Eight Strategies for Starting a New Business on the Side

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businessQ: I have to keep my day job while starting my business. What is one piece of advice you have for me?

A: 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 and, most importantly, stick to it. Otherwise it’s too easy at the end of a busy day to want to relax or let yourself get distracted by other activities.” Diana Goodwin, AquaMobile Swim School

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 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.” Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems

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 will require all of your time away from your day job.” Jonathan Long, Market Domination Media

Use the day job to pay off debt and create an emergency fund. “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 and enough money in the bank to give them a six- to 12-month runway of living expenses. Take advantage of the regular paycheck, and save as much as you possibly can so that you’re not making decisions based on fear.” Allie Siarto, Allie Siarto & Co. Photography

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 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.” Brittany Hodak, ZinePak

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 so that 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’ to help you achieve your dream.” Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

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), 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.” Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

Budget for fatigue. “Having a day job and simultaneously starting a business is not an ideal situation. You will risk making bad decisions and hurting your reputation because 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.” Cody Mclain, SupportNinja

(Source: TCA)