Just because you’re already employed doesn’t mean you don’t have the dream of starting up and owning your own business. But many people don’t have the luxury of being able to walk away from their “golden handcuffs” and devote themselves full time to a business. At least not right away. Many people choose to start up a small business as a part time effort while they are still working full time in a larger company. This is absolutely possible, and it is actually a great way to limit the financial risk of starting up. But there are a few things you want to keep in mind before you make the decision to go for it.
First of all, you need to have your spouse and family members behind you. The fact is that starting up a business in addition to your regular job is going to take a lot of time. Your family will need to understand why you might need to sequester yourself away on Saturday afternoon, or sacrifice taking a vacation this year. Of course, if you explain to them how important this is for everyone, they are sure to be understanding and supportive; but the key is communication. You may even be able to use their help and make the business into a family venture depending on the ages and talents of your kids. The family that works together earns together!
Another important thing to remember when starting up a small business part time is that you won’t be able to grow it as quickly as if you were running it 24/7. That means you need to have realistic goal setting and planning. On the other hand, you definitely do want to set goals—don’t just play it by ear because you have another source of income. You want to try to grown your business aggressively, even if it is a part time venture.
When you start up a business while still employed, you also need to keep in mind your current employer. This means making sure you are not under and contractual obligations that would prevent you from starting up a competitive business while still employed with them. You also want to avoid any ethical impropriety by keeping your personal business completely separate from your work. That means not checking emails or making personal business calls on company time. And don’t even think about “borrowing” supplies or equipment from your employer to use at home for your own business. The best policy is to keep your new business to yourself, even if you are not in any conflict with your company’s policies by starting it up.
Finally, don’t let yourself get so excited by preliminary success that you quit your job too soon and then find yourself in financial jeopardy. You’ll want to stay focused on the big picture and remember that you business needs to be able to not only sustain itself, but your entire family before you can devote yourself to it full time. Know exactly how much you need to be able to generate with your company before you can walk away from your 9-5 job, and be ready to hold out until you get to that point.