s done...however long that takes. Then, highlight the next most important thing to do, and start on it. Repeat until your list of tasks is done.

Train Yourself

Finally, identify the skills and expertise that you’ll need for your new business, and if you don’t already have them, find ways to get them. Do it slowly over time. Maybe even add it to your list of goals and priorities. Take a night course. Take an online course. Buy a book or instruction manual. You can often find free online resources (including extensive courses and lessons) if you just take the time to look. Whatever you need to know, slowly find ways to learn.

Other Useful Links

How to Start Your Business Without Quitting Your Day Job

How to Launch a Business Without Quitting Your Day Job

Your to Evaluate Your Priorities and Set Goals

Keeping your job while launching your own business is a smart financial decision. It does demand a lot from you, though. But if you work at a decent pace, recognize your limitations, and systematically move towards completion of everything that needs to get done, you’ll arrive at the finish line before you know it...complete with a ready-to-launch business before you quit your day job. When you finally do quit that day job (after given whatever formal notice is required), you can walk out of that job and right into your own small business without any delay. And that is worth all the extra effort and headaches.

 

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